Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Parenting During Covid


Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Parenting During COVID-19

Written by: Sheyla Scaffo, People Experience Associate & Executive Business Administrator at Bunny Studio

Parents navigating their working from home while taking care of their children is the new norm. As school picks back up and with the uncertainty of what a day at school will look like (home, at school, 50/50, etc.), figuring out how to balance their schedule and a full-time job sometimes feels totally unmanageable.

Most parents have had experience working remotely in one-off, unplanned situations. However, working at home day in and day out for the foreseeable future while also caring for (and in some cases, teaching) kids at home proves to be a major struggle without careful planning where needed and flexibility when possible.

Here are some tips to create better routines and habits that can help parents maintain a healthy work-life integration:

1. When possible, keep things flexible
This is often easier said than done. However, when you do have the ability, consider getting creative with your work schedule to base your hours around your kids’ schedules. Giving yourself the flexibility to work differently during this time is crucial to maintaining work-life balance. 

This can work in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re an early morning person or a night owl, or you are used to commuting a long way, consider working on projects during these times when kids are usually sleeping. Of course, there will always be vital tasks and meetings that require collaboration with your colleagues during regular work hours, but finding ways to give yourself time for small breaks during the day will help you and your kids stay on track.            
 
2. Establish a kid-free zone
There will be times when you need to hunker down and complete work items free from distractions, which is why it is important to establish an area of the house where you can separate yourself from your family. 
 
Not only is it important for this space to be free from other people, but it also needs to be free from other distractions such as dirty laundry and other messes. Keeping the area clean and organized will keep you from wanting to disengage from work to complete other tasks.

3. Clearly communicate with your family
If you have a partner who is also working from home and sharing kid duties with you, it is crucial to communicate the times you can and cannot help out during the day. Setting these expectations will allow for a much smoother daily routine.

It is also important to communicate with your children if they are old enough. Set expectations for when there will be breaks in your day that you can check-in, whether it be a quick snack break, lunch, or even hourly check-ins. 

4. Utilize special toys and screen time during work hours
Set aside designated toys and other gadgets, as well as movies or TV shows, to be used when you need to focus-in during the day. This will give your kids something to look forward to and will allow for some distraction-free work time.
 
5. Don’t overwork
During this time, it can be easy to feel like we need to push ourselves to work extra hours, but the reality is that taking the time to unplug and reset each day is critical to success as a parent and an employee.
 
With schools and offices closed, parents are likely finding themselves faced with a to-do list that has only grown. Although many of us have now had a few months to settle into fully-remote work, that does not mean keeping up with distance-learning while figuring out the best way to accomplish your work has gotten any easier. Designing a schedule that fits your needs is easier said than done, but following the above tips should help ensure you are on the right track.

Should you find yourself out of work during this time, consider that there are other work options out there, such as freelance and contract work, that may help you meet your scheduling and finance needs. Freelancing is also a great source of supplemental income for people while they look for new full-time employment. Just make sure you choose the right platform to help you get the right kind of projects, such as Bunny Studio

Pick a Urinal… Any Urinal: Just wash your hands and stay out of pee


Caution: Blog Post about Pee.

I found this half written blog post in my draft folder and wanted to finish it off and post it because it’s a gem. A real classic. Or a giant waste of time, but it’s about pee, so it should get some reaction aside from giggle children).

Apparently there was a major study perform a few years ago surrounding the urinal that men (and boys) subconsciously choose when entering a restroom. Who knew?

A lot of it has to do with positioning of urinals, the number of urinals and whether any of said urinals were occupied at the time – according to experts. I recalled that study and remember walking into restrooms for the next, I don’t know, 5-years, trying to see what made me choose the urinal for wet waste disposal, and which urinals I directed my boys to.

It’s taken me wayyyy to long, but I can say now with certainty that there are other, much more significant factors which were taken into consideration, such as the size of puddle on the floor – can we straddle it, or would we have to stand right on it – which spots are available, and how close we would be to people. From there, we quickly size up the people to see if we want to pee beside them. Will they mind their business or do they peek – do they stand 5 feet away from the urinal and splatter or do they talk to themselves. Do they look like they might live in one of the stalls or do they look as uncomfortable and weirded out as the rest of us.

These are all important traits to teach out kids as they begin going into bathrooms on their own.

I’d much rather my kids go to the spot they feel safest than to make them feel that tehy should avoid the first stall because that stall is the most commonly used, so they should use the second one, or maybe the 5th one because men don’t often use the 5th one…

All I can say is this…

Try not to stand in pee.

