Working From Home with Kids: 7 Weeks In

I’ve been meaning to write a follow up post to my original to discuss what life is REALLY like during quarantine.  I re-read my original post and then starting writing, but after about two pages realized it was more a journal entry than an informative post.  I decided to pivot, and just create a list of things I’ve noticed.

  • We’re still operating on a loose schedule. There are general bed times (e.g. 9 or 9:30 for the 13-year old, so she’s up by 9 or 9:30 for school) and general wake up times.  Everyone handles their own schedule.
  • I haven’t set an alarm clock since this started. I do not miss waking up anyone else.
  • I also do not miss making school lunches, and since my kids can feed themselves, it’s great. They still haven’t learned how to properly rinse dishes and load them into the dishwasher.  We’re working on it.
  • I’ve done better with giving them chores to do around the house. The 15-year old needs explicit instructions, the 13-year old loves mopping.  Happy to let her have that task.  No one likes laundry.
  • The kids are handling their school work really well. They spend most of their day working in their rooms (they each have a desk and a laptop), coming out for lunch or breaks.  I found this sign on my daughter’s door this morning:
School Work From Home Messages
School WFH Messages
  • They still have meltdowns about school. These are mostly related to school work and less related to social issues, which I’ll take.
  • After the first week of online school, my 13-year old informed me that she hates sitting at a computer all day. (I’ve heard similar from my friends who are teachers.)
  • I try to start each morning with time sitting outside, a work out, and then I shower and get dressed. That routine has always worked for me, and I wear jeans most days, as does the 15-year old.
  • After dinner we are still working on family time. With the nice weather we’ve been going to an area of the Metroparks where the road is closed to ride bikes, skateboard, and walk.
  • We’ve had some Zoom meetings with family, some meetings with friends, and the 13-year old is great at FaceTime and Google Meet with her friends. They have class meetings, too.  The 15-year old is not great at initiating friend time – sometimes I think we’re still arranging play dates for a toddler.  My husband had him play catch with a friend the other day, which did a world of good for his outlook.  Introverts need friend time too!
  • We’ve done a couple socially distanced hang outs with friends. Those will get easier as it gets warmer, and we have plenty of room to spread out on our porch and in our yard.
  • Work has not been too different. I get a few more interruptions than usual, but no more than I would when the kids are home during the summer.  I expect this might change in a few weeks, when they wrap up school.
  • Screen time is higher than I would like (for all of us), but it’s not awful.
  • Animal Crossing is a great game.  I am not the most frequent player in our house, which is good because the island would still have a tent for a museum and no bridges.  I think my house has cockroaches.
  • I’ve finished one puzzle, which was 500 pieces.  I am slow at puzzles.  I have a 1000 piece one I need to start.
  • Yard work has been great therapy, but I don’t like weeding.  I figure, whatever works right now is enough.
  • Everyone now realizes what a distraction/annoyance the dogs can be since they can be loud and want to go outside frequently. For this reason, Mittens was named Quarantine Employee of the Month for April (thank you Andy Mallon for the inspiration).
Stellato Home Office Quarantine Employee of the Month for April: Mittens
Stellato Home Office Quarantine Employee of the Month for April: Mittens

All in all, we’re doing well.  I enjoy not having to rush for anything after dinner or on the weekend.  I’ve lost count of the number of trips and events that have been cancelled, and there are only a couple “once in a lifetime” things that make me sad (the 15-year old was headed to the state theater competition, which won’t be rescheduled).  If there were milestones we were missing, like graduation, this would be much harder.  I feel for the seniors, and for anyone graduating at this time.  And I am tired from constantly living in a state of concern, and not knowing what will happen next.  It’s exhausting.  The best we can do it take it one day at a time, and focus on the little things that bring joy.  Keep at it friends, we’ll get through this.

4 thoughts on “Working From Home with Kids: 7 Weeks In

  1. I agree about the ‘once in a lifetime ‘ events. I have two daughters and this was suppose to be a huge spring. One is graduating HS, the other college and my wife is completing her Masters

    1. Chris – that’s a triple dose of once in a lifetime events. I am so sorry 🙁 My kids’ high school just announced that they are going to do a drive-in graduation with a big screen in the school parking lot. Families will stay in their cars for the ceremony, graduates can safely distance and walk across the stage, and it will create a shared experience for them (rather than a video or an online event). I think for larger schools that would be tricky (and colleges), and it’s a bummer for anyone graduating.

  2. My kids started going to school again this week, oh god waking up early is terrible hahahaha

  3. I work from home while watching my kiddos and some days are tough. I generally laugh at stay at home or working mom debates because I am both at the same time and I think it can be busy but it’s wonderful!

    My tip is that sometimes things get rough and you get the urge to freak out. I take a deep breath and relax and deal with the emergency at hand and then move on to easier tasks. I schedule all calls during naptime because that is never going to go well.

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