Tried and tested mama-hacks!
As people the world over switch over to working from home, there is a lot of good advice available on how to “WFH” correctly. The advice is sound – take short breaks, stretch and create a space for yourself. But does this really apply to mothers? Especially if they are dealing with homeschooling, sharing laptops, wifi and passwords with kids and partners, a full and cramped house and household management that never seems to end? With that in mind, we decided to ask mums for some real mama-hacks when it comes to working from home.
Nerice Gietel, Career Coach: Set Realistic Targets
Have daily priority tasks to be completed in a fixed amount of time. When I don’t do this, the unconscious feeling of having limitless time means that I allow my work to linger throughout the day. On the flip side, when I set limits to my working hours, I am more effective and it tends to be easier to really be present and enjoy the time I spend with my energetic and playful daughter.
Jess Mizzi, Sassy Mama Editor: Stealth
I have a particularly clingy housebound toddler right now whose favourite phrase is: “Mummy do it!” for everything from nappy changes to reading books. Lately, I’ve taken to hiding out in the bedroom when I hear him wake up from his nap while someone else gets him up and ready for the afternoon. I work quietly for a couple of hours (thank goodness we have an ensuite!) and he is blissfully unaware that I’m nearby.
Elly Liu, Sassy Office Manager: Nap-Time Is Your Best Bet
The most important thing is to wake up early so that you can finish the most important tasks before your kids get up. Encourage naptime. This is another time you can use to be productive and finish something that really needs your concentration.
Eleanor Coleman, Financial Adviser: Cut Down The Commute…To Everything!
I am trying to keep working and be a good mum. A lot of it involves having everything in a 1-metre radius around me – work stuff, baby stuff, infinite hand sanitiser and usually, a cup of tea. Also, give yourself some credit; it’s a weird time and no one expects miracles. Sometimes, I need to take a moment and realise that I am doing the best I can, no one is perfect and as long as we are all happy and healthy nothing else matters.
Maura Thompson, Sassy Media Group Co-Founder: Let Kids Rule!
Last Friday was “Kids Rule Day” at home. They made up the rules, including eating cupcakes for lunch. When they first brought it up, my immediate reaction was to say – “No way!”. But then I realised they would feel empowered to be in charge for the day. It also brought me the peace I needed to get some work done. So, I am going to start to build in kids rule day into our schedules but they have to earn it.
Mansha Channa, Sassy Mama Partnerships Manager: Protect Your Den
Create a designated space for yourself in your home and stick to working from the same space every day to form a routine. When you start your day and sit in that space, it will act as a cue for your mind to get into “work” mode. Make sure it has adequate lighting and all the things you need to be productive (notebook, pens etc.). If possible, let it be in another room with a door that can be closed to allow you to take calls to mute the kids out.
Mehroo Turel, Mumtrepreneur: Tire Them Out
Every evening, I insist that my kids take up some form of exercise – biking, jogging, hiking, pushups, pullups, etc. My boys are older, so I don’t need to go with them (thankfully!). It serves three purposes: it keeps them fit, it tires them out and I get space to finish my work.
Alex Purcell Garcia, Sassy Mama Editor: The Wiggles!
The Wiggles is my answer to everything at the moment. It keeps my six-month-old entertained when nothing else will (and me too, if I’m being honest!), so I can crack on with my work. Download the audio (or video, if you really are in a pinch) on any device and this kid-favourite Aussie group will entertain your child for hours.
Anita Balagopalan, Sassy Mama Editor: Let It Go
If your kids’ schools are sending work the day or week ahead, print everything out the night before. Download all online games and worksheets in advance, so they aren’t using the wifi when you need to be on important calls. Also, be realistic about what you can and cannot do when it comes to the school (home)work that your children are getting. If they are young, they will catch up eventually when schools do reopen. “Let It Go” might as well become your theme song. For now, focus on the important things – preserving your health, happiness and sanity!
Tarana Desai Shah, Banker: Set Clear Rules
My daughter started “working” from home a lot earlier than I did when schools in Hong Kong closed in January. When I switched to WFH recently, I didn’t want to upset her routine and I wanted her to respect mine. I made an “Entry/No Entry” board for my room that she has to adhere to. For most people, things have to be set in stone, in our arts and crafts-crazy household, it just needs to be drawn on a paper to become a rule! Adding any arts and design element to our lives is the way to get us to enjoy doing what we do.