Guest posts

Kids as colleagues: 5 ways to cope with your cute new ‘coworkers’ and support Baltimore businesses

Alanah Nichole offers tips on working from home with kids, and a look at how local brands are making it all a little more bearable.

Coworking with Blair and Harper. (Photo courtesy of Alanah Nicole)

This guest post is a part of's Community Building Month of our editorial calendar.

So, it’s been about 47 days since they let Baltimore schools out due to COVID-19 social distancing precautions. On behalf of Baltimore’s parents, I want to first establish how grateful we are for having warm homes and family to cherish whilst practicing physical distance to #FlattenTheCurve.

About eight and, again, six years ago, my journey into parenthood began. About 47 days ago I absorbed two new coworkers! Their names are Blair (8) & Harper (6). In my newly established work from home ritual laced with pajamas, bowls of cereal and distance learning, I’m embracing a #NewNormal.

Here are five ways to help you — the parents of your new kid coworkers — to cope with the noise, hunger and demands. If your story sounds anything like mine, read on and enjoy:

Find a Hiding Spot

Whether it’s your bathroom or basement, you’re going to need some place with a strong WiFi signal to hide. Zoom calls just became fair game for your new snack loving coworkers (We’ll get to snacks). When your laptop’s camera is a lens for them to rehearse the latest Tik-Tok dances, even your Zoom comrades may turn against you welcoming the presence of the cute, three foot tall distractions. So, a room where the door can close is your new human resources help desk. Your tiny new coworkers answer to no one. No, not even you. *sigh*

Bonus: For that strong Wi-fi connection Xfinity is helping low income families with Internet Essentials, spread the word! While you’re hiding you may want to caffienate with Thread Coffee, they deliver!

Use mute

In between your poised and well-pointed expression of ideas on the aforementioned Zoom calls, you want to become very familiar with your new favorite video conferencing feature: mute. Your new pint sized coworkers do not take kindly to your taking meetings in the middle of play time. They are likely to make this known with loud outbursts or overhead running. You’ll really want to redirect all of their energy to their distance learning, or a good old fashioned book. Your Zoom comrades will enjoy a good mime show of you swinging your arms and yelling to no avail at your new coworkers. Not to worry, soon they run low on energy and need food, that involves you, too.

 Bonus: In your spare time engage those theatrics with your kids. You could even write them down and get published in the Charm: Voices of Baltimore Youth online publication “This Is Not A Snow Day”.

Gather snacks

If you’re smart, when you go to the market (with your masks on!) you’ll buy prepackaged snacks galore. If you have teens at home, you’ll want to ration your food so that you don’t starve. These newfound office mates are always hungry, and it’s your sole responsibility to not only make sure the fridge is full but most importantly with things your kids/coworkers like. I hope your calendar isn’t too full. You’ll have to find time in your busy virtual world schedule to prepare the snacks and meals they consume, often. If you thought your lunchtime was short before, think again. Lunchtime is shorter and there’s again no HR department to tell when they steal your lunch. They will and you’re out of luck.

Bonus: If you know a family in need, Bmore Community Food & Hotel Revival in partnership with Kiss Tomorrow Hello are doing regular food pickups in Mt.Vernon & Remington. Bird In Hand Coffee and Books now has “Bird at The Curb” for quick bites & even puzzles!

Everyone needs some private space. (Photo courtesy of Alanah Nicole)

Everyone needs some private space. (Photo courtesy of Alanah Nicole)

Tablets, Computers, Laptops, Oh my!

Use the tools you have, whether it be your phone or laptop, or even the new coworker’s tablet to call your parents or trusted friend. No, not for you, for the kids. These calls are a welcomed distraction and will keep your new office mates busy for anywhere from five to 45 minutes. It’s like calling a babysitter, but for free. You may owe your friends and family tons of favors & drinks by the end of this but at least you’ll have your sanity.

Bonus: If you have extra tablets, laptops or old working phones laying around you can help another family by donating them to the Teachers’ Democracy Project.

Take time for yourself

Take a breath, stretch or learn a new skill or share one using the Virtual Skill Share platform on Impact Hub Baltimore’s Instagram. Yoga is coming up on May 11 with Aliya Muhammad RYT. We’ve got this! We’re all in this together.

Baltimore parents unite! That’s all I have guys. I hope these tips to cope with your new busy bodied coworkers help your days or at least give you the sense that you’re not alone — you’re not.

Bonus: Order yourself a prepackaged drink from Clavel or Charm City Mead Works. Taharka Brothers Ice Cream does delivery, too, if that’s more your speed.

Series: Community Building Month 2020

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