When my husband started his new job 6 months ago, he went from working outside the home 7am – 5pm, to working from home most days. I was nervous about the transition to having him home a lot more; not because I don’t enjoy his presence (he happens to be my absolute favorite person in the world), but because, being a homeschooling family, we thrive on the rhythm and routine of our days and weeks. We had a solid routine already and I was concerned the kids would think the days their dad worked from home were “vacation,” and would not be able to concentrate or apply themselves to their school work. This is what my friend and I affectionately call “Dad Sabotage.”
Now, with government mandates surrounding the Corona Virus pandemic, many more families are finding themselves thrown into a new way of life with Dad home every day of the week. Through the last 6 months of navigating this transition, sometimes multiple times in one week, I have a few tips for the homeschooling family finding a new routine with husband home full time.
- CREATE A WORK SPACE. If your husband is working from home, it benefits all parties involved if he has a place to work that is removed from distractions. The benefit is two-fold: he has a (mostly) quiet space in which to concentrate and get some work done while alleviating the need to split his time helping out with the kids. And secondly, when Dad is out of sight, the kids find it easier to apply themselves to their work – and not feel like it’s vacation! We all have our own work to do during the day, and it is helpful for us to be separate to accomplish our daily goals.
- MAKE ANCHOR POINTS IN YOUR DAY. My husband decided on a clear time he wanted to start his day, take breaks, and end his day and that really helped everyone know what to expect and when.
- CREATE A ROUTINE around those anchor points. First we decided what was important to all of us. Then we synchronized our schedules as much as reasonably possible with a 7-person family, so we could have mealtimes and “brain breaks” together. If weather permits, we like to try to get outside all together and take a walk or throw football around. My husband and I also like to exercise together so we made that part of our routine as well.
- GIVE YOURSELVES TIME TO ADJUST. Finding a peaceful rhythm isn’t necessarily something that will happen overnight. It may take a few days or weeks to fall into your own unique groove. And that’s okay!
- EXTEND AND RECEIVE LOTS OF GRACE. Have realistic expectations and leave room for laughing at your mistakes, crying over unmet expectations, and navigating it all together. A little irritability is completely normal, but try to take it all in stride and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Mallory Sensenig is a homeschooling mama to 5 wild + free kids, ranging from toddler to teen, and wife to her renaissance man since 2005. Her home is full of books, music, and loud boisterous children and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Hear more from Mallory on the Revival Moms podcast.