Working from home with a toddler

RO: Asa cum ne asteptam de altfel, lucratul de acasa cu un copil mic este greu, solicitant, obositor, de multe ori chiar frustrant. Da, este varianta cea mai buna in conditiile de fata (de fapt este unica posibila), facandu-mi intoarcerea la birou mai usoara, dar in acelasi timp… mai grea. O perioada chiar nu am vrut sa scriu acest articol si sa despic firul in patru pe aceasta tema, pentru ca realizam ca va fi un articol deloc coerent, cu multe contraziceri de-a lungul sau. Insa ulterior mi-am dat seama ca nu doar articolul, dar si starea mea (a noastra de fapt) este la fel de incoerenta si schimbatoare. Pentru ca pe de o parte ma bucur nespus de faptul ca am reinceput sa lucrez stand acasa (scenariul pe care de altfel il doream si il speram), ca sa pot petrece in continuare foarte mult timp cu Alexei si ca sa nu existe acea “ruptura” sau “despartire” intre noi daca m-as fi dus fizic la birou. Dar pe de alta parte, imi este extrem de greu sa ma focusez integral jobului (cum as fi facut-o daca ma aflam fizic in birou) si sa ma concentrez in sedinte, traininguri sau calluri cu colegii, ceea ce bineinteles, imi da un anumit nivel de stres, stiind ca nu pot sa duc la bun sfarsit tot ce am de facut, ca trebuie sa ma intrerup foarte des, ca imi este greu sa ma reapuc de unde am ramas, ca simt ca mereu trebuie sa recuperez si tot asa. Dar aceasta este situatia, nu avem alta varianta, nu putem avea ajutor si cumva, trebuie sa ne descurcam. Nu suntem singurii in aceasta situatie asa ca ne straduim sa gasim cele mai bune solutii pentru noi.

EN: As expected, working from home with a toddler is hard, demanding, tiring and sometimes even frustrating. Yes, it’s the best option considering the current conditions (actually it is the only possible option), making my return to work easier, but at the same time… harder. For quite a while I didn’t want to write this article and talk too much about this subject as I thought that it might be an incoherent article, with lots of contradictions along the way. But then I realized that not only the article but also my state of mind (actually our state of mind) is equally incoherent and unstable. Because on one hand I am extremely happy that I started working from home (actually the scenario that I wanted) so that I can spend time with Alexei and not have that “separation” between us if I would have been physically in the office. On the other hand, it is extremely hard to fully focus on my job (as I would have done if I were physically in the office) and concentrate in my meetings, trainings or calls with my colleagues which of course, brings a certain level of stress, knowing that I cannot finish everything that I have to do, that I have to interrupt and pause very often, that it is hard for me to start over and that I always feel that I have to catch up with everything and so on. But this is how things are, we don’t have other options, we can’t have any kind of help and somehow we have to deal with this. We are not the only ones in this situation so we struggle to find the best solutions for us.
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RO: Si cred ca cel mai important este sa fiu mereu constienta de faptul ca sunt zile si zile. Unele sunt mai bune, mai linistite, cu mai putine lucruri urgente de rezolvat, altele sunt complet opusul. Fiind insa inca in perioada de reacomodare, totul este destul de lent si de incet momentan. Asa ca zilele pline sunt pline in principal din cauza faptului ca ma stresez sa fac mai mult decat ar fi poate cazul, din dorinta de a ajunge mai repede la zi. Bineinteles, daca as fi fost la birou, intr-un mediu foarte profesional in care nu as fi avut intreruperi sau distractii de la ce am de lucrat, as fi recuperat foarte repede si as fi fost in mod cert mult mai productiva. Lucrand de acasa si in acelasi timp avand grija de Alexei (jucandu-ma cu el, gatind, curatand etc), mi se pare cumplit de greu sa imi mentin concentrarea atunci cand incep ceva, cand particip la un call sau cand fac un training. Insa dupa aproape trei saptamani am inceput sa imi gasesc un oarecare ritm. Incerc sa il implic in multe activitati in care se poate juca singur (nu reusesc intotdeauna pentru ca are nevoie de atentia mea foarte mult) si lucrez cat de mult pot in aceste conditii. Ce nu pot face, aman pentru perioada in care doarme (daca am noroc, poate dormi si doua ore la pranz) si pentru seara, dupa ce se culca. Din fericire adoarme devreme seara si imi ramane suficient timp sa recuperez tot ce nu am reusit sa fac pe parcursul zilei.

