My three children and husband have a snow day today. The Blizzard of 2017 is about to hit New England! Today’s challenge is how can I manage my scheduled office hours and keep everyone in my house sane. The answer will be to sway my focus well between work and kids. Here’s how I plan to do that.
My Timer is My Best Offense
I set the timer on my phone for 30-minutes. This means I’m focusing on work and nothing else. I left the kids upstairs with my husband, a snack, a jump rope and a movie. I grabbed everything I needed for work so there’s no running around for things. With my earbuds in to help drown out the noise, I’m ready to work.
When the timer goes off, I’ll go check in on my family. I will sway my thoughts from work to kids. They only need my attention for about 10-15 minutes. This way I feel in control of my interactions with them. Before they think to come and find me, I’m off to find them. Interruptions are kept to a minimum this way.
The Family is Aware That I Have Work to Do
Deadlines don’t stop coming just because of a snow day. My family knows that I need to work today. When they forget and start asking me for things, I remind them, “I have work to do.” Then I point to my laptop. “Go do x, y, or z and then ask dad if you need help.”
Delegation is important on snow days. I’ll give directions assertively like, “Go do x, y, or z and then ask dad if you need help.” I need to stand my ground that my work is important. Setting the timer like I recommended above will help me sway my focus toward my kids when I want to and not the other way around.
I Will Work with Music On
On this snow day, I won’t be able to work in silence. If I try to fight this reality I’m going to lose. Big time. Luckily, the work I need to complete today doesn’t require silence. This snow day was predicted last week so I had time to prepare my workload.
When I have music going it helps with my work/life sway. I will have many interruptions today. When music is playing it buys me a bit of time before the interruption occurs. The kids or husband start dancing before they talk, I can finish my thought or typing, and then talk to them.
The Refrigerator and Pantry are Full
Over the weekend I planned out all snacks and meals for this snow day. My husband is going to make bacon, corn beef and hash, and eggs for all of us. The smells will keep the kids in the kitchen while I’m in my office working. Then for dinner tonight I’m making a simple soup that is everyone’s favorites. I don’t have time for arguments today over something that I can easily control.
Because I’m using my timer I’ll plan my breaks around snack time and meals. The alarm helps me sway my thoughts from work to taking care of the kids. Instead of feeling aggravated because the kids are complaining that they’re hungry my timer tells me it’s snack time and work needs to stop. Besides, I could probably use a snack, too. It’s very easy to keep working when you’re really focused, forget to snack and thus lose personal energy.
Fit in Exercise
We have a 16-month-old puppy that is extremely energetic. She goes crazy on snow days because she has no outlet for her energy. I knew the snow wasn’t going to be awful early this morning so I took her for a walk.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince the kids to come with me, but they’ll go sledding later to get their wiggles out. Just because I’m working doesn’t mean I can’t take 20-minutes out of my work day to enjoy the snow day with the kids.
We also have jump ropes, a trampoline, and a puppy to run around with in the house. Also, for my older children timeouts can get old. So today, instead of sending them to their room, they’ll drop and give me 20 push-ups.
Set Up Play Stations
All of the tablets were charged yesterday. I stocked up on Playdough over the weekend.
The last thing that can be done during the snow day is cleaning up their rooms. What happens when you clean their rooms is they rediscover all of their toys! The room will not be clean, that’s not my goal. It’s sort of reverse psychology. I’ll tell the kids to come clean, but what you’re doing is getting them into their room and actually see what toys they have.
My biggest rule of thumb, to help thrive during a snow day, is to set my own expectations. Today is not the day that I’ll complete any big projects. Today is a maintenance day. I won’t fall behind in my work, but I won’t’ jump ahead either. And that’s OK by me. My kids are only going to be young once and I deserve to enjoy a snow day with them. I also want to teach them about working motherhood and today will be a perfect example.
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