child's desk beside bed

The first day of school has come and gone, and it looks very different for students and parents. In the Seattle area, we have shifted to remote learning for the foreseeable future. Working parents are trying to tackle all of the “to-dos” and prepare for the changes ahead. I wouldn’t describe them as “being busy” with these tasks. Instead, they’re overwhelmed, stressed out, and uncertain how they’re going to accomplish it all – managing school at home, working full-time, and running a household.

As a working mom of two boys, the one piece of advice I have for working parents with children at home is this: Delegate what you can. There are many routine tasks that can be handled by someone else, and doing so will free up time for you to focus on what’s most important. Think about it: how much time would you get back in your day if someone else ran errands, did laundry, took the dog to the vet, and prepared meals? By delegating these tasks, you give yourself more quality time for your family and career.

I founded Pepper’s Personal Assistants to help busy families keep their households running smoothly. We provide each client with an assistant and work together to prioritize projects to complete based on the client’s individual needs. Our team follows strict protocols for health, safety, and cleanliness while working in each home.

Delegating tasks that you’ve always done may feel awkward at first. Some people feel that they “should” do certain chores or even are embarrassed to seek out help. I highly recommend that you put these feelings to one side. Parents are facing more demands on their time than ever before. Alleviating some of these pressures is essential to your well-being.

Here are a few ideas on what you can delegate, based on the trends we’re seeing with clients right now.

  • Organizing workspaces – With parents and children at home during the day, we’re helping create comfortable workspaces for everyone in the home. Some clients were not able to find desks in the area, as many stores quickly ran out. Our assistants have been checking for inventory in person and online, placing orders, and assembling furniture. In some cases, they’ve gotten creative and put together makeshift desks using items already in the house.
  • Buying school supplies – Although the list is shorter with remote schooling, teachers sometimes make last-minute requests for additional items. An assistant can do this errand or place an order for home delivery.
  • Reorganizing and restocking pantries – As they restock the kitchen, assistants can also purchase items needed for flu season – like over-the-counter remedies, canned soups, crackers, and juices. This is an important task, as people won’t be able to make a grocery trip if they are sick or sharing a house with someone who is. In addition to stocking up on supplies, assistants can prepare meals for the family, saving time on shopping, cooking, and cleaning up.
  • Completing school paperwork – Schools and teachers often have multiple forms to fill out for each student. Let an assistant organize and pre-fill these for you, so you can just sign and submit.
  • Helping to source other “helpers” – Our assistants help find nannies, tutors, babysitters, and others. They post ads, sort resumes, and conduct first interviews, passing along the best candidates to clients.
  • Preparing for the time when kids return to campus – Although we don’t know when students will be allowed to return, some parents are being proactive. Our assistants are purchasing school clothes, shoes, and backpacks, as well as scheduling routine physicals and vaccinations on their clients’ behalf.

I hope these ideas are helpful as you continue planning for the school year. One additional way to stay organized is by using a Trello board. We have developed a Trello board and an online tutorial to help you and your kids stay organized this year. Many of our clients find this a valuable resource for keeping track of each child’s school work and assignments, with an easy color-coded display on one page.

It’s never too late to find a resource and move some household work off your plate. In doing so, you’ll be able to focus more time and energy on what’s most important in the weeks ahead.

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