As a busy working mom, there is a good chance you didn’t expect “homeschool teacher” to be added to your resume this year. The global Coronavirus pandemic instantly thrusted many executive moms to take on this unforeseeable role. But if there’s one thing all moms know, it’s this: We can do hard things.
Whether you’ve worked from home for years, or your corporate position is temporarily remote, excelling at your job while helping your children complete virtual learning is a lot to handle. And to do these things well, it’s crucial to manage one important aspect: yourself.
Presenting: the ultimate guide to managing YOU (while homeschooling too).
Step 1: Organize your Environment
An organized space leads to a clear mind. To effectively manage all that you have going on at home, maintaining a decluttered environment is crucial.
As an executive mom who’s also homeschooling, your time is more precious than ever. Keeping a clean, organized space will prevent you from wasting time filing through piles of documents. Not only that, research has shown that a cluttered environment can negatively affect stress levels and create emotional exhaustion.
A busy mom hack? Prevent pile ups around the house by doing things like immediately throwing junk mail away (versus in an entryway basket that you vow to go through later). Since it can be hard to carve out an extra hour in your busy day, take advantage of free time by sorting through things when you have an extra 5 or 10 minutes between Zoom meetings. The less “stuff”, the better! Desk organizers, paper dividers, and other organizational tools like these ones from Erin Condren can help you create beautiful, simple workspaces for you and your children.
Step 2: Plan & Prioritize
With managing a job and your child’s remote learning, there are a lot of moving parts. A lot.
Break down what needs to be done each day by creating a plan. Create a weekly plan on Sunday nights or first thing Monday morning. Then, write out checklists before the start of each day. Organize your plans in order of priority, going from the must-do’s to the tasks you’d like to get done but aren’t completely necessary.
Find a planning tool that works for you. Whether you use a Google Doc or prefer a paper and pen checklist on something like the Happy Planner and a family calendar in your home, planning gives you the clarity you need to take on the day!
Take note of the times your more productive times of the day – like first thing in the morning or during a certain period of instruction for your child’s e-learning. Then plan tasks accordingly.
Step 3: Practice Self-Care
This is a big one. Self-care is often overlooked by busy working moms who are also now homeschool educators. You’re constantly putting others’ needs above yours, but self-care is absolutely essential to being strong, healthy, and happy!
Wake up 30 minutes earlier. Before the kids wake up, the dog has to be walked, and the laptops open, start your day with some time doing what makes you happy. Think: morning meditation, yoga, journaling, listening to a podcast, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee to yourself. Hang a sign or “stoplight” on your door for family members so they know when interruptions and disturbances are off limits.
Once the day begins, make sure to get out of the house here and there. Take breaks to go outside with the kids for fresh air or run to a coffee shop. It can be easy to lose track of the day staring at screens. Periodic time outside can help break up the day and leave you feeling more clear and focused when you return!
Make an effort to connect with friends, family, and other adults. The pandemic may have made it slightly more challenging to do this, but it’s still possible! Schedule virtual happy hours or FaceTime with a friend once the day is done. The executive mom wears many hats, but you’re still YOU. As tempting as it is to stay in PJ’s all day, putting on your favorite work outfit in the morning can put you in the right mindset and motivate you to start the day!
Step 4: Delegate
Are you supermom? Yes. Do you have to do absolutely everything in a day? No!
Recognize the tasks that you can delegate to others. Homeschooling means the kids are spending a good amount of time around the house. Encourage their independence by having them do things like empty the dishwasher, take the trash out, and put away the laundry. Consider using a reward chart to keep children motivated.
We are so lucky to live in a time of curbside pickup, 2-day delivery on Amazon Prime, and grocery delivery. Take advantage of these resources on days you just can’t make it to the store!
During this time of navigating the Coronavirus pandemic, there are alternative, online options for many daily activities. If your child is in need of speech, occupational, or physical therapy services, you may want to consider telehealth through a company such as TherapyWorks. Telehealth could save you time driving to and from a therapy clinic while still allowing your child to receive the services they need from a qualified therapist.
Organize, plan, practice self-care, and delegate. We’re all figuring out this Covid-thing one day at a time. Following these steps can take you in the right direction of managing a job, homeschooling, and most importantly, YOU.