If you’re one of the many who began living the work-from-home life a few months ago, you won’t need me to fill you in on how work slowly becomes life. I don’t know many who enjoy a commute, I know I certainly didn’t enjoy being squished on a train during peak hour – but I think we can all agree that it historically served a good, concrete indicator of when to start and, most importantly, when to stop work. Without it – or even an office to go to – the structures of a work day have become a little muddled.
Despite this, in the last few months we’ve managed to find a good rhythm at home to facilitate the work/life juggle. So I thought I’d share how a usual day plays out for us as I know there are many of you out there wearing a few hats at the moment!
To give you a bit of context, my husband and I are both lawyers and have been working from home since March. We have four boys at home, the older two (10 and 8) are in Years 5 and 3 at school and the younger two (3 and 1) are enrolled in a local day care centre. The older two boys share their time equally between our place and their mum’s place. For the purposes of this post, I’m running you through what a typical day looks like for us when the older two boys are with us. So let’s get started:
Mornings – before school and work
My husband and I are normally up by 7:00am. We’ll spend some time on our phones reading the news and checking socials until the boys are officially up at 7:30am – that’s the time we’ve set on the boys’ Gro Clock (a godsend child friendly clock which communicates sleep and wake up times) and our 3 year old knows not to get out of bed until the “sun’s up”. The older two get themselves into their school uniforms and I help the younger two get dressed for day care.
We all congregate around the dining table at around 7:45am for breakfast. My husband gets all the boys set up with the breakfasts (cereals and/or toast) and most importantly, he makes our coffees! He also makes the older two boys’ lunches to take to school.
Save for any tantrums (or inconvenient bowel movements from our youngest requiring last minute nappy changes), we walk the boys to school and day care (unless it’s raining and we all pile into the car) and they’re at school by around 8:30am.
Starting our work day
My husband and I are home before 9:00am which gives me ample time to fix myself a simple breakfast (currently yoghurt, granola and honey) before firing up our laptops to kick off our work days at 9:00am.
Work permitting, we take a quick mid-morning tea break to share a pot of French Earl Grey tea. And when the weather is fine, I’ll ask my husband to take a photo of my outfit to share on my blog and my Instagram feed. We’ve got into a good rhythm now and it only takes a few minutes for him to get ‘that’ shot!
At the moment, I’ve got a makeshift home office set up in the living room (ie. a trestle table from Bunnings typically used for parties!) and my husband works from the dining table. It’s less than ideal, and had we known we’d be stationed at home for months (and probably many more months to come), we would have probably reconsidered living in a narrow terrace conveniently located to… work (oh the irony).
Both of our work days are filled with lots of video calls and regular phone calls (where one of us will have duck into another room to minimise disruption and maintain confidentiality) while trying to get on top of our emails, advice work and drafting in between. We’ve both had court hearings that have taken place during these months at home and have had the opportunity to attend those hearings remotely using Microsoft Teams – the novelty of being able to do so hasn’t worn off yet!
If things aren’t too crazy with work, we normally pause for lunch at around 12:30ish and keep things relatively simple – usually a toasted sandwich (sometimes with my husband’s home-made focaccia!) or we’ll eat down the fridge and get stuck into leftovers from last night’s dinner. We normally eat lunch el-desko – just to get our work done but if we’ve got manageable days, we’ll head out for a brisk 30 min walk together before getting stuck into an afternoon of work.
At around 5:00pm, we’ll hit pause with work and head out to pick up the kids. We normally arrive home with the kids by around 5:30pm. My husband and I share the cooking pretty evenly and if one is cooking, the other will get the younger kids through the bath. Meanwhile, the older two boys are either doing their homework or music practice (our 8 year old is currently learning the clarinet).
Dinner is normally on the table by around 6:30ish and we always eat dinner together and talk about our days (or listen to our 3 year old jibber jabber about who-knows-what). As for dishwashing, whoever cooked will usually leave it to the other to do the dishes while the chef will get a head start playing with the boys before bed. The older two take turns getting themselves through the shower while the younger two enjoy a little bit of play and story time before they go down for the night at around 7:30pm.
Once the older two finish their homework and reading, we play a few rounds of Uno and Monopoly Deal together. We play Uno with the “proper” family rules and using the scoring method. Whoever ends up with the higher sum total of points in their hand at the end of each round is eliminated – and we play until there’s one left standing. It’s the only way to play Uno!
After games, the boys brush their teeth and are in bed by around 8:30pm.
Most nights will see us logging back on to catch up on things that we’ve missed in the last few hours and to tidy up the remainder before logging off for the day.
Once we’ve clocked off work, we’ll hang out on the couch together and end our days with a cup of tea and a chat before either watching something fun on the telly, or just hanging out together on the couch while I bash out a blog post. The quiet time after the kids go down is sacred.
And that’s pretty much how it goes. Then it’s wash, rinse and repeat.
How are you finding the juggle at the moment? I’d love to hear from you!