23 April 2020

Finding the balance – encouragement from a parent working from home

Posted in Family Space / Parents & Carers / SU QLD

As a father of 3 children under the age of 10, my daily calendar currently starts off something like this…

9:00am:     Team ‘meeting’

9:10am:     “Dad I need to go potty” (3 year old)

9:20am:     “Dad I’m hungry” (3 year old)

9:25am:     Argument ensues between my boys, typically about why one is not playing with the other

9:30am:     “Dad I need to go potty” (3 year old)

Working from home while trying to entertain three kids under 10 is a real juggling act! I’d like to give ABC iView a huge shout out for all their “babysitting content!”

For the last almost 10 years I have had the privilege of having the flexibility to work from home one day a week to help balance parenting responsibilities. I have loved the opportunity to spend more time with each of my three children, and in a pre-coronavirus world this worked great!

Working 5 days from home is a totally different ball game…

These days I find I’m highly productive from 9pm-11pm, but that’s probably not sustainable indefinitely.

Over the last two weeks I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this. I don’t have any magic solutions but here are 4 things I have discovered that might help you balance parenting with working from home…

1. Exercise breaks can be a great time for inspiration

Taking my kids for a bike ride each afternoon for an hour has been a great opportunity to process the day and dream of what could be next. It’s well known that exercise is great for your brain’s wellbeing – increasing the amount of oxygen that your brain needs to thrive and grow. We are in the middle of planning what SU camping looks like online, and most of my ideas have come from that hour away from my desk each day.

2. Relaxed team video meetings each morning are so valuable

Even though I miss catching up for coffee with colleagues at work to hear what people are doing and input ideas, our 30 minute relaxed team catch up each morning has become my favourite part of the working day. Maintaining strong teams is crucial to keep productivity and positivity levels high!

3. Be honest about what you can achieve

It’s important to be realistic about what can and can’t be achieved in this time period. For us, not being able to run physical camps over school holidays has been a huge setback, and has changed a lot of our goal posts for 2020. Working to find other ways to encourage the communities we’re interacting with, particularly online, has been rewarding and encouraging – particularly due to the wise understanding of the situation from our leadership.

4. Look to our creator for refuge and strength

This passage has been a real encouragement for me…

“I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don’t let me know! Take me seriously this time! Get down on my level and listen, and please – no procrastination! Your granite cave a hiding place, your cliff aerie a place of safety. You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide. Psalm 31:1-3

As we move into school-from-home, I wish everyone all the best and hope these tips help you find peace in this (at times) crazy season.

If you are about to teach your students in person and online I pray for peace, joy and laughter in this time. Above all else, don’t be too hard on yourself. Embrace the chaos. It will make for some great stories someday.

I still remember my first zoom training I ever ran, people couldn’t hear me, see me, see my screen, but I enjoyed hearing them have a wonderful chat amongst themselves for 20 minutes until we pulled the pin and tried again another day.

And that’s the thing, if at first we don’t succeed, we’ll try it all again tomorrow. So don’t sweat it. You got this!

About the author…

Beavs is a former High School Maths and Christian Education Teacher who has been working and volunteering with SU QLD Camps for almost 20 years. As Camps Specialist he supports volunteers and chaplains run camps and community outreach events throughout Queensland, reaching over 4500 young people. Beavs is married with 3 children, and loves coffee and watching sport.


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