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Remote Working Mothers' Challenges And How To Tackle Them

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As we social distance and work remotely, women are faced with a whole new challenge. The remote working mothers woes have just begun.

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 remote working mothers, especially in the case of dual-earning households. Childcare activities were left to day cares, and the rest of the time, kids spent in school or skill-building classes. That way, the couple in a household could manage the remaining responsibilities without their work getting affected much. 

With the lock down, social distancing rules, and the fear of getting infected, kids are left at home mostly under the care of their mothers. Activities don’t limit to waking up early, getting the kids ready for school/daycare, packing lunch anymore. It’s the mother’s responsibility to ensure 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 to be efficient in tackling these difficulties while working remotely.  

PLAN FOR YOURSELF

  • Wake Up Early and plan for the day

Wake up early and have a glass of warm water. Meditate and then plan for the day. Avoid checking the news and social media updates. They give you a sense of things going out of your control. The news is full of negative information that you need to stay away from when you first wake up. 

  • Have a healthy workout 

Start with 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. 

  • Prepare food with your partner

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. The couple should share the responsibility of getting the kids ready for the day because the lock down is still going on.

  • Assign the kids some responsibilities

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.

  • Don’t give up on the “Me” time

Have some, ‘Me’ time. The time of the day when nobody should disturb your solitude. This can be your nap time or coffee break. 

Plan for yourself before the day begins

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 reading while you’re in a meeting. When you’re done, they can summarise the story for you, and the lesson they learned. 

Do you see where this is going? Basically, remote working will be more effective if you handle your household more effectively, rather than your 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. The leadership team can strategise and drill it down to tasks. Those tasks should be communicated to the rest, with deadlines to be followed. 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 up-skill. The new knowledge can be shared with everyone based on where it can be applied.
  • 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. Be the force with you, dear working mother.  

As a reminder to all you strong women out there

Self help group of women working on making masks for people

Courtesy – Worldbank.org

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Let us make the most of our time during this difficult period.
Stress is the enemy of our immune system and we want it in its best shape.

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