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My breastfeeding journey taught me that fed really is best

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I hate to admit it, but before I got pregnant, and even when I was pregnant, I was already a judgmental mom. I started watching documentaries about natural birth and breastfeeding years before I even entertained the idea of having children because it fascinated me.

Women's bodies are amazing. We are capable of growing, birthing and feeding a brand new life and I was on board for doing all of it naturally because biology is perfect and I was made to do this—or so I thought. I looked at moms who opted for epidurals and thought, "If only they knew about natural birth and how amazing it is," or those who formula fed and thought, "How sad," because breastmilk is magical and formula will never be able to measure up.

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I hate to admit these things, but I have to admit them so you know just how much this journey has changed me.

Our birth plan was simple—deliver at the birth center with our doula and midwife, stay there for four hours, go home, breastfeed forever, be happy. I'm lucky to have had a fairly short labor of nine hours, but afterwards was nothing like I'd imagined. I ended up transferring to the hospital to repair a third-degree tear. Lovely, I know.

We started to breastfeed at the hospital, and it hurt like they all said it would. I had trouble latching, but he was still nursing so I just tried to be patient. I had a rough first few days as my body tried to balance out hormones. I was shaky, hot, sweaty, mad, sad, and all-around miserable.

I called the midwife who told me this was normal and advised me to stay in bed and "breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed." So I did. The next day, my son started crying like crazy when I tried to latch him, and refused to nurse for a full 24 hours. The pediatrician told us to supplement with formula and I gave in because I felt sick, tired and I wasn't going to starve my child.

When he finally started to latch again, it was clear that I didn't have enough for him. He would get sleepy after only a few minutes of nursing, sleep for a few minutes, and then wake up crying and wanted to eat again. I spent a couple days feeding him every 15 minutes and didn't wear a shirt or see anyone during that time.

I met with a lactation consultant who listed a whole slew of things that could potentially be wrong with him. I also learned that I had an infection on my nipple and he developed thrush, which made all of this infinitely more complicated and painful.

I was still determined to breastfeed, so we saw two lactation specialists, an ENT and Osteopath to evaluate the little guy, and I tried every natural remedy in the book. I took supplements and tinctures, drank dark beer, pumped multiple times in an hour, saw another lactation specialist, ate almonds, stayed hydrated, pumped, nursed, pumped, nursed, until I just couldn't do it anymore.

I got to the point where I just said without emotion "tried it" whenever someone gave me advice to increase my supply. I was exhausted. I woke up to pump every morning and sobbed because I would only get dribbles and my baby just wasn't getting that ever so magical breast milk despite all my best efforts.

I've heard so many different opinions about my son and I on our journey that I don't think I can definitively say what the root cause of all of this was. The opinion that made me feel the most at ease was from our ENT who flat out said that not every baby is a fit for every breast.

Until then, I'd been conditioned to think that since I was a woman, breastfeeding would be the most natural thing I've ever done. I forgot in all of this that all humans are different and that's part of the beauty of life. I had to stop blaming my baby, and I had to stop blaming myself for "failing" at this. I had to give up the notion that this was, in fact, a failure, because it wasn't.

This journey made me bake myself an entire humble pie and eat every last crumb. I started to look at breastfeeding and motherhood from a much different perspective. I came to terms with the fact that feeding my baby formula and the tiny bit of breast milk I did have was infinitely better than having a baby that couldn't thrive and a sobbing mommy. I became grateful that I live in a time where formula exists to provide nourishment to my child.

Every mom out there is incredible. I'm proud of moms who breastfeed exclusively. I'm proud of moms who use formula. I'm proud of moms who do both. I'm proud of moms who have natural birth. I'm proud of moms who use modern medicine to take away the horrible pain. I'm proud of every mom who chooses to do the best thing for her baby and herself. The sisterhood of motherhood is incredible and I'm grateful to be a part of it and share my story.

Originally posted on Fed Is Best.

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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A lot of people remember actress Jennifer Stone for her teenage role opposite Selena Gomez on Wizards of Waverly Place, but these days the 27-year-old actress is all grown up and has a new career as a registered nurse.