EN: And I think the most important thing is to always remember that days are different. Some of them are better, more relaxed, having less urgent things to solve, others are completely the opposite. But still being in an accommodation phase, everything is pretty slow at the moment. So the days are full because I struggle to make more than I should probably do, because I want to catch up as soon as possible with everything that has changed during my absence. Of course, if I would have been in the office, in a professional environment where I wouldn’t have had disruptions or distractions, I would have been able to do that sooner and I would have been more productive. Working from home and at the same time taking care of Alexei (playing with him,c ooking, cleaning etc) makes me barely concentrate when I start doing something, when I’m in a call or when I have a training to do. But after almost three weeks I managed to find a rhythm. I try to involve Alexei in lots of activities where he can play by himself (which is not working all the time as he needs my attention quite a lot) and I’m working in these conditions as much as I can. I postpone everything that I can’t do for the time when he’s sleeping (if I’m lucky he can even sleep two hours at noon) and for the evenings, after he goes to sleep. Luckily he goes to sleep early and I have enough time to catch up with everything that I didn’t do during the day. Working from Home_8
RO: Si pe cat posibil, facem cu schimbul. Ne programam sedintele si taskurile importante in asa fel incat sa nu se suprapuna si sa putem sta intotdeauna unul dintre noi cu el. Sunt si multe momente in care este imposibil sa facem acest lucru, asa ca in functie de cat de important si urgent este ce avem de facut, facem cu sau langa el. Nu este o situatie ideala si da, observam ca simte faptul ca amandoi suntem legati de laptopuri pe parcursul zilei. Ne cere parca si mai multa atentie, de multe ori vine langa noi si ne inchide laptopurile, il simtim mai agitat si foarte dornic sa stea cu noi. Si da, ne oboseste toata aceasta situatie si de multe ori avem impresia ca nu reusim sa o gestionam asa cum ar trebui. Dar stim pe de alta parte ca nu avem o alta varianta si ca trebuie doar sa gasim o solutie si sa optimizam cat mai mult timpul, sa ne organizam extraordinar de bine, sa ne planificam ziua in asa fel incat sa petrecem cat mai mult timp cu Alexei dar in acelasi timp sa terminam si ce avem de facut pentru birou. Ne organizam inclusiv mesele, ca sa stim ce trebuie sa cumparam din timp, ce trebuie sa gatim si pentru cate zile.

EN: And we switch turns, as much as possible. We schedule our important meetings and tasks so that they don’t overlap and one of us could always stay with him. There are plenty of moments when it is impossible to do that, so depending of how urgent our tasks are, we work with him or close to him. It is not an ideal situation and yes, we notice that both of us are attached to our laptops during the day. We needs even more attention than usual, sometimes he even comes close to us and closes our laptops, we feel him a bit more agitated and willing to spend more time with us. And yes, all this situation is tiring and sometimes we feel that we’re not handling it properly. But on the other hand we also know that we don’t have any other choice and that we have to find a solution and optimize our time as much as possible, to organize extremely well, to plan the day so that we can spend as much time with Alexei but at the same time to finish what we have to do for our jobs. We even organize our meals, so that we can know exactly what we have to order and buy, what we have to cook and for how many days. Working from Home_3
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RO: Am umplut casa cu recuzita pentru activitati (carti de colorat, acuarele de toate felurile, creioane de toate felurile, plastilina, pasta modelatoare, stickere, decupaje, hartie colorata, orice am gasit interesant pe net) astfel incat sa avem mereu lucruri de facut cu el. Din fericire, il intereseaza si este atras de tot ce inseamna desenat, pictat, mazgalit, colorat, modelat iar asta ne face izolarea mult mai… antrenanta. Are intr-adevar nevoie de unul dintre noi sa il supravegheze si sa il ghideze in joc, insa reusim sa il tinem ocupat si implicat, ceea ce ni se pare cel mai important lucru. Iar de vreo doua saptamani ne-am facut o mica rutina de a iesi la o scurta plimbare in cartier dupa amiaza, dupa ce terminam amandoi de lucrat. Cum aici se intuneca foarte tarziu (dupa 9:30), ne ramane suficient timp pentru iesit putin cu Alexei, ca sa se poata plimba cu tricicleta sau sa alerge. Iar aceasta scurta plimbare ii prinde extrem de bine si lui, dar si noua.

EN: We filled our house with all sort of activities for Alexei (colouring books, water colors of all types, crayons, modeling paste, stickers, clippings, colored paper, anything we found interesting at the online shops) so that we can always have new things to do together. Luckily, he’s into anything related to drawing, painting, scribbling, colouring, moulding and this makes our isolation more… entertaining. He always needs one of us to monitor him and guide him through the play, but we manage to keep him busy and involved, which is the most important thing. And for two weeks we made a routine of going out for a short walk in our neighborhood after we both finish our jobs. As here it’s getting dark really late (after 9:30) we have plenty of time to go out with Alexei, so that he can ride his tricycle or run. And this short walk is so beneficial for him, but also for us. 
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RO: Nu avem o “reteta” pentru aceasta situatie. La fel ca tuturor parintilor, ni se pare greu, ni se pare frustrant si solicitant. Pana acum au fost putine momente critice si din fericire avem noroc ca ambii angajatori sa fie foarte toleranti si intelegatori in situatia de fata. Insa intr-adevar, productivitatea noastra este mult mai scazuta in timpul orelor de program si ne focusam foarte multe pe momentele in care Alexei doarme (la pranz si seara, dupa ora 7-7:30). Incercam doar sa ne impunem sa credem ca acesta este normalul in momentul de fata, sa nu ne plangem si sa ne gasim mereu energie sa facem fata acestei situatii. Iar cand unul dintre noi are o zi si o stare mai putin buna, celalalt sa il ajute sa se ridice. Suntem o echipa. Toti trei 🙂 Si vom trece si peste aceasta perioada, fara doar si poate 🙂

EN: We don’t have a “recipe” for this situation. As well as all the parent, we find this period of time hard, frustrating and demanding. Up until now there have been few critical moments and luckily both employers are tolerant and they understand the current situation. But we have to admit that our productivity is lower during the day and we focus to finish our duties when Alexei sleeps (at noon and in the evening, after 7-7:30 PM). We just try to think that this is the normal situation, we try to complain less and to always find energy to deal with this. And when one of us has a bad day and bad state of mind, the other one tries to make him feel better. We’re a team. All three of us 🙂 And we’ll get over this phase, no doubt about it 🙂 
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