Try not to splash others pee back on you.

Always flush the urinal if its not automatic.

Always wash your hands thoroughly, especially if you’re the type of kid who is going to have you fingers near your face, or in your mouth at any point in the next day.

Please don’t look at other people – stare at the wall if you have to.

If someone is looking at you, finish up as quickly as possible and then tell someone. But always wash your hands.

 

Father’s Day is Here (Father’s Day is every day!)


Father’s day makes me realize a few things.

  1. I Love being a father
  2. I miss my father – he would have loved my kids – had he been alive to meet them – and they would have loved him.
  3. Considering the traditional role that mother’s play in the raising of children, I believe in being an involved father, being there as much as possible – supporting your children, and you wife, girlfriend, partner, baby-mother, etc. It’s nice to have a day to recognize what it means to be a father, but every day is father’s day… Or should be.

If you’re a father and not involved with your kids by your choice, then snap into it and realize that it’s not about you. It’s about the way your kids grow up, treat others and expect from adults. You’re setting them up for potential failure. Having a relationship with your children is a privilege and to stubbornly walk away from them because you’re feelings are hurt is a reflection on your character – which your kids pay the price for – and will have to deal with long after you’re gone.

That being said, my friends at Dad Things Social, have provided me with this cool infographic for Father’s Day.

You can follow Dad Things Social, here;

https://www.instagram.com/dadthingssocial/

https://www.facebook.com/dadthingssocial/

And their blog: https://dadthings.ca/

Rules for Tim Hortons, the Sport!


I wrote this in 2007 and never posted it.  I know why.  It’s stupid.  But looking back on it 13 years later and aside from wondering what the heck I was thinking, I’m a nostalgia-guy, so I thought I’d clean it up and post it.

There are the rules that apply to Tim Horton’s Coffee – written as if Tim Horton’s was a sport, I would guess.

 

These rules always apply, no exceptions:

#1. When you enter a Tim Horton’s and see a line to one side of the restaurant that DOES NOT mean that you can start another line on the other side.

PENALTY: TOO MANY LINES. People guilty of this infraction must buy coffee for everyone in the original line.

#2. If you cannot see the donut you want available in the display you CANNOT ask for it since the server will then go into the back and eventually return to tell you that – guess what – they don’t have it!

PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME. People guilty of this infraction must return to the end of the line.

#3. The Drive-Thru is for ordering coffee and donuts ONLY. If you need to order a sandwich or soup get out of your car and go inside you lazy bum! It takes too long and they’ll probably get your order wrong anyway, so save some greenhouse emissions (unless you’re driving an electric car, then you probably parked and walked) and remember – NO ORDERING FOOD IN THE DRIVE-THRU!

PENALTY: OVER-ORDERING. People guilty of this infraction will have their tires deflated on the spot, or will have to drive over very rough road on the way out, and will spill all over themselves.

#4. Cleaning the Hot Chocolate and Flavored Coffee machines is FORBIDDEN during times of the days where there are actually customers in the store. What kind of business takes a product off-line in the middle of the day!?

PENALTY: UNNECESSARY CLEANLINESS. Staff guilty of this infraction will be forced to eat hot, spicy food, then placed in restraints just out of reach of a nice cool glass of water for an hour.

#5. Placing the lids on the “to-go” cups so that the drink opening lines up with the crease in the cup is a crime against humanity since it has the same effect as gag dribble cups. Plus, exactly how hard is it to miss that crease when placing the lid on anyway? Yet it seems to happen more than 50% of the time.

PENALTY: ILLEGAL LID ON THE CREASE. Staff guilty of this must properly stir each coffee they serve for the next hour to ensure not one customer get sugar in the bottom of their cup.

#6. Franchise owners who open up a store with a Drive-Thru that can’t handle at least 10 cars in line are a traffic menace. Caffeine addiction is a scary thing that will cause people to stop dead on busy streets just to keep a position in line at the Drive-Thru.

PENALTY: INTERFERENCE. Owners guilty of this infraction will be forced to eat only Tim Horton’s food for the next year.

#7. Going on a coffee run to Tim’s for five or more people is a no-no. First, you’ll never remember what everyone ordered correctly. Second, you don’t have a hope in hell of carrying that stuff back. Also, it will take way too long!!! That nice person behind you in line was under the impression that you were just going to order coffee and go. BUT NO, you have to take 5-10 minutes of our lives while you botch the order and then juggle the cups back to your vehicle. Get some backbone – force others to come with you. No more than three or four orders per person thank you!

