Balancing Being Home While Pregnant, Working, and Educating Kidsby Elizabeth MacDonald
As the weeks have turned to months, we have realized that this pandemic will continue to impact our daily lives for at least the next year or more. Parents across the country are being asked to decide their children’s education plan for the entire 2020-2021 school year. The pressure is intense and everyone has opinions on the matter, but most are struggling with figuring out how to balance it all. Many parents are able to continue working from home, but adding in virtual or homeschooling, taking care of the house, and entertaining younger children, the stress is mounting. There’s one aspect that many mother’s are also trying to balance: a pregnancy throughout all of this.
If you are pregnant, you already have a lot on your mind. Right now you need to breathe and find ways to relax. This will all be okay, but you have to be willing to give yourself grace.
Tips to Balance Pregnancy, Work, Parenting, and Life at Home
Rome was not built in a day, and your schedule will not fall into place overnight. This is uncharted territory and will take time and many failing moments to figure out. We have come up with several steps to help you find your best balance.
Make an Education Decision
Whether your county is opening schools virtually, part-time, or full-time, you may or may not agree with the chemical usage, distancing, masking, or other rules in place. You can opt to homeschool if none of your school's options are to your liking. If homeschooling, you need to fill in your district’s Notice of Intent online and choose your curriculum.
There is no right or wrong choice, just the best choice that works for your beliefs. You are capable of whichever you choose.
Create a Work Space
You need an area that is yours for working at home. It can be inside of a closet, the garage, or even the unused nursery! To be productive, though, you need a quiet place where you can concentrate. If you have a toddler who will be underfoot, gate the area so you can still focus on work without worrying about him getting hurt.
Talk to Your Employer
Your employer should know that you are pregnant and when you will take maternity leave, but they should also have open communication about expectations from working at home.
Balance School and Work
The beautiful thing is that educating at home only takes a fraction of the time that it does within a school setting. Do not replicate a school day; instead, sit down and knock it out quickly and then allow for creative play while you work. After work, spend more time together cooking, playing, taking a walk, etc.
Find a Mother’s Helper
A daytime babysitter is a must to use when you have appointments or just need a break. You can schedule her regularly, especially if you have conference calls or other work at set times each week. Finding a mother’s helper or sitter is simple, as so many teens will also be home-educated this year. Opt for someone in the neighborhood or close by so she can get there quick if needed!
Meal Plan and Portion for Everyone
If the thought of meal planning is too stressful, invest in a weekly meal service and stick with only creating your other meals. Being pregnant means that you require high protein and healthy fats with tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. Take the time on Sunday to prepare and portion snacks for the entire work week ahead. You’ll be able to grab and eat throughout the days (so will your little ones). Put your crockpot or insta-pot to good use this year, too. Think simple and healthy meals for your whole family.
Create Busy Boxes
Toddlers and elementary-aged children have a tendency of needing you more throughout the day than older kids do. While this is flattering, you have to work, too. Avoid excess screens and pull out a tub with inviting items in it every few days. ANYTHING can be in a busy box - blocks, puzzles, toilet paper even! Consider your children’s ages and abilities, of course, but have fun creating a few tubs each month.
Hire a Cleaner
This can get expensive, but taking this one thing off of your plate may give you the time to rest instead of cleaning bathtubs.
Don’t Forget You are Pregnant
Please don’t forget that you are growing a human. You need rest, good food, support, and time to bond with your newest family member! Ask your partner for help in any and all areas of life this year (and always). You can split the school work, house work, and cooking, even - especially if he is working from home, too. Ask family and friends for help, too.