Dawn Savidge believes you can juggle working from home and raising your family, if you plan carefully
According to the recent survey by Capital One, parents are deeply depressed, stressed and financially challenged because of having children. The main overarching theme of the article was to budget well and all the worries of parenting will disappear. But that is only a small part of managing a family successfully.
I don’t want to address each part of the article; you can read it for yourself here. You might resonate with some parts of it. The pandemic opened the doors for homeworking, home schooling and juggling the job of parenting and paid work to the maximum. For many of us, our stress levels rose as we tried to cope with loss of freedom, loss of routine, loss of loved ones, loss of alone time, loss of choice, and so many other things. But over time, we adapted to the new way of being, and lots of us quite liked working from home. Not having to sit in the rush hour traffic, the ability to be able to work in our pajamas, pop a load of washing on or not pay for childcare appealed to many of us. The trouble is, we’ve learnt to adapt to loss and accepted it as part of life and haven’t recognised the true loss of freedom.
Jesus said, ‘the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come to give you life and have it to the full’ (John 10:10). But what does that have to do with you raising a family?
When God created Eve, He said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Then He told Adam and Eve to procreate and fill the earth. God loves families and the joy, laughter, and mess that they bring. He knows that we are stronger when we are together. This is why the devil will always target relationships. If the enemy can get you on your own and make you start to believe lies that he whispers in your ear, you are much weaker and more vulnerable. So, the enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy your family.
Does that mean you need to immediately give up hybrid and home working straight away? No, not at all. When I first became a solo parent, home working was the only way that I could look after my own children and earn money at the same time. Initially I worked in the evenings and my mum looked after my children. Shortly after, I became a registered childminder. For some of us, full time work away from home is not possible in this season, and that is okay.
However, I would advise you to really prioritise what you do and when, so that you aren’t burning yourself out. An American Survey* found that productivity went up by 13% for employees who worked from home. So, it can work. But there is a word of warning here. The survey sites that one of the factors for the increase in productivity was because of a quieter environment. Having children at home whilst you a working, whatever age, is not quiet!
Working from home and raising a family
So how can you priortise working from home, full time or hybrid, and raise a family? Think back pre- pandemic. If you had children then, how did you manage before? Can you implement some of that now? Make sure that you book school holidays off as annual leave or talk to family about childcare, even if you are working from home. When my annual leave booking dates start, I will still book as many holiday days during school holiday times as possible. I want to be able to make memories with my children by being as fully present as possible.
Talk to your line manager. Employers now have to offer flexible working hours for parents. If you have to work whilst your younger children are at home, when is the best time to do that? You could talk to your employer about splitting your day up into smaller chunks of time so that you work when your children are asleep or when your partner or a family member is available to be with them.
When you are at work or running errands or cleaning the house, make sure you are fully focused on the task at hand. A busy mind will lead to exhaustion. I have a paper diary with a page for each day. At the beginning of the week, I’ll spend about 5 minutes writing down all the tasks for that week. All appointments, work deadlines, household chores and taxiing jobs (high-five to all those parents who run a taxi firm for their children), are written in there. This makes sure that I’m not running around like a headless chicken, but I can also use my time in the best way possible.
Phones for Bibles
There has been a recent trend that I’ve seen on TikTok where people are exchanging their phones for their Bibles. Imagine how our relationship with God would grow if we did that. We live in a fast-paced, high-energy world where everyone wants a piece of us, and we can feel like we are drowning. God wants you to invest in what’s important, and that’s intentional and deep relationships. Deep relationships with our partner, our children, our friends, our work colleagues and most importantly, with Him. Don’t keep stretching yourself. Living life to the full doesn’t mean cramming every second full of rushed unfulfilled activity. It means slowing down and filling yourself with more of what matters the most.