5 Tips For Moms Who Work From Home
I know that the idea of being a stay-at-home mom with a full-time remote job might sound like a dream (if you're reading this, it may well be yours!), but juggling so many distinct responsibilities with no physical barriers to help you establish boundaries is hard. Like really hard.
Just because you're near your kids doesn't mean you're always able to be present.
As a stay-at-home mom and a full-time remote worker, I know all too well how true this is.
I started working remotely part-time back in 2008 and now I work from home full-time as the Director of Product Management at SAP Litmos. While I'm extremely grateful to be able to be pursuing two of my life goals (raising another human and chasing my dream career!), I've certainly encountered my fair share of challenges.
Since having my daughter, I've learned a thing or two about managing remote work and motherhood. I've found that the following tip and tricks allow me to be the professional, wife, and mother I want to be.
Whether you're already working from home and thinking about starting a family or you're a mom looking for a remote job, I hope these tips will help you maintain your sanity and enjoy the flexibility and freedom that comes with working from home!
Five Tips For Moms Who Work From Home: What I've Learned Along the Way
1. Have a consistent morning routine.
About a year ago, I started journaling every morning before my daughter wakes up. It's been vital to getting myself into the right mindset for the day.
I journal about my everyday feelings, along with what I'm grateful for and who I am (along with who I want to be). For example, I'm grateful for the income that my jobs provide, I am a loving wife and mother, and I'd like to be a published best-selling author.
The other part of my routine is writing out a to-do list. I try to tackle the hardest task first while my mind is the sharpest and most focused in the morning.
2. Be flexible with your daily routine.
I know this may sound like I am contradicting myself, but if you are able to be consistent with your morning routine, you can afford to be flexible with your daily routine. In all likelihood, you'll have to be - especially if your kids are home with you all day. It also depends upon the age of your kid(s).
Just know, it's okay that life gets in the way of work. My four-year-old Clara (when she's home from preschool some days) will have a meltdown during a corporate meeting, or she will want to snuggle on the couch when all I want is to start writing my next blog post. That's okay. Just accept the fact that even though you try to set a routine with work and kids, it's not going to be perfect everyday. Show yourself some kindness! On these types of days, I've also had to resort to more cartoons… sometimes strict screen time rules have to be broken for your own sake!
3. Buy a new toy or have a different type of activity/craft for your kid(s) to do while you are working.
This has been a life saver for me. My daughter and I were at a toy store the other day and picked up a "Melissa and Doug" reusable sticker set. She used this on one of the days I was working and she was at home, and it kept her entertained for hours.
Simple things like balloons are awesome too. Don't underestimate how a small activity, new toy, or craft can keep kids occupied!
4. Speaking of kids, make sure you set expectations with them for when they are home.
This will be easier or harder depending on how old your kid(s) are. I have told my four-year-old daughter several times, "When Mom is in her office, she needs to work — especially if I have my headphones in."
When she needs something, I tell her to ask the babysitters or Dad if they're home. Given that she's four, this often fails and she'll come running into my office at the most "ideal" times... but I'm confident that laying this groundwork early will pay dividends once she's older.
My sister-in-law works for Wells Fargo and also works remotely. Her kids are five and seven, and they know these rules. When she has her headset on, she is working — and they are not to disturb mom.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
This may be the most important tip on this list, but the hardest to follow through with. Ask friends, trusted neighbors, family members, or babysitters to help when you really need to hit a deadline or be in a lot of meetings.
I am usually in a lot of meetings in my day job, so when my husband is not home and I need to work late (which is not too often lately) I ask a babysitter to come by. Yes, there can be challenges as you may not live near family or have trusted neighbors/friends, but believe me babysitters are a lifesaver! Just remember, don't be afraid to ask for help. No woman can successfully play all the roles we do without help from others!
No matter what your situation, if you're trying to work from home (part or full time) and take care of your kids, you're sure to find yourself feeling the pains of excessive multi-tasking.
It has its fair share of perks, but don't let anyone tell you you've got it easy because you work from home! Test out the tips and tricks above, and remember above all else to be kind to yourself - you have a lot to be proud of!
Interested in finding a remote job that's conducive to being a stay-at-home mom? Check out our list of favorites here.
It's been six years since Sarah Cooper graced us with her 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. But how on earth can we appear smart in our new virtual world, in which for many of us, going to work is just sitting in one long series of probably-not-necessary Zoom meetings?
