Switching From Work Brain to Parent Brain When You Work from Home

by Ann Douglas

Working from homeMaking the mental shift between work and home can be particularly tough when you're a parent who works from home.

Here are some tips that will help you to leave your work-related worries at the office, even if work happens to be a file folder's toss away from the kitchen table.

Getting "Off" Work

Set up a work space in your home. If home office sprawl starts to occur and file folders can be found everywhere from the kitchen to the bedroom to the family room, it's much more difficult to switch from work brain to home brain at the end of your working day.

Allow yourself a few minutes of planning time at the end of your working day. That way, you can dump the contents of your brain on to a notepad instead of carrying a million-and-one "notes to self" around in your head all night, where they'll end up competing with your kids for attention. (Researchers from the Australian Childhood Foundation found that three-quarters of working parents report that intrusive thoughts about work affect the quality of the time they spend with their kids at least some of the time.)

Making the Transition

When you are ready to switch from work mode to family mode, take a moment to clear your head of any lingering work related worries and then cross the almost invisible divide that takes you from work to home.

Some parents who work from home find it works well if they leave the house to pick up a child at daycare, school, or an after-school activity. By the time they arrive home with their child, they have made the switch to family mode.

If you don't have this built-in routine to fall back on, create your own routine. Offer to go for a walk around the block or a bike ride with one of your kids. The fresh air and exercise will help you to change gears while you enjoy reconnecting with your child at the end of your working day.

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org.