Stone still acts, but she's also been busy pursuing a career in nursing and graduated at the end of last year. On #worldhealthday this week she posted a photo of her hospital IDs, and later added an Instagram Story showing off her scrubs and nursing shoes for a day of work at the hospital as an RN resident.

"I just hope to live up to all of the amazing healthcare providers on the front lines now as I get ready to join them," she captioned the pic of her hospital IDs.

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Stone's post is going viral and reminding people that nurses are the real superstars in our society right now.

Nurses are the backbone of the fight against COVID-19, but we don't have enough of them, the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out this week. WHO says globally, we're about 6 million nurses short of how many we need to fight this pandemic, and notes that about 90% all nurses are female but few nurses (or women) are found in senior health leadership positions.

"Nurses are the backbone of the health system," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week. "Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19. This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy."

Meanwhile nurses and the unions supporting them continue to raise the alarm about the lack of personal proactive equipment (PPE) and N95 masks for these critical workers. Nancy Nielsen, former president of the American Medical Association recently told CNBC that it's important to understand that "health-care workers are at risk, and they need to be protected with protective gear to prevent infection," and that "these women [in health-care professions] also have responsibility to take care of parents, who are older, and school-aged children...So their lives are enormously impacted by worrying about elderly relatives and by school closures."

Nursing is a career that doesn't get enough respect in our society, and while we need more nurses, it's hard to get them right now. Stone's December graduation made it easier for her work than the students who would be graduating next month and are stuck without necessary requirements.

Stone went viral this week because it's not every day that you see a Disney Channel star switch to hospital scrubs, but we have to remember all the nurses that are working to save lives with little recognition or support. Kids are still watching Stone on old Wizards of Waverly Place reruns, but society needs to watch out for women she'll be working beside, too.

News

So much has changed for our kids in recent weeks. The normal routines are gone, they can't see their friends and extended family (or in some cases, even their first responder parents). If you're noticing your child regressing a bit during this difficult time, don't worry, mama. It's totally normal if your preschooler is suddenly wanting to pretend to be a baby or if your school-age child wants way more cuddles and comfort than they did two months ago.

Here's what you need to know about child regression during the coronavirus pandemic:

Regression is a totally normal response to what's going on in the world.

Little kids don't have the vocabulary or experience to tell us that they are stressed and in need of comfort. Instead, they might say "pretend I'm a baby" or ask for lullabies you haven't sung in years. A potty-trained child might start having accidents and older kids may say "I can't do it" when asked to perform a task they have previously mastered.

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This does not mean you are failing, mama.

"Regression is typical in normal childhood, and it can be caused by stress, by frustration, or by a traumatic event," doctors Hermioni N. Lokko and Theodore A. Stern note in their research on the subject.

According to psychotherapist Noel McDermott, everyone (even us adults) is likely to regress or not function at our normal level during this pandemic. "Children are going to regress more than adults, and the younger the child, the more the regression is likely to be." McDermott tells The Huffington Post.

Comfort is key in addressing regression.

Regression can be frustrating for parents, especially during an already stressful time when everyone is locked in the house together. It's going to be frustrating to see a puddle of pee under your 6-year-old's feet or to have your preschooler throw tantrums you thought they'd outgrown.

It's okay to be frustrated, mama, but experts suggest that scolding or punishing a child who is regressing only makes it worse. We need to meet regression with kindness, comfort and open arms, even if our kids are refusing to do something we need them to do, like brush their teeth or wash their hands.

Dr. Laura Markham of AhaParenting tells Today "the best intervention is reassurance." Markham suggests parents offer a safe space to kids who are having a hard time and try using phrases like "'You are having such a hard time right now, aren't you? Don't worry, Sweetheart. I am right here to help.'"

She continues: "You step in, hold her kindly, make it fun, and get the hand-washing accomplished."

Recognize that you are your child's rock, but you are also human.

Parenting during a pandemic and economic recession is incredibly stressful. Alone time for moms was minuscule before and practically a fantasy now. You might be longing for a quiet moment. Our hearts melt the first time our children say "mama," but if your blood pressure rises when you hear it for the 10,000th time a day that's okay. It doesn't mean you're not a great mom, it just means you're stressed and so is your child.