1. Dial in.<p>Dialing in rather than joining via the link instantly boosts your credibility. Who calls into Zoom meetings? People who are still busy and important enough to be leaving their houses! But you needn't actually be one of those people, or even more than a foot away from your computer to pull off this maneuver. (Remember, this article is called *seeming* smart, not being smart.)</p><p><strong></strong><em>Bonus: </em>If it's a large meeting at which attendance will be taken, the person running the meeting will inevitably ask, "Who's calling in from 443-322-2121?" That's when you raise your metaphorical hand, jump off mute, and say "[Your name] here. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on [meeting topic]." And voila! You've stolen the meeting spotlight.</p>
2. Don't come on camera—ever.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODU5OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjMwNjI3OX0.4fLyq2CvkZAJ7n_03esZepY37mOdyGdDdTEUYt5XEU0/img.png?width=980" id="bc7e6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbbf21cc5d8c863b30654ae6993b04f5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>Much like the "dial in," this technique works because it makes you appear aloof. If <em>The Crown has </em>taught me anything, it's that the key to maintaining a sense of mystique and prestige is to keep people at arm's length—and if you absolutely <em>must</em> touch them, wear a glove.</p>
3. Only communicate via chat.<p>Once you've mastered the art of staying off camera, you can level up by communicating exclusively via the chat box. Don't come off mute at all, even if the speaker asks your opinion. You are the elusive chatter and you will not be forced into actually participating in said meeting.</p>
4. Ask to share your screen.<p>Being aloof is great, but it's all about balance. Sprinkling in some active participation will really shock and impress your colleagues if you catch them off guard, so save this technique for when you've strategically <em>not </em>participated in a string of meetings.</p><p>Spend a few minutes prior to the meeting prepping a few inspirational slides with words like "synergy," "optimization," and "redefining 'culture'", or spend a few minutes poking around in Google Analytics. </p><p>Then wait for the opportune moment to say, "Can I just share my screen for a moment? I have some really interesting data I'd like to share...." and BAM — brilliance established.</p>
5. Show off your Zoom-saviness.<p>Try saying, "You know you can mute people, right?" to the host when they beg whoever's got the lawn mower and crying baby in the background to put themselves on mute for the nth time.<br></p>
6. Create an alter ego.<p>This tactic requires commitment, but the pay off is certainly worth it. Join the Zoom meeting from your normal account + name, and then join it again on a second device from an alias. Have your alter-ego ask some probing or stat-based questions in the chat and have the answers ready ahead of time. It should work something like this:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Your alter ego Charlene</strong><strong>:</strong> "Does anyone know what percentage conversion rates increased by in Q2?"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Real you</strong>: *doesn't miss a beat* "It looks like Charlene has a question in the chat. That would be 36%."</p><div>Never mind that no one on your team knows who Charlene is or why she's at this meeting, they'll be too blown away by your brilliance to notice. (Bonus points if you use this strategy in conjunction with techniques 1, 2, 3 or 4!)</div>
7. Place an obscure object in your background that exudes intelligence.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzk5Njg2Mn0.V9_-3Ij3v_QndseqlrXRt5Nn39EJ97-itjls5zzYPf8/img.png?width=980" id="a369d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="604a2f04b53c2e3bc801bfa5256f367b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>We're talking a telescope, or perhaps a hardcover copy of <em>War & Peace </em>(no one need know that its only purpose in your life is as a makeshift yoga block).</p><p>If you don't have any suitable props at your disposal, do not despair: download some screenshots of Sheldon's apartment from <em>Big Bang Theory </em>or the chalkboard in <em>Good Will Hunting </em>and use those as a virtual background.</p>
8. Ask "Is this really the best course of action given the current climate?"<p>Economic collapse, COVID, racism… No need to specify whether you're referring to one or all of the above; just sit back and watch your boss squirm amidst the ambiguity.</p><p>This strategy pairs very well with techniques 2 and 3. You can prep additional vague-but-probing questions ahead of time and pepper them into the chat box throughout the meeting:</p><ul><li>How will this scale?</li><li>Do we really have the bandwidth for this right now?</li><li>What's the value-add here?</li></ul>
9. Remind everyone that you have a paid Zoom account.<p>"Oh, it looks like we're getting the 40-minute warning. I have a paid account, do you want to switch to my room?" It's helpful, with just a touch of condescension. Everyone knows condescending people are smart. And everyone knows that people with paid Zoom accounts are super important.</p>
10. Tell everyone you have a hard stop.<p>When pressed for details, share your philosophy on "work-from-home" balance and how committed you are to getting up once an hour to walk to your refrigerator.</p>
11. Ask the screensharer/host to "pull something up" for everyone.<p>Ask the presenter to navigate to a screen that only you know how to navigate well. Laugh maniacally while they suffer from crippling performance anxiety. Let them struggle for as long as is tolerable before saying, "Oh you know what? I can just share my screen if you want. That would probably be easier." BAM you're the hero. Don't worry, no one will even pause to consider that you could have proposed this course of action from the start.</p>
12. Say Zoom fatigue as many times as possible.<p>If you're too tired to employ any of the other strategies, just say "I know everyone is experiencing a lot of Zoom fatigue, so we can keep this meeting short." Then hang up as quickly as possible. Meeting averted! </p><p>After all, there's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence in a virtual meeting than to demonstrate why it wasn't really necessary in the first place. </p>
A five-step framework for addressing systematic racism at work
The world has changed in the past few weeks.
We're watching corporations and organizations across the world come out in support of Black lives in droves. Many of those organizations are doing so for the first time in their history.
I sat in front of my CEO to discuss several complaints of racism. I was new to my role as a Culture Director. I was nervous about his reaction to the complaints. But I also knew he strongly supported developing this new department; I knew that he would take the right steps. So I was shocked when I heard him say sheepishly, "I don't know, Noelle...all of this stuff about racism. I just don't see it. I don't even see color. I'm pretty much color blind."
Living in the midst of a pandemic has brought about a whole host of changes and challenges for workplaces and employees. One of the most notable? Virtual interviewing. With most on-site interviews on hold for the foreseeable future, it's important that you be prepared to make a great first impression—virtually.