Ukraine On My Mind

Like many others, I woke up this morning with Ukraine on my mind. As I listened to my snoring husband next to me, I searched my phone for any new updates. Stomach in knots as I read about the 13 soldiers on Snake Island who took a defiant last stand, the woman who confronted a Russian soldier and the plight of two sisters separated from their parents while holding out in a bomb shelter.

From the warmth and safety of my home, I sat there trying to wrap my mind around the trauma and fear Ukrainians are dealing with. They’ve been down this path before. I can’t imagine.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of listening to two Ukrainians who started a ministry to provide loving, safe families for abused, neglected and abandoned children in their home country. Their hearts and passion for children flowed through each word they spoke. During a call with them, they soaked up all they could about trauma-informed care and yearned for knowledge to help restore the lives of broken children.

I also listened to a coworker who traveled to Ukraine and worked directly with the families and children at a summer camp. He held back tears as he talked about the humility and warmth of the Ukrainian people. He also broke a little when speaking about one particular boy whose trauma absolutely split his heart into pieces.

As I sat in my bed this morning with Ukraine on my mind, my thoughts immediately turned to them. It’s devastating to consider the work they’ve done, and still want to do, is now at risk. It angers me that trauma-upon-trauma is spilling out onto the people there.

It seems selfish to worry about what to fix for dinner or to run to Starbucks or any of those things we do on a typical day in my country. My kids are safe. They are warm, sleeping in their beds. Our family isn’t separated. We’re all here. Oh, the things we take for granted; the twisting of our version of freedom into concerns of trivial things.

Friends, let’s keep Ukraine in our hearts. Lift up the parents sheltering their children and the elderly who’ve already fought this war time and again.

Pray for Ukraine and its people.

Pray for courage, strength, protection and peace.

Win At Parenting When You Work From Home

Parents who are working remotely while caring for young children and babies are charged with both managing their time and juggling work and home responsibilities. While this 24/7 dual role can take a toll on your mental and emotional health, implementing a few basic survival tips can help improve the situation and allow you to retain your sanity. Below, Barren to Blessed offers parents a few ideas on how to win at parenting when you work from home.

Separating Home And Work Life

While it may feel like an impossibility, creating a schedule and sticking to it can help you balance work and home and keep the two entities separate. If you have a partner or housemate who can assist, divide household and childcare tasks in such a way that you each have designated blocks of time during the day in which to focus on work. 

This is especially critical if you’re scheduling Zoom meetings or phone calls that require quiet and concentration. Ask your boss for a flexible schedule if necessary. According to the BBC, colleagues can be a bit rough on one another for perceived lateness or distraction, but many become more accommodating with the knowledge that countless parents are struggling to juggle work and home simultaneously.

Create Designated Workspace

Although numerous parents are working from kitchen tables, card tables, and bedrooms, if there’s any way to create designated private office space, it can help you ensure a clear delineation between what constitutes home and what constitutes work. According to Grey Campus, doing so can also help you manage time and stay focused

Keep all of your professional tools and supplies organized in a single place, including notepads, your laptop and a charger, and any other materials and files you need for everyday work responsibilities. If you have a specific space set aside, declare it off-limits to the rest of the household. If necessary, you may need to get a bit creative — take critical phone calls from a large walk-in closet, laundry room, garage, or any other space where you can temporarily carve out privacy.

Keep It Clean

Having a clean or disorganized house or workspace isn’t just a hassle — it can make your mind feel cluttered and disorganized as well. Cleaning, decluttering, and organizing is the best way possible to not only stay focused but to think clearly and freely. You can eliminate negative vibes and energy by airing out your house, letting in some fresh air, and even smudging, if you’re so inclined. Decorate with items that make you feel happy and peaceful. Studies show there’s a direct correlation between how tidy your living space is and how you feel mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Creating a calm and comfortable environment will help you be more centered and productive, both as an employee and as a parent. 

Be Kind To Yourself

We’re all living in an unprecedented time, where parents are often charged with being  employees, caregivers, and teachers – often simultaneously. In addition to setting parameters that help you maximize your professional productivity, set aside time to rest and recharge so you can be your best in all areas of responsibility. Invest in some clothing (like a nursing T-shirt, for example) that allows you to work and parent comfortably. Also, Healthy eating and regular exercise or activity can all aid in this effort. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that’s from older kids, a spouse, a partner, or housemates. Remind yourself, it’s okay to not be okay all the time. Simply creating a plan of action can get you in a frame of mind where you feel focused and in control.

Take Control of Your Future

In many cases, the work-from-home battle can feel so insurmountable that it becomes a choice between working or quitting your job to stay home. The latter comes with many pros and cons, with the biggest con being a loss of income. However, if your family can afford for you to stay home, you can find alternate ways to make money or even go back to school to pave the way for your career once your kids are in school. And with online degree programs, you would have the opportunity to earn your advanced degree and study at your own pace while you still take care of your parental responsibilities.

While all the tips in the world can help you be organized and manage your time to its fullest, there are some undeniable challenges that only your employer can help you address. Be up front with your supervisor about your limitations, and collaborate to create a flexible work schedule. This will ensure you’re meeting your obligations and responsibilities to your employer, and to your colleagues, while also taking care of your needs, and those of your family.

**Note: Thank you to Gwen Payne for this guest post on how to win at parenting when you work from home! You can find her at http://invisiblemoms.com/

Image: https://pixabay.com/