"With more anxious children, they may be asking more questions than usual, and seeking reassurance that everything is going to be okay," Genevieve von Lob, a psychologist and author of "Happy Parent, Happy Child" tells The Huffington Post. "Parents may also find that their children are more unsettled at bedtime and are scared to be left alone."

But it is important that mama be left alone, sometimes. If you have a partner or another adult in your home this may mean that they take over caregiving to allow you to have an extra long shower or just some alone time in your bedroom. If you don't have another adult in the home, try to steal a moment for yourself where you can, even if that means the dishes go undone or the kids watch Frozen 2 for the 10th time.

"Try to be aware of your level of stress and anxiety and be kind to yourself," Dr. Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development tells Today. "Take 15 minutes in the morning to have coffee by yourself before children wake up."

Bottom line: Regression is natural, normal and hard.

Our kids express anxiety in ways that can be very difficult for parents. Sleeping and eating problems often develop when kids are stressed, and when you've been up all night worrying about how you're going to put food on your table during this economic turmoil it's hard to deal with a kid who is suddenly very picky about what you're serving for breakfast. But for kids, anxiety and stress often manifest as eating and sleeping issues.

It's rough, but this is the time where we need to come at our kids with kindness and connection. They need us more than ever. It's okay to sing a lullaby to 10-year-old or rock a 4-year-old to sleep. They need the extra cuddles right now.

We can't control how out of control the outside world has become, but we can help our children feel safe (even when the world isn't).

As psychologist and parenting coach Dr. Rebecca Schrag Hershberg previously wrote for Motherly: "Children show their stress in different ways: throwing more tantrums, being more moody, irritable or defiant, or regressing in a particular area such as language or potty training. However your kids are showing that they're worried—or even if they are not yet—there is nothing more valuable than giving them a hug and letting them know you've got them and it's all going to be okay."

News

This week isn't going to be an easy one for most of us. There are hard things happening in the world right now as the coronavirus pandemic continues. We're not going to pretend like this is an easy time to be a parent, because it is not. It's okay to say you're not okay today. But it's also okay to allow yourself to enjoy the lighter moments of life because these moments are still happening inside our homes during the pandemic.

This is a hard week, but there are still so many things making us smile.

Here are a few of the good news headlines we're loving right now:

This baby's quarantine style birthday party is going viral 

So many events have been canceled because of the pandemic, and many first birthday parties are among them. For parents who were looking forward to celebrating their little one's first birthday with friends and family having to cancel the guest list is hard.

Mama Kylie Najjar was one of the many parents having to make the hard choice to cancel her baby's birthday party, but she decided to make it special by doubling down on the theme of social distancing.

Her baby's big day has now gone viral because even in a difficult time like this pandemic, small moments still matter and can still make us smile.

This viral illustration highlights how the pandemic is impacting newly postpartum mamas 

The artist Spirit Y Sol touched so many mamas this week, letting art speak for the women who have had their postpartum experience changed so drastically by the pandemic. Through an essay and accompanying illustration Sol describes what was stolen from those currently in the fourth trimester.

"This is not what you had planned. This is not what you'd envisioned. There are no visits from friends, no loving doula bringing you soup, no "mommy and me" yoga classes, no coffee dates, no stroller walks through the park." Sol writes.

"But mama, know this—We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Sol is right. We are in this together, mama. And we are here for you.

Some Good News with John Krasinski has a surprise for Hamilton fans 

Last week we told you about John Krasinski's new coronavirus YouTube series, Some Good News, and this week he's going viral again with his second episode.

He gets his wife Emily Blunt to make an appearance and organized a treat for Hamilton fans, having Lin Manuel Miranda and the rest of the cast put on a performance (through Zoom, of course).

We love how Krasinski is using his creativity and connections to make people smile during this tough time.

This mom just welcomed baby no. 22, 30 years after her first child's birth! 

Back in February we told you the mom of Britain's biggest family was going viral after announcing she was expecting her 22nd child.

