My trick to balance work and family ft. Cooking

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

It’s easier to get consumed with work if you’re working remotely or working from home.

So, when my girlfriend, now my wife started working from home after the pandemic we felt that our usual and trivial conversations reduced.

We tried to log off by 8 PM but that didn’t work out all the time.

So, we both decided that no matter what happens we’d cook dinner together. Every night from 7:30 to 9:00 PM we cook and eat dinner together. 

We put our phones on charge and never bother. We also don’t accept any meeting invites during that time.

Things we tried:

1) Eating dinner together - Not enough time. 
2) Cleaning dishes together - Inefficient and created more mess and work. 
3) Conversation before bedtime - Both were tired at that point.

Cooking can easily be a two-person job. It also creates a sense of discipline and we get to try something new every other day.

We take turns deciding what to cook. Cooking has become an important outlet for us. It tests our communication and ability to compromise.

Here's what our users had to say:

  • Justin said "Congratulations on the marriage! I'm sure you've heard it many times but here it is again: 'Happy wife, happy life!' 👏 On that note, I've found that in our home, my wife is happier when I stay out of the kitchen 😂 A compromise in line with your advice is that I stay with her on-call during the cooking time to help with anything that should come up during this period. I then also handle clean-up as well. But in any case, very much like you say, it's been a good way to ensure that we are spending the time together as opposed to just "being there" together."

  • Prithvi Tharun said "Thanks a lot 😇. I started helping my wife with cleaning and taking out the trash the first few weeks. Then, learned a few neat tricks from her. With the help of YouTube, I can now proudly say that I can handle myself in the kitchen and can cook consumable recipes 😅"

  • Ermira Krasniqi said "This is very nice, Prithvi :) Also, what do you enjoy cooking the most?"

  • Prithvi Tharun said "Thanks.My favorite has to be fish fry and gravy. Almost every weekend I cook fish. It gives me a wholesome experience. From waking up early morning (5 AM) to get fresh fish from the market, deciding the fish, cleaning, marinating, frying, and finally getting the dish on the table after a long 6-hour. The entire experience is about finding my own personal joy and taste. Sorry, I got carried away! 😅"

  • Ermira Krasniqi said "Wonderful! It surely seems like a wholesome experience 😄. Glad that you are able to balance your work and family time by cooking."

  • Karthik Sridharan said "Great stuff and love the concerted effort to look at improving the interaction. It is so easy to just lose track of all of this in the daily motion of things. As Justin said, my wife & I only get into a fight if we both are in the kitchen at the same time - I like my space when I am in the kitchen 🤦. So, we take turns there. We try to take our dog, Rocket, for a walk together to spend some quality family time. Still trying to find the right balance here, because she is a late riser and typically, I take Rocket for a walk quite early. Thanks for this post - I need to align on some things at home 😂"

  • Prithvi Tharun said "Ha, 😃My wife is a late riser as well and I am an early riser. Our day starts with shouting and screaming when my alarm goes off. In our case, only the setting has changed but the fight isn't absent."

  • Karthik Sridharan said "haha, ok then - good to know that I am not a total wreck after all 😅"

  • Peter Pezaris said "Fantastic advice! I'm going to have to give this a try."

  • Prithvi Tharun said "The initial days could be rough if you haven’t cooked before. But those days are the best. The mistakes will bring you both closer than ever."

  • Jane Geddes said "I love this solution! My daughter was 4 (she's 17 now) when I started working from home. Sometime around 5/5:30, I'd wrap up my day - not answer phone calls or emails, but spend 10-30 min organizing my thoughts and prioritizing my work for tomorrow (the thoughts I'd usually have on my commute home.) Then, I would close the laptop, plug in the phone with the ringer off, and step through the doorway to announce, "Hey, everybody; I'm home!" I found that transition to be really important. I didn't go back into the office until after the kiddo was in bed."

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Hah, that's really nice. Few weeks back, we were discussing quite a bit about creating a fake commute & how we unplug from work. Referencing some of the old posts where @lindsayalissa @aldalima @scottpdawson shared some fantastic inputs: 1. Disconnecting from work 2. Remote work boundaries"

  • Karthik Sridharan said "Quite beautiful. I wish I was more disciplined and had the ability to follow such a good routine. But this is definitely inspiring to make the move in the right direction."

  • Stella Russo said "That's really good 😀. Do you still follow this routine?"

  • Jane Geddes said "Thanks for the links!"

  • Alda Lima said "Good reminder, @hrishikesh ! How is it going for you? I'm still pretty much the same and have been good not working evenings. By 5 p.m. I'm pretty much mentally exhausted and have been trying not to push it. And I always organize my priorities for the next day too @janegeddes-892. It's really helpful and always makes me feel better!"

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "It's somehow gotten worse for me over the past few weeks :( I feel I was better at avoiding emails & Slack earlier than now. Sundays are mostly still device free. The irony is just last month or so we set down more guidelines in the team around when to expect replies, be online etc. So it surely isn't external pressure but my inability to manage the workload right now. I am going to do better now - top priority for me!"

  • Alda Lima said "I'm sure you're going to be doing better again soon! 👊 I think it's natural to have these ups and downs - as remote workers we kind of have to motivate ourselves all the time and be very self-disciplined just because we know it's the right thing to do, and not because someone is watching what we do like it happens in an office, so I guess this is expected."

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "True words - got me pumped as well to do the right things 😎I will write back in a few days/weeks on how it goes!"

  • Jane Geddes said "I admit, the "I'm Home!" part was largely for my daughter. Now that she's a teen, she doesn't care 😂I do like to organize my work and shut off the devices. However, I've also become an admin for a large Facebook group, so I'm having a challenge with getting offline!"

  • Stella Russo said "Haha, thought so 😅. I shut my devices too after the end of the day but I do check emails and messages on my phone to ensure that I don't miss anything important."