How to work from home without childcare and keep it together.

Nights looked like an extended episode of ‘Stranger Things’ and I felt stuck on the Other Side, trying instead to snug in bed and sleep - for a change.

I have had bad days lately: my little one has been sick on and off for the past month and a half, nights looked like an extended episode of ‘Stranger Things’ and I felt stuck on the Other Side, trying instead to snug in bed and sleep – for a change.
The school routine also changed and now I have to run from one school to the other after only three hours from the morning drop-off.
Of course, P needs attention with homework too and I still have to figure out how to manage afternoons with both kids: the goal is being a bit productive, prepare food, clean around a bit, without abandoning them for hours.
Drink coffee was, of course, the best momentary solution to all my problems, still, I knew my schedule had to be re-evaluated completely.

I am not wonder woman, I don’t take drugs (not yet), I don’t have a family here.
I work some hours for the sweetest fashion brand for children, minimalisma (which btw has the sweetest model on earth 😉 and recently started again to design websites for small online businesses.
Although this seems very little to the most, I find working from home, as a mother, a job sometimes similar to Ethan Hunt’s.
(Btw, I would just like to be the
Chief of Unicorn Division instead, or such).
Although these may seem very small tasks to the most, I find working from home, as a mother, a job sometimes similar to instead?).’s. (Btw, wouldn’t just be better to opt for the

However, after years as a stay-at-home mom, I felt the need to be someone else apart from a mother:
1. because I loved my previous job,
2. because having some pocket money is a great feeling,
3. and because it felt like time again.
I have soon realized it was going to be hard with two kids, no afternoon naps, school over at 11.55, no support.
There is no such thing as quitting though so I started to look at the situation from another perspective and with another attitude. And if you want to achieve something too, while working from home, be prepared to change that attitude often:
the key lies in flexibility and, as always, in your mind.

How to start.

When childcare is no option (here in Zürich moms are much limited by prohibitive costs of babysitters and nannies), how can one make it work and still keep it together?

1. Get organised and get rid of that guilt.
One thing that you need to sort out as soon as possible is to get organized with time for them and time for yourself – more accurately, time for work, you don’t have time for yourself anymore. Kidding, maybe.

My trick
: I create some activity for the kids in order to have some time and fun together (again, be flexible, don’t focus on your fun so much, ok? 🙂
I very much rely on this website, Mer Mag, which I find great.
Creations don’t always turn out to be as perfect as they are planned to be but it’s a good form of exercising their sense of beauty and their skills. Mine too.
as very altruistic and maternal as this all may seem, time well spent with your children will always give you two huge benefit:
– with a little quality time spent with your kids, they will be super happy and let you have your time to work;
 you will get rid of that horrible, terrible sense of guilt (almost) every mom has, the feeling that makes you feel stuck between being there and being somewhere else mentally, and without have anything done during the day. True pain!
Get yourself on a schedule and these type of rituals with kids will pay you back BIG TIMES.

2. Make your morning uncomplicated.
Prepare the kids and yourself in the morning can be exhausting on the long term. I found evening’s notes (written or thought) have incredibly helped to decrease the number of times I’ve transformed into a Demogorgon (sorry I’ve binged it too much this season) and ruined the breakfast to the lot.
It is all about reducing the stress so have food and clothes all prepped the night before will give you the calm you need to actually enjoy your cuppa and possibly improved your time to talk at breakfast.
For breakfast’s ideas, I have found lots of good ideas on Pick Up Limes, a website recently discovered.
Even if I am not a vegetarian, I find Sadia’s recipes very well balanced and perfect for a healthy start of the day. 

3. Create a family calendar.
After the umpteenth forgotten birthday party, I have thought to give it a try and I have created a calendar to keep a running to-do list for my family.
These kids have a social life, totally busier than mine! and I find easy to get lost with afternoon activities, homework, family appointments, various events and more.

It may be obvious but a calendar can greatly help you out plus, if you hang it where the kids can see it too, you can add some chore for them to do and get some work done by the smallest as well (beds, pick-up toys and such).
They will understand the drill sooner or later but for now, they like to be involved and put their nose into the calendar so do take immediate advantage 🙂

4. Early to bed and early to rise…
…makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise – Benjamin Franklin.

Well, yes, I expect Deborah Read had her rough share of sleepless nights in order to let her husband sleep.
Waking up earlier is tough and also immensely helpful.
It may not always work all the time though (remember to stay flexible).
My little one has always been a bad sleeper and my first son started to sleep through the night when he was three: earlier rises have not always worked well for me so far.

That does not mean it won’t be better: when I managed to go to bed early and got a good amount of sleep, the morning appeared as a surprisingly marvellous resource of wellness that helped me breathe some peace, plan my day thoroughly, sip my coffee quietly, enjoy the silence and get some work done.
If we are in the same boat, don’t give up if it doesn’t work: just make a note and try later on in your life.

5. Be honest with your clients.
Set up, since the very beginning, your own rules regarding your workload, quantity of clients you can handle and be very clear about deadlines and time boundaries.
Be honest, first of all with yourself, about your working hours and say ‘yes’ to the job you know you can carry out in time and with great quality.
In other words, if you only have three hours to work in the morning, and evenings are too tough for you in order to concentrate properly, don’t take up assignments which are too big or with tight deadlines: you will only finish up disappointing your client (and yourself).

Experience, trials and errors will make you better but it is good to start at least with a clear idea of what you can or can not do.
If you sometimes feel frustrated about not being able to do much (and it happens to me a lot too!), think about your today situation as temporary: children grow and become more independent with time, you will have your chance to do more and get easily organized – hang on in there!

6. Go with the flow – A further note to the concept of flexibility.
Tight schedules don’t work well not for you nor your children. You have got to stay flexible and remember to keep it together.
This is possibly the mother’s arduous job: finding the appropriate dose of perseverance and self-control might be seen as exhausting so I give you a tip.
Look back at when you didn’t want to stay with your parents anymore (or watch the movie ‘Hook’ again): time flies and your children won’t be staying with you forever. Get some comfort in it, at least that tiny bit that will help you through the day!

The best advise I’ve got about kids came from a dear friend, while I was pregnant with P: he told the finest thing I could have done during the hardest days is to tackle difficult moments peacefully with a sweet disposition in my heart because this kid of mine was there to stay and facing the all stress with anger, well…it would not have served anything.
So my friends, a huge smile on your face, the right attitude and a plan will save your day:
time to enjoy that coffee now.



About the author
Hi, I’m Chiara, Italian mom living in Zürich and loving it. I like to write about coffee, how it is and how to pair it with, where to drink it and, the most important factor of all, with whom to enjoy it.

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