Now, Sue Radford's 22nd baby is here. She's a girl and her name has not yet been announced by the Radfords, Sue and her husband Noel.

Sue was 14 years old when the couple's oldest child, Chris, came into the world in 1989 (Noel was 18). Both Sue and Noel were adopted at birth and when they found out they were expecting as teens they decided together to make the choice to parent.

Four years after Chris was born they got married, and a few decades (and many kids) later they became reality TV legends in the UK, starting with a show called 15 Kids and Counting. They now have more kids than their American counterparts from 19 Kids and Counting, the Duggars. Besides TV appearances, the Radfords also own a pie shop.

In total, Sue has given birth to 12 girls and 10 boys so far (one son, Alfie, was stillborn), but giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic was a bit different. "I was so worried that Noel wouldn't be allowed to stay with me," she told The Sun.

Radford continued: "We have all been isolating and it seemed wrong to leave our safe bubble to go to a hospital, but when I got there I felt safe straight away."

Kristen Bell's Hello Bello launched a new 'camp' you'll want to check out 

Everyone is looking for extra ways to keep kids entertained these days and that's why Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard have launched Camp HelloBello on Instagram Live and IGTV!

Each week there's a new schedule for activities like singing, dancings and crafting (and Hello Bello is paying people creators to participate, you can apply to be a "camp counselor" at CampHelloBello.com).

According to a press release, "Schedules will be released on a weekly basis with lots of special guests (like Kristen + Dax and their friends) and members of our community to add some extra creativity to kids' days (and fill up some time for the parents too!)."

Sounds super cool!

This viral post highlights how our kids are 'little heroes' during this crisis 

There is a viral post floating around the internet that gives some credit where it is due: To our children.

Our kids have been champs during this crisis, as the post notes, "their little lives have been turned upside down...[but] every day they get up and carry on despite everything that is going on! Painting pictures, drawings to show their support to the heroes out there and to make other children walking past feel better!"

We see you, little heroes.

You're doing great and we are so proud of your resiliency!

Viral video shows even social distancing can't stop toddlers from 'socializing' 

Twitter user Toby Marriott went viral this week thanks to an 8 second clip of his nephew, "the friendliest toddler you'd ever meet." According to his uncle, this 3-year-old always says hello to anyone he meets on the street, but he's not running into any people on his daily walks these days...so he has to pretend.

"Hope this brightens up your day!" Marriott captioned a video of his nephew saying hello to an invisible friend. It's super cute and if we hang in there, one day this little guy will be able to say hello to his neighbors again.

Viral poem 'For the Lockdown Babies' puts mamas' feelings into words 

Mother and blogger Gráinne Evans saw her art go viral this week after she wrote a poem that is striking a cord with so many mamas. It's called "For the Lockdown Babies" and it's being shared all over social media this week because Evans' words capture the experience of so many parents right now.

The poem is set in the future, when we're all explaining this time to the babies and little ones who won't remember it.

"Sure you were only a baby" I'll tell her when she asks,
About that time in photographs when everyone wore masks.
"You don't remember the chaos when the world was forced to rest."
"You had all you needed in my arms and at my breast"

"You never even noticed" I'll tell her then I'll say,
"I held you as the weeks went by, we took it day by day"
"We were safe and happy, right where we needed to be".
"I fed you snuggled in my arms, protecting you was key".

"You were only a tiny baby" I'll tell her and explain,
Why so many people were afraid, anxious and in pain.
"It wasn't always easy, those isolating newborn days,
But feeding you flooded me with love, got me through the haze".

"You were a lockdown baby" I'll tell her when it's time,
"I was your whole world back then, just as you were mine",
"And now, though it's just a memory, I still smile when I see,
A rainbow in a window, put there for you and me."

Dad's viral video proves that while isolation is hard on families, it can also be funny  😂

Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is so hard. It's a serious crisis that we at Motherly are taking seriously, but a viral video from a dad stuck working at home with his family reminds us that it's okay to laugh at the lighter moments during this difficult time.

Talent and Sports agent Jason Finegan is now working from home while his family isolates inside it, and he posted a hilarious video to Twitter.

