As a parent working from home, you may feel like you need to be many people at once: Loving parent, Productive employee, Supportive partner. This can be tricky to navigate, but with time management, communication, and planning, you can find a way to wear all your hats, at least at times. Here are some tips for working from home and still supporting your partner while they're on primary caregiver duty.
Practice letting go
Children can benefit from experiencing different parenting styles. You may not always share the same approach to parenting, but this isn't always a bad thing; a variety of opinions and relationship dynamics can be good for a growing kid.
While you're in work mode, try to relinquish a bit of control. If you notice yourself stepping in at times when your partner hasn't asked for your help, try to take a step back. Ask them about which situations they are happy to handle alone, and when they might like you to step out of the office to wrangle your little one into the bath, for example.
Be a team
You might feel left out during work hours because your child and partner get extra bonding time. Don't worry; your little one might be extra excited to spend time with you later. By the same token, the primary caregiver will likely be the main voice of discipline throughout the day. If the caregiving parent has applied consequences, try to back them up. Trust their judgment, and help your child to perceive you both as a solid team and voice of reason.
Play to your strengths
Have a discussion with your partner about your strengths. Perhaps you're better at getting your tot into the tub, but your partner may be the superior spoon-feeder. Establish specific tasks which may be done more efficiently by each parent, and work together to get these done. Communicate with your partner about your work schedule, and with your boss about your family's schedule.
After a long day at work, the last thing a lot of us want to do his chores. Remember that full-time caregiving is a job too, so some of the household jobs still need to be shared between both parents.
Think about what can wait until after work hours. Perhaps it makes the most sense for your partner to be responsible for laundry, so they can get it dry before nighttime. Maybe your partner is too busy to do dishes as they run around with the little one all day, so you could be responsible for tidying the kitchen after work.
Acknowledge each other's efforts
Both of you are working very hard. Check-in with how your partner is coping as a primary caregiver during weekdays. Acknowledge that they are working as a parent full time too, and let them know what you appreciate about their efforts and in return, your partner should appreciate your hard work too. Mutual respect and communication about each other's needs, preferences, and schedules are a great way to support one another actively while one parent works from home.