Asked

For all you shippers that are parents: how do you structure your days?

I'm a parent of a 2.5 y.o. and another one that's just about to drop. The expectations of day-to-day output has definitely been adjusted since these non-negotiable obligations has been added (you know what I mean). However, quite curiously, I feel my productivity and motivation has increased since I became a parent. Perhaps more to loose/more benefactors of potential success makes it all worth it. I don't know. But curious to hear what others shippers that share the privilege of parenthood think.

First of all congrats - you're in a pretty unique position to see more of your kids than many working families

I have 3 kids from 1-6 yrs old so have seen a different impact at different stages. There definitely has been a psychological trigger that has increased my motivation and made me focus more on goals - eg do I focus on something boring yet sustainable long term, or play with this short-term thing that's fun? Likewise, I'm more conscious of the time I waste at the screen - I don't mind working long hours but I hate days where I did nothing yet stayed plugged in rather than leaving my desk and spending time with the family.

With smaller children, I think you really need to fit your days around them, particularly if you work at home. It's important to speak openly with your partner about what times to work and what times to play to ensure you are supporting them enough and not disappearing into code for days on end, but also to ensure that you do get some time for solid focus. If you can't have a room where you can shut the door its worth looking for some desk space somewhere nearby where you can go to get in the zone.

If you've had a bad night, don't beat yourself up or demand too much of yourself - far better to pick something small and easy to work on so you get a sense of achievement, or just have a personal/family day and take a walk then rest up to get more done the next day.
I also let my health go a bit with the first two kids - you end up feeling both family and your work need a lot of time so neglect both your physical and mental health, so make sure you both get time to exercise and to see friends.

As children get older and first nursery then school routines become part of your life things change again. I find the morning school run to be less of a chore than I thought as I now see it as a way to ensure I go outside, get some fresh air and exercise each day. The regular morning starts seem to help everyone in the house sleep better and insomnia is less of an issue too, as everyone is basically tired all the time! :)
I generally now try and work from when I've dropped them at school to some time between 4 and 6 depending on what's happening at work and home (sickness, tiredness etc).
I also try my best to switch off when I'm done for the day and not check my phone/stats/laptop etc, but that's not always as successful as I'd like. I aim to only work in the evenings after their bedtimes if there's something really important - after all, the time you and your partner get alone is very precious and important to your wellbeing too so make the most of it!

Two kids (8-month year old daughter and 2,5-year-old son). Going to keep it short as it's five o clock.

I work from home and have in-ear headphones to block sound, as otherwise, it's just too distracting. I try to keep to strict hours as other wise I don't get work done ( 8 to 5, no weekends ). As I've got RSI this is not a big problem, work too much and my arms will start aching.

I've disabled all my notifications so my mind is with my kids when I'm having a day off. It will still race off thinking about products and what to build by itself but no notifications makes a big difference. I'm trying to BE there with them as much as possible.

I love that I am here to see them grow up but I hate that my brain is not always there. It's a double-edged sword.

Thanks @JonnyPlatt and @rikschennink for your answers! Great insights 🙏
Totally agree that focusing on goals and something that, maybe, has potential to make the life of the family better ("sustainable long term") is really important. It's great to hear that you both put the family first and something that, if I'm being honest, needs constant work. Being in the code is such a comfortable and controllable place. Much harder to control a 2 y.o 🙈

Do you guys work with your own projects/companies full time?

Me personally am a developer at a company 9 to 5 so side projects are delegated to time available beyond work and family. Which fluctuates in it's availability.

I work on own projects and two client projects. When I'm not working, it's the own projects that linger, the client projects I stop thinking about when I close my text editor.

@rikschennink Alright, yes the stop-thinking-when-leaving-comp part is a hard one for passion projects. I've though felt some of my biggest technical breakthroughs (within the context of the app of course) have been when having put the son to bed and he's sleeping and just sitting in the dark and enjoying that peaceful moment, then it falls into place. So, like, how vigilant should one be with putting parts of life in different compartments.. I don't know.
Fully agree on aiming for 100% attention when with kids and spouse though.

Working from home has been a huge help in managing it all. Been doing that for a couple of months now, even though I had a membership to two co-working spaces. Has been great. Biggest plus - I get to share lots more with my family. But a bit isolated from developments in my field, so trying to get back to "going to the office". Just need more discipline about the hours I keep once at the office.

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