Family and Work At Home

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I made the decision to work from home while I was pregnant over 23  years ago. The hardest thing was transitioning from a corporate job to unchartered waters of my own business and motherhood at the same time. When I was the Executive Pasty Chef at a $20 million food and beverage department at Hyatt I had it all. A staff that would get the work done, an Austrian Executive Chef to collaborate a creative vision, a purchasing agent to buy everything we needed, constant socialization, a PR department that got me published, and customers who loved our work.

I could give you the advice to make a separate workspace and set a schedule but I won't because that type of advice is everywhere and I don't think it matters. I did have an office but it was always "decorated" with dog beds, toys that were broken, and it was never sacred. Kids need you when they need you!  My schedule happily converted itself to a disrupted 7 day week but I never minded. It is actually a privilege to be able to be interrupted plus family and business both came first they just took turns and I kept up on most days! I love to create and I love to work.

We even transitioned to high school from home when my son switched from regular school to Stanford University's Online High School so he could take their computer classes. He is working at Apple now!

There are only 2 rules that really help parents working from home with kids from my experience.

The first rule is to make a rule where there are no electronics until after lunch. This causes the kids to get very creative and busy with analogous activities (or homework) and they can easily transition to devices after lunch if they even choose to at all. My opinion of video games is that they are great but manage them. The positive side is the kids are safe in their rooms and with quarantines and social distancing that is a good thing now. If they get on the video games before lunch they are tired and cranky at lunchtime and nothing can ever compete or entertain them for the rest of the day and the whole day goes downhill.

But one cannot take something away without giving a replacement! I did allow my son to plan and design his own room (this activity can take weeks as they stress over the design and change it constantly before even buying anything or moving anything around), make a family vacation bucket list  (they have good ideas and love to research), create a business, have all the neighborhood kids over, and choose fun outdoor equipment like a skateboard or basketball set. He also liked to learn to cook so we had many kid-friendly cooking machines like a bread maker, a panini machine, a crockpot, and a mixing machine for cookies.

The second rule that always worked was for me to have a sense of humor and start an online photo album called fun at home. It is the photo album I cherish most now. A snowman completion "meeting" at 10 AM? Take a photo. The kids cook spaghetti or pie and it is being fed to the dog and all over the place? Snap it! The huge pile of cups and bowls that came out of their room and makes an Eiffel tower in the kitchen for you to clean? Shoot that too.

Stop trying so hard to be on a schedule and be so perfect. The beauty of being home is that you can start a load of laundry while waiting for a file to upload or an online conference to start. You are also there to catch so many moments that you don't want to miss. Oh, and traffic on the commute is always fantastic!

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