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Become An Efficient Remote Working Mother

Reading time 4 and a half minutes

Struggles of remote working mothers and how to tackle them with efficient strategies

A remote working mother at home while her kid is busy with her

Carl Jung once said,

“What you resist not only persists but will grow in size.”

It can’t be more true for a working mother. 

That’s not to say that life is unfair to working-mothers. It’s more challenging. Because society is so judgmental of mothers. Whether you work a day job or not, there is something you always end up doing ‘incorrectly.’ 

You might be very strong-willed, but I am sure there were days when you simply broke down. It’s absolutely okay because those things enhance your confidence and keep you going.

The current pandemic has brought about a different challenge for working mothers, especially in the case of dual-earning households. Childcare activities were left to day care centers, and the rest of the time, kids spent in school or skill-building classes. 

The lockdown, social distancing rules, and the fear of getting infected, puts you in the front-line of your household. You have to wake up earlier than usual, get the kids ready for the day and prepare meals for the family. It’s your responsibility to ensure that the kids stay busy the whole day, with something meaningful, and that they get their homework done on time.

What about when meeting schedules clash? Who looks after the kids? That’s when you start to look like the BBC dad. Your team hears your child, shouting, screeching, – worse, asking to work on your computer, and participating in every meeting.

There is something you can do.

Firstly, wake up early and have a glass of warm water. Meditate and then plan for the day. You need to keep the negativity at bay. Thus, avoid checking the news and social media updates. They give you a sense of things going out of your control.

Secondly, exercise for at least 15 mins. It’s like oiling a machine or warming up for a marathon. Which is what your day eventually turns into – a marathon.

Thirdly, prepare a healthy breakfast for yourself with the help of your partner. This will not only bond you together but also help the task complete sooner. As a couple, you should share the responsibility of getting the kids ready for the day because the lockdown is still going on.

Fourthly, make the older kids do their own work, like doing their laundry, having their breakfast, and washing the dishes after, folding their clothes, and cleaning up the room, etc.

Finally, do not forget to have some, ‘Me’ time. The time of the day when nobody should disturb your solitude. This can be your nap time or coffee break.

How to plan for the day if you are a remote working mother

In order to keep the kids busy while you are working, you could do the following:

  • Teach your kids about finance or the life skill of your choice. The typical education system sticks to the curriculum, and they don’t teach them about money. You could ask the kids to have a piggy bank of their own, and tip them for every good behavior. At the end of every week, the house can meet and calculate how much money was earned.
  • Keep your child busy in reading while you’re in a meeting. When you’re done, they can summarize the story for you, and the lesson they learned.

Do you see where this is going? Basically, remote working will be more effective if household is handled better than the team.

Now for step two, how to communicate with the team and set some boundaries.

  • Adopt the Agile methodology even if you are not co-located with your team. You can strategise and drill it down to tasks. Then, communicate those tasks to the rest, with set deadlines. Conduct daily meetings so that nobody feels out of touch, and has a false sense of disconnect.
  • Be available for quick clarification calls to reduce unnecessary delays.
  • Set training plans for you and your team to upskill. Each member can share the new knowledge  with everyone based on priority. 
  • Conduct face to face interviews with industry contacts to understand ongoing and upcoming trends.
  • Set aside time when you can stay active on social media to enhance your audience.
  • At the end of the day, make a task completion report, which will be the starting point for the next day.
Investing in a great project management tool is a must.

No matter how much you plan, things are bound to go wrong, but you will still know the problem. Don’t hold yourself back thinking, things might go out of control.

Remember to plan, prepare, and act.

As a reminder to all you strong women out there

Women Self Help Group in India making Masks and Sanitizers

Courtesy – Worldbank.org

Remote working mothers in leadership

Women are not only leading the frontline as health workers but are positioned in senior leadership too. But irrespective of their position, they are very much in control of the situation.

I am Sarit Prajna Sahu, Business Development Manager at UUO Innovation. I have been remote working since May 2019. It was extremely difficult for me in the beginning since I had taken a long 4-year break from the workforce.

The biggest fear that I had to overcome was ‘self-doubt.’ Women are great at doubting themselves. In the pursuit of perfection, we lose out on the short term achievements. Anyway, I kept researching, learning, and engaging with the team daily. I made sure to be available beyond the usual working hours. Because for some members the day started early while for others it started late. Business development is a field that requires engaging with the product and marketing and communications team.

Besides work, I was staring at another challenge. Handling my three and a half-year-old daughter, who’s used to having her mother doing chores and playing with her. My aging parents also were finding it difficult to manage certain things while I was unavailable. Many times, I would be attending meetings and keep her busy with some activities.

It wasn’t a smooth ride, but I am still doing it. When my husband visits us, it undoubtedly provides me some relief. From my personal experience, I drew this conclusion:

“Let it go” – Frozen. If you don’t let go of your misgivings, they will continue to haunt you.

Sources:

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2020/04/11/women-self-help-groups-combat-covid19-coronavirus-pandemic-india

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