PENALTY: OVER TWO MINUTE WARNING. People guilty of this infraction will be forced to drink ALL the coffee they have ordered and eat ALL the food.

Side note: Doing this same infraction through the Drive-Thru may result in public flogging.

#8. During Roll-Up-The-Rim-To-Win time all cups left unattended and unrolled for more than one minute are fair game.  There is nothing wrong with unrolling a cup found lying on the ground other than the germs.  It could be a car, or a free coffee.  Drinking from that cup is disgusting, but opening it could be found money.

PENALTY: IF IT’S A WINNER: Finders keepers.  IF IT’S A LOSER – TECHNICAL FOUL.  You must drop $2.00 on the street, or give it to the homeless person outside your favourite location.

#9. Staff who fail to recognize that you are a creature of habit and order the same thing everyday for a year at the same Tim Horton’s and still meet you with blank stares and an indifferent “What can I get you?”  Where is the recognition and “Would you like the usual?”

PENALTY: INCOMPLETE RECOGNITION. Staff guilty of this infraction will be subjected to bathroom duty, and have to eat all the left-over donuts at the end of every day for a week, or until they explode.

#10. Showing up at your son/daughter’s hockey game with a coffee from somewhere which is not Tim Horton’s is strictly FORBIDDEN!  We all know how much money this company pours (pun intended) into Tim Bits hockey.  What are you?  Anti-Canadian?

Don’t you know the way we do things around here?

PENALTY: ILLEGAL COFFEE. People guilty of this infraction must buy coffee and Tim Bits for the team and coaching staff for the entire season.

 

Mother’s Day, Travel and Food


This Mother’s Day represents the first Mother’s Day without my mother, who passed away last July after a brief, but fierce battle with liver cancer.

I don’t need one day to remember her – Her memory is with me every day, especially when I see the numerous things that my kids do, that I wish her, and my father, were here to see.

Love you, Mom.

That aside, I’m fortunate to have another amazing mother in my life, and that is the mother of my children. She’s been the best mother on the planet for my kids – besides the fact that they (thankfully) get their good looks from her – and possibly their smarts from here, but I digress. She’s been a rock for them and I’ll be forever thankful to her.

One thing that she’s instilled in our family is a love of travel.

As a family, we’ve travelled to the following locations;

  • Eastern Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI)
  • US (mainly NY, but also Florida and Georgia)
  • Ecuador (and Galapagos. Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil)
  • France (mainly Paris with the kids, but most of the country over 4 or 5 visits)
  • Holland (Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans, Edam)
  • Belgium (Bruges, Brussels, Ghent)
  • Japan (Tokyo & Kyoto)
  • Viet Nam (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Da Nang)
  • Thailand (Bangkok, Chaing Mai)
  • Cambodia (Siem Riep, Phnom Pehn)
  • Iceland
  • Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Girona)
  • Ireland (Dublin)
  • England (London)
  • Italy (Cinque Terra, Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Pisa, Lake Como, San Gimignano)
  • Taiwan (Tai Pai)
  • Indonesia (Bali, Ubud, Jimbaran)
  • Central America (Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Dominican, Bahamas, Puerto Rico)

For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to do something special for her, so I asked my kids to talk about their favourite places they’ve travelled to, and their favourite foods from those locations.

Taking that information, I then created a menu, of sorts, and attempted to create (or buy) foods which could be a reminder of the joy we experienced travelling as a family – knowing also that there will likely be no travel for quite a while, as things presently stand.

I bought some Japanese, Italian, and Thai treats, and I bought plain croissants, chocolate croissants, Camembert, dragon fruit, a sourdough baguette, and a soy milk drink.

I then attempted to make savory mushroom crepes, frites with a garlic aioli, and French macarons with a vanilla buttercream filling.

Well, the macarons caused me a whole heck of a lot of problems, so I ran out of time and steam, and at 3am, gave up on the frites.

The crepes were not that much of a big deal – I’ve made them many times before, beginning in high school when I took a baking class instead of Industrial Arts for a 3rd time. I earned the 2nd highest mark in the class – and I used the skills that I learned in class to bake quite a bit growing up.

I never really cooked that much, even though I enjoyed it. I think along the way I just got complacent and lazy, having a spouse who cooks creatively and very well, I lost my ability to cook. I want to get that back, so this was the start of hopefully many more attempts at cooking delicious food.

Here is how my macaron turned out. I coloured the shell and the filling different shades of purple.

Not bad for a first attempt, eh?

Happy Mother’s Day to the mother of my children, and to all mothers, everywhere.