By Laura McGarry
In a bid to be topical and timely, my local chamber of commerce is offering a program later this week called “Remote Work Webinar Series: How Do I Work From Home?”
Rather than encouraging you to participate in things like this (which I probably should), I wanted to give you my insight into this pivotal question as an expert lawyer mom.
My lawyer husband and I are both working from home full-time, in quarantine (except it’s not really a “quarantine” as defined by state and federal law), with two small children aged very, very 2 and 6 months.
1. Set Up Your Space
First, you set up your work stations in opposite parts of the main living floor to allow you to play zone defense.
My husband, in the kitchen, is able to handle the 1,000 daily snack requests, making bottles every .5 to 3.5 hours, and cleaning urine off the floor because the toddler “missed” on the potty.
I, in the dining room, am able to go on bear hunts, catch said toddler before he falls off the trampoline that I bought last week in an anxiety-induced “I am not being a good parent” panic.
Note: Everyone knows that if you feel like you are not being a good parent, just buy your kids unnecessary and expensive stuff that will further clutter up your already unwalkable house.
From the dining room, I can also clean the “oops I pooped” off the living room rug while throwing toys at random intervals to the baby who is wailing because she is getting 5 teeth at the same time.
2. Snuggle With Your Babies
Next, you and your husband each don a separate baby-wearing apparatus. My husband prefers the more structural Ergobaby, while I prefer the more granola-y Moby wrap. The nice part about the Moby wrap is that I only had to watch 6 YouTube videos to learn how to use it and then spend 45 minutes wrapping it on each time the baby wants to be held. #miracles
The reason you both should have a different baby-wearing device is so that you can switch every 3-5 minutes when the 6-month old starts to get antsy or you have to pee because you are mainlining coffee.
3. Be Fun and Play Games
Now that you’re in the swing of things, purchase a subscription to Disney+ then allow your 2-year-old to watch whatever he wants for 8-10 hours per day. This allows you to make up a fun new game called “What the f*** are you talking about?”
The way you play it is to wait until you are on a conference call and then have your kid shout “Mom, I want ‘infineros’!”
Then, you gesticulate wildly to dad in the kitchen mouthing “HANDLE THIS, GAWD” to which he responds to the 2-year-old “What the f*** are you talking about?”
You then end your conference call and spend the next 30 minutes starting and stopping different shows to see if that’s what he’s talking about until you finally realize that he is talking about the 1944 version of “The Three Caballeros” starring Donald Duck. You then understand what he meant when he kept shouting, frustrated, “Donald in the brown hats!”
He watches this show for 7 minutes before getting bored.
4. Rest During Naptime
This next step is the easiest: you get both kids to nap at the same time. During that 8-minute nap, you shower, clean the house, change the sheets because the baby had a blow out on them, bill 4 hours, and cook dinner.
Throughout all of this you just keep loading laundry into the washing machine because, despite the fact that you have only been wearing pajamas for 13 days straight, your small family of four is producing 12 loads of laundry a week. #blessings
5. Handle Emergencies With Grace
Finally, because things have been tame to this point, you have your 2-year-old develop an unusual rash all over his entire body which, despite your best efforts, you cannot diagnose via Google.
So you call the nurse hotline and wait 45 minutes to talk to someone before they tell you, “Oh, you’ll need to ‘see’ a doctor for that.” So you wait, again, for the doctor to call and diagnose the problem, which will require going to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription medication.
You then find that at the same time the doctor ends the call, you get a bill from the provider for $75.00 for “telemedicine.”
Next, you spend 30 minutes mentally and physically preparing to go out in public for the first time in 2 weeks.
You arm yourself with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes to go to CVS which is, apparently, the social hub of coronavirus and is loaded with at least 30 chit-chatty people who apparently measure 6 feet in metric or something because they are all up in your business. You do a quick shop, holding your breath the whole time, and then return home with a box of cereal and half-gallon of milk because, after such a hard day, your family deserves a gourmet dinner at 9 pm.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips. Having now read this, you’re all entitled to claim this article as a full credit of CLE/CE/PD/whatever your boss is calling it because that just seems fair at this point. Because every business in American clearly believes right now that what every working parent really needs is not paid time off, but another webinar.
About the Author
Laura McGarry has degrees in Law and Marketing that she uses to convince people she knows what she’s talking about on a daily basis (sometimes even successfully). She lives in Lititz, PA with her husband and 2 young children, but right now she’d rather be quarantined alone in Disney World with an unlimited (alcoholic) Dole Whip supply. Please contact her if you know how to make that happen.