Mothers’ Stories

6 things helped me under quarantine as a working mom

6 things helped me under quarantine as a working mom
Published : April 21 , 2020
Latest Update : September 25 , 2023

By: Natalie Nawas, mother of two

The Corona Crisis we are all going through is truly extraordinary and completely unfamiliar. While it has brought fear and anxiety for everyone, mothers are experiencing heightened pressure and no longer have a few hours alone with schools being shut down.

These pressures are doubled for working mothers who have to cope with a new work set up, homeschooling and managing the house overnight!

Adapting to this “new normal” has a very steep learning curve and we are learning as we go along and take it one day at a time. As a working mother of two very active 4 and 3 year old kids, I had to quickly find a way to make it work.

Here are some suggestions that I found worked for me and are worth trying:

  1. Maintain a sense of “normalcy”

Find a habit or routine that you do on normal working days that you can implement at home during the lockdown. It could be having your morning coffee before anyone wakes up, journaling, a stretch or listening to music.

Most importantly, do get changed and refreshed, it will make a world of difference in your mood, energize you and trigger the “professional work mode”, which you will not get if you stay in your pajamas or house clothes all day.

  1. Working Space

Having a dedicated workspace in your home is essential for both work productivity and for children adaptability. Make sure you pick a somewhat calmer spot with a comfortable chair and desk like table.Also, do add a personal touch to make it more appealing like a scented candle or flowers.

Do NOT make the mistake of taking your laptop with you everywhere around the house as it will significantly reduce your work productivity, extend your working hours, cause frustration from all the distractions and possibly make you lose your tempter. Most importantly, it will make it even harder for children to adapt to the “Home office” concept.

While it may take a few days or a week or two, children will eventually understand that the allocated space is now “mama’s office”.

I have found that communicating clearly that there is a certain time in the day that mom needs to be working and explain the nature of what you do, will add a whole new dimension to their understanding of work concept and even instill work ethic so early on.

Also explain that since there is a virus now this space is Mama’s office instead of going out of the house and they can still see you around.

Over time, they will learn that even though you are “at the office” they can pass by for a hug, ask a question or seek comfort from a sibling fight, but then mommy needs to finish her work.

Also, having screen time for your kids around the same time you have a work meeting will help eliminate or minimize distractions.

  1. Visual Aid

At the beginning of the lock down, I decided to conduct my own experiment and prepare a few signs. Nothing too fancy given the rush, Just a simple white paper and marker and made a few signs that said “Office Time”, “Learning Time”, “Reading Time”, “Playtime” You can always add meal times…etc..

Also, if your children are below 4 years old you will definitely use images and shapes. Over time they will associate these signs with the designated activity times.

It took only two days for my daughter to adapt to seeing a “Learning Time” sign signaling the start of home schooling.

The other day I forgot to put the sign up and she said “Mama, the learning time sign isn’t up so it is not learning time!” This will help you not only in managing all the different hats that us moms have to put on during this time.

But also to set expectations for your children so they are fully aware of what will happen during the day, and reduce their resistance to any changes so your day can run more smoothly.

  1. Home Schooling

I have yet to meet a mother who has not praised her children’s teachers and all teachers for that matter since the lockdown started!

It is indeed a calling, a noble profession and a talent. Clearly, not all of us are born with this talent and here we are; in teacher’s shoes overnight!

Virtual learning has its pros and cons and while educational institutions have done a tremendous job in quickly providing solutions, it is still challenging for mothers to make sure that children stay on track.

Again, assigning a learning space is crucial, and here I would strongly suggest for older, more independent children to be involved in assigning their learning space. For younger children, I suggest allocating space next to your “office” to signal a vibe of serenity and focus.

To make it less stressful, every night have a look at the material/plan that is sent to you by educational institutions and identify the program and deliverables for the following day and discuss it with your children so they would know what to expect.

Engage with class moms and teachers by utilizing whatsapp groups and sharing your children’s achievements and experiences. It is amazing how children can be more motivated just by seeing their friends’ pictures or videos, which may even encourage them to finish what is required and save a mom who is struggling!

  1. Keep it real

We must acknowledge that these are unusual and difficult times and it is ok not to have a perfect system all the time.

Don’t be discouraged by posts on social media or compare your efforts to other moms, they are there to inspire you. believe me, most moms don’t have it all figured out and in control 24/7.

When you get the quarantine blues (and I meant “when” not “if”, because we are all human!), acknowledge it, put a deadline to it and then take control over the rest of your day.

  1. Prioritize your well-being

“You can’t pour from an empty cup” this is why you have to make yourself a priority. Eat healthy for the sake of your health, try to fit in a quick workout, give yourself a pampering session with a homemade mask. Do whatever it takes to make YOU feel happy.

Find a way to keep yourself motivated, relaxed and organized so that you can manage all your newfound roles.

I have found that “micro-achievements” help give purpose and motivation each day. It could be clearing out a drawer, trying a new recipe or reading 5 pages from a book.

At the end of the day, you can look back and feel satisfied that you have achieved or completed a specific goal and made yourself happy, which will feed positivity into the next day.

Remember that despite how difficult these times may be, we will probably never have this kind of quality time at home again. Our children will never forget these days; the simple joy of having you around all day, all the time! Be kind to yourself and know that YOUR best is good enough.


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