"Day 10 and we've now cracked.. wife on her knees singing with kid in xmas clothing and dog going nuts," he captioned the clip that shows his wife, singer Rachel Adedeji singing along to Whitney Houston as their daughter (dressed like a Christmas elf) sits beside her. Eventually, the toddler and even the dog join in on the singing.

Many parents are laughing along with Finegan because they can relate. Days don't matter as much anymore. Kids are celebrating Christmas and Halloween on a random Thursday in April just because they want to. And mamas are singing to keep from cracking up.

This is hard. But it's okay to laugh, too.

This is the advice we need right now: Start + end the day with activities, have a 'mediocre middle'

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My friend called last night. Her 4 year old son was screaming, just screaming. She says: My life is hell right now. I’m trying to work and the only time I get a moment of peace I get all day and night is during TV Time. I say: Wait. Stop Did you just say the words: TV TIME? WHAT DO YOU MEAN “TV TIME?” Parents, Listen to me and listen good: “TV TIME” is for PEACE TIMES. You know what “TV TIME” is during the corona? TV time is ALLLL THE TIMES. ALL THE TIMES. ALL. . You know I love you and I always try to be gentle — but this: MOM SHAMING YOURSELF DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC IS WHERE I MUST DRAW THE LINE. IF YOU INSIST ON EDUCATING THE WEE ONES DURING HELL, HERE ARE YOU OPTIONS: Sit kids down. Turn on TV. Walk in after a few hours, mute the TV, turn on closed captions - Reading Lesson DONE. Yell: How many Daniel The Tiger episodes is this? They yell back: Seven! - Math lesson DONE. They yell: Can you turn it up? You yell back: TURN IT UP YOURSELF - Technology lesson: Done. They yell: Can I have some water? You yell back: Walk to the kitchen and get it yourself. Physical Education: DONE They whine: Mommy I’m tired of TV. You look them right in the eye and say: Listen to me, baby. Keep on keeping on. Don’t quit. You can do hard things- LESSON ON RESILENCE AND STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS: DONE. . To think of all of you depriving these children of these essential life lessons because of your own TV shame issues. It’s sad. Really sad. #GetUntamed

A post shared by Glennon Doyle (@glennondoyle) on

Glennon Doyle is a mom and a bestselling author, but she's also a former preschool teacher and has some excellent advice for parents during this challenging time. Back when she was teaching preschool she discovered her students only really concentrated on the first and last activities of the day. So she gave herself permission to have a "mediocre middle" and it worked.

"No matter what I did all day, the students only remembered the last thing we did," she says in a video posted to Instagram. "All of them. That's all they remembered. That's all they talked about to their parents."

She continues: "All you have to do is finish strong...I decided every day to start strong and finish strong and just have a big mediocre middle. One cool thing in the morning, one supercool thing last. Mediocre middle. Done and done."

According to Doyle, now is the time for all of us to lean into screen time if that's what we need to do. It's okay.

"After breakfast, read a book with them — that's starting strong," she says. "Then a quick seven-hour TV show. Then before dinner, turn off the TV and do something cool, something fun. Not Pinterest fun. Just easy fun. A board game, I Spy. That is finishing strong. Then dinner, then obviously another family show."

For a lot of us now is not about homeschooling, it's about surviving without school. And Doyle's advice is just what we needed to hear today.

News

A few days before my first son was due to arrive, I asked my dad what it was like to be a parent.

After a (disturbingly) long pause, he quoted Martin Mull: "Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain."

Indeed. And when you are suddenly working from home with kids, it can feel like that bowling alley has suddenly gotten very loud and crowded, especially when the bowling pins go flying just as you are about to speak up on WebEx.

But now is the time to let go of the guilt we might feel from having a day go not quite as planned. You are already doing a great job, and we will all get the hang of it together a little more each day.

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In case it helps, I thought I might share a few of the tricks that have helped me over the past years as I've navigated working from home with three sons.

Tips for working from home with babies + toddlers

Keep your baby nearby

Babies and toddlers are programmed to want to be near you. It's their main mission in life. So, when my little ones weren't napping, I just embraced this fact. In fact, when my littlest was a baby, I would lay out a blanket or his little seat right next to me as I worked, put on some music, and do my thing.

