Working from home with your whole family there isn’t easy. For one, many kids need help and guidance as they adjust to distance learning.
Plus, since you’re all together in the same place, it’s easier to wander away from your tasks to go talk to your coworkers … er, family.
It’s nice to spend time together, but getting the peace needed to get work done isn’t easy. One mom has found an ingenious solution to this problem. Her brilliant life hack might seriously change the game for all parents working from home.
Kate Danielson is the founder and executive director of Foster Progress. The nonprofit helps kids who have experienced foster care access and achieve in higher education.
Aside from this incredible feat, she’s also a mom of four. She and her husband have two biological children, a foster child, and another child they are guardians to.
With her big family constantly asking questions, Kate developed a clip chart to clarify her availability. It’s hilarious and a must-have for any working parent.
Parents are being forced to take on a lot of roles these days. With the kids home for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to juggle everyone’s individual schedules. They need help navigating this new territory, which makes it hard for parents to stay afloat.
The struggle gets even more challenging when one or both parents are also working from home. You now have to juggle various responsibilities while remaining productive for work, and it isn’t easy. With everyone in the same proximity, kids are more likely to come to you with questions, complaints, and more.
Kate Danielson has found a way to make it work for her family. The Chicago mom is the founder and executive director of Foster Progress, a nonprofit that helps kids who have experienced foster care access and achieve in higher education. Kate and her husband are also currently parents to four children.
“We’re supporting our students by making sure they’re safe during this quarantine,” she told Good Morning America about the work of Foster Progress. With so many displaced and uprooted students, it’s a bit chaotic.
“Our college students often don’t have families to return home to, so we are working to make sure they all have temporary living arrangements and, in some cases, supporting their lost income by buying them groceries and essentials.”
With a full work-from-home schedule, Kate needed a way to communicate to her kids that just because she’s home doesn’t necessarily mean she’s available. Thus her brilliant clip chart was born. The chart features escalating warnings for what’s at stake if her kids interrupt her.
“The door sign was meant to be useful and also make my kids laugh,” Kate said. “When you have a big family, and each kid has the same question multiple times per day, it gets old fast! I sprinkle sarcasm liberally throughout my parenting strategies.”
The chart comes with a FAQs page, which was custom-tailored to the questions she was tired of answering.
“My oldest, Isaac, kept asking to jump off the deck onto the trampoline, even though he knew what I was going to say,” she said.
“My youngest, Michael, kept asking why about everything: ‘Why can’t we go to the park? Why are the restaurants closed? Why can’t we visit grandma?'”
“Eventually, he would answer himself: ‘Nevermind, I know! Because coronavirus!’ So ‘Why?’ had to be included on the FAQs,” she explained.
The FAQs are working, she’s happy to report. The kids have become self-aware of their repeated questions.
Her kids are also taking the clip chart seriously, to her relief.
“I hear the kids outside the door going, ‘You guys, mom is on the deep orange! Shut up!'” she laughed. “I have only put my clip on the green once. That was a mistake.”
Kate also credits her husband, Zach, for being “a true equal partner.”
“I know so many moms’ careers are taking a hit because they’re still expected to do all the parenting and household management while their husbands close their doors and just do their jobs,” she acknowledged.
“Zach takes the lead on communicating with teachers and takes breaks throughout the day to tag-team parenting. I am a lucky lady.”
When Kate shared her system on Facebook, people were immediately obsessed. The post has over 6,000 shares so far. Since Kate is a total rock star, she even made public printable versions for other hardworking parents desperately seeking peace.
Kate asks that those who use the charts consider donating to Foster Progress. In doing so, you’re making the load a little lighter for Kate, as well as the students who need it the most. It’s a tough time for everyone, but any little bit that we can do to help others is good for our minds and our spirits.