"Work-from-home has given me a severe case of work-life imbalance!”
Dear Kool Kanya,
Work-from-home sounded like the dream, but I’ve found out (the hard way!) that it isn’t a cakewalk.
Before CoronaVirus struck, I was in office for 8 hours, with an additional hour spent commuting. This meant that unless it was a major emergency, in those hours, I was not expected to divert a huge amount of my attention and energy towards home.
Now, ‘on the clock’ has a changed meaning. I have to clock in at work, but self-quarantine at home means that I’m clocked in there too. And I cannot clock out.
From having to keep the household running smoothly, to managing the kids (who are restless and unhappy about being home bound). I am unable to handle the sudden loss of the hours I had previously designated just to my work.
I feel as though I will emerge from quarantine with my hair turned white!
What do I do?
Love, Struggling Work-From-Home(maker)
First of all, we would like to applaud you—these uncertain times have thrown us all off kilter. Your strength in asking for help in these times is admirable!
Now, we are all aware about how the work-life balance thing is a myth for most women. Even if we are working, we are expected to stay tuned in to our home lives too. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, except we are groomed for it, and the men in our lives are not.
But it shouldn’t be the case, so here are some tips on how to deal with this:
Be shameless: Ask for help from your partner and family members. Share your mental state with them, and get them on board your work-from-home team. Especially with your partner, you need to make them aware that they need to pull their weight and participate in homemaking, both during and after this pandemic.
Set boundaries: Don’t let the proximity to the home force you to feel obliged to split your mind to keep both work and home in line. Assemble the household, and inform everyone that your work is as much a priority as your home. Create a dedicated work corner, preferably in another room, if that is possible. Wear semi-formals, and announce “I am going to my home office.”, and shut the door. Only accept interruptions for emergencies.
Talk to the kid(s): If your child is old enough to communicate, it might be a good time to make them aware of your work, and how you have to give that time and energy. Children are very perceptive, and they are capable of understanding. When you start having these conversations with them, they feel trusted by you. In turn, they will be willing to make the effort to support you. Who knows, this might just strengthen and enrich your relationship with them!
Join a supportive community: No one has more empathy or better advice than women who have already walked a mile (or thousand) in your shoes! Find friendship, support, and guidance on the Kool Kanya Community!
This pandemic has taught us a lot about how human beings behave and respond in a time of crisis. Take advantage of the limbo, and use it to effectively manage and reconfigure those parts of your life you feel frustrated with.
Let’s raise our power together!