Now that he is a toddler, I have little gated corners with toys right near my workspace, and as long as he isn't eating dirt or wailing, we have a pretty good time working together.

Make busy boxes

I rolled my eyes the first time I saw this idea on Pinterest, but busy boxes have been lifesavers during really hectic workdays.

The key is to change the contents of the box up. Each week I make a new box with little toys, bubbles, crayons, letter tiles, new books, playdough (when I'm feeling brave) and so on. The other key is to put the box away as soon as your meeting is done, or the kids start to lose interest, so it seems like a special treat the next time you pull it out.

Have a lineup of sensory activities at the ready

Things that adults would never find entertaining can keep little bitty ones occupied for ages. Throwing ice cubes off the deck. Sitting in an empty bathtub (yes, I have brought my laptop into the bathroom) and drawing all over with bath crayons. Bubbles. Sorting blocks into different colored buckets. You name it. Have a series of engaging sensory activities for toddlers and babies lined up in the morning so they are ready, and you'll be thanking yourself later.

Tips for working from home with preschoolers + elementary-aged kids

Set expectations + reward kids for meeting them

At the beginning of each day, I suggest clearly communicating with your kids about the times when you have your most important meetings or deadlines. Those are the points in the day to bring out the big guns (you know what I'm talking about: YouTube, Roblox, iPads, TV). Challenge your kids to see if they can possibly hold out on electronics until those times and find little rewards for them if they succeed.

Give them their own "jobs" to do

Set aside cleaning supplies that are just for use by the kids—you might even put your kids' names on the supplies so they feel ownership. Throughout the day, ask the kids to be your housekeeping assistants and encourage them to go on a hunt for dirt spots on the floor or dust on surfaces. You would be surprised how much fun a spray bottle of water and a few rags can offer throughout the day. (My 11-year-old has caught on to this trick though, so don't be surprised if older kids don't buy into it.)

Hire them as temporary assistants

Speaking of assistants, you can also ask kids to assist you with work! For example, I sometimes have asked my son to sit in the background and "take notes" during a meeting. It keeps him busy for a while and the result is usually hilarious (one time he wrote a whole page of meeting notes that just said BLAH BLAH BLAH).

Tips for working from home with kids of all ages

It's okay if they're bored

Kids are actually pretty good at staying occupied if we give them the freedom to do so. Boredom is good for humans and can serve as the foundation for creativity. Don't feel like you have to fill every minute with activities, it's actually better for kids if you don't.

A few minutes of your attention can buy you many more minutes of work time

When kids come to you for attention, if you can, look away from the screen and listen for two minutes to what they have to say.

I know this sounds silly, but I schedule tea time every day with my kids. During those 10 minutes, we drink tea (okay, it's actually milk) and eat cookies and talk. It's often the best part of the day.

Pre-record read-alouds

At night, record yourself reading to your kids. Picture books, chapter books, comic books, whatever you have on hand—it's all good! Play those during the next day and you can both work and read to your kids. It's the next best thing to cloning.

Give older kids a project of their own

Long-term projects that can be done in chunks over time are great for kids in preschool on up. For example, if ever there was a time to have your kids start building a time capsule, it is now! This sort of project can buy you a few minutes each day and is a great learning experience.

Don't forget: You're getting a lot done (honest)

There are going to be times when everybody is cranky and nothing is going right and you feel like you are getting nothing done.

When you hit the wall, I suggest doing two things:

1. Remember that you ARE getting things done, even if it's not in the way you'd like

2. Have a pre-made list of very short mindless tasks that need to get done.

When you can knock those little annoying tasks off the list in between a kid crying because the brownies didn't have enough marshmallows and the washing machine breaking, you will be a winner.

Above all, I suggest being honest with yourself and your colleagues. This is a new, chaotic, stressful time with lots of changes for everyone. If things are tricky in any given moment at home, we all understand. We will flex to the moment, laugh, and adapt as we work together to keep things going.

You've got this.

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