When my husband and I first were married, we both worked outside of the home I drove an hour (plus) each way to work. He had about a 20 minute drive. We both would get up early, go to the gym together and then head to our respective work places.
Life was simple. It didn’t seem simple then, but it was.
2009 hit us, like everyone else. I got laid off from my job, which was a mismatch of secretary, proofreader, helper, aid and a bunch of other things to a psychologist who worked with the Juvenile Court System, Adult Court System, and Social Security Disability. I collected unemployment and tried to look for new jobs, but nothing was hiring. The recession hit hard. My husband was employed and also was part of the National Guard.
Then, I became pregnant and we knew my husband was definitely going to be deployed. We put my work search off. Scott was deployed and I had the baby, and then when he came back, we had a lot of adjustment to do.
Scott ended up working from home and we added two more babies to the mix. So, everyone was home all the time. I realized that we both had a lot of adjustments and expectations to work on.
You may also have a lot of expectations in this time of transition. Now, trying to accomplish your job at home with your children around may be difficult. Or you might even find it impossible! You may also have a spouse that has had their job disrupted and they may be at home too-how do you deal with this change amid the chaos?
Realize it won’t be like it was before
Everyone’s life has just been upended in the last week. The normal rhythm you had is now changed, and it is different. You may have liked the rhythm, you may not have. But it is different. Access the things that are different and accept them. Try not to blame, wish it was like before or hope it will change right away. Deal with the now, now.
Come up with some comprimises
If you have to do work from home and have a spouse, work together to find times when each of you can work and each of you can give attention to the kids. Even if your children are able to get on computers and do distance learning, they need your attention too.
Marriage tips for families when everyone is at home
Here are some tips my husband and I have done over the years to both work together in our house, homeschool our children and have a happy marriage.
- Have separate work spaces. This may not be possible if you don’t have the set up, but try to at least have your own chair and table area. A portable table will do.
- Have a start and end time of every day so your spouse and children can rely upon that schedule. If needbe, work after children are in bed or before they wake up.
- Talk about chore division. My husband cleans dishes and I cook. He does his own laundry, but also will run the wash and dryer if he sees something that needs to be done.
- Have spaces that are off limits to the kids. Does that sound cruel? Maybe. But if you are now working from home you may need to put up this boundary for your sanity. Our bedroom is pretty much off limits to our children.
- Bedtime routine is important-for both children and adults. Make sure children are getting enough sleep and children too. Without enough sleep, everyone is cranky and more likely to get sick.
- Healthy eating and cleaning habits. Make sure you take time to eat right and shower every day!
- Exercise! My husband and I rotate exercise days. We have the choice to not exercise on our day, but that is up to us. The other takes care of the kids in the morning. It has become something we look forward to and is an important part of our routine.
- Set time aside to talk with out kids present. It’s imperative to have adult only conversations. You may have worries that you don’t want to let your kids hear. That is totally normal, and your kids should not hear all of your fears.
- Try to enjoy the time working from home. If you have always wanted to work from home-here is your dry run!
We are Suddenly Homeschoolers. What do we do?
I am probably going to state a very unpopular opinion, but throw the rigid schedule out the window. Unless you have a child that absolutely freaks out if a schedule isn’t maintained, you are setting yourself up for stress and arguments. There are children who absolutely thrive on schedules and cannot go with the flow without them. You ultimately know your child best. Personally, I have learned that having a rigid schedule makes for lessons not completed, tasks not finished and discontent amongst my subjects.
- Have grace with yourself. No teacher is perfect, no plan is perfect and this world isn’t perfect either.
- You will make mistakes. Your child will make mistakes. You will learn and grow together. Apologize for your mistakes and move on.
- Enjoy the time you have with your child and find fun in the ordinary. Talk about what is going on in the world and talk about what you did as a child.
- Download some books, audiobooks, podcasts or watch documentaries. You might not see instant results from what your kids have learned, but you never know when your children may bring up what they have learned in the future.
- When your children get crazy, or you feel like you are getting to your “edge”, go to a different space. If you are in the kitchen, go to the living room. Everyone go lie down on the floor of a kids bedroom and stare at the ceiling for a while. We practice “scene changes” often when we homeschool and it helps reframe when we get too frustrated
- Have your child learn about things you do around the house and get them to learn it with you. Call them your apprentice. Make it fun. Speak in an Old English Accent.
- There are many different programs out there. People will bombard you with different ideas. You will feel bombarded with all of these options. Feel incredibly lucky that so many places are offering free options right now! If one doesn’t work, if your child hates it or you don’t understand it-chuck it and move on!
When my kids said they were bummed about everything going on, I had to agree. Although we could be upset with everything out of our control, we could enjoy the things we do have and work within those parameters.
If you have questions about homeschooling, working together while being married at home or anything, feel free to reach out! I have lots of resources-so if you can be specific with your requests, I’m happy to direct you to the right place.