Skip to main content
The M Dash

Live with purpose.


The “Work-From-Homeschooling” Phenomenon

6 moms on how they're coping and what they're wearing.

By Tory Hoen

The list of things we never saw coming continues to grow, but for many women, there is one phenomenon that takes the cake: the new reality of doing their full-time jobs from home, while also homeschooling their children full-time. (Yes, that’s two full-time gigs layered on top of one another.) We call it “work-from-homeschooling,” and it’s a Sisyphean task. So if you’re freaking out, you’re not alone.

Below, six women share how they’re keeping it together (or not, because that’s fine too).  

Director of Fabric Research & Development at M.M.LaFleur

Audrey O’Brien

At home with two daughters (4 years and 8 months)

Brooklyn, NY


Mantra: “One day at a time” and “I can only do my best.” If I start to think too far ahead, I feel overwhelmed, so I try to just focus on making it through the day, which is manageable. 

Extra Curveball: My husband has COVID-19, so he’s living at his parents’ rental unit and I’m on my own with our daughters. 

How I’m Coping: I have friends that bring me home-cooked food and groceries, and I’m relying on Daniel Tiger to help with childcare while I take work calls. My house looks like a bomb went off, but as long as everyone is happy and healthy, I’ve done my job for now. Someone just sent me a message that mentioned how her mother used to say she “didn’t have time to cry—she just had to keep going.” I can relate. On the work side, if I can’t get everything done during waking hours, there’s always tomorrow. Right now is not the time to sacrifice sleep for emails.

What I’m Wearing: My go-to pieces have been the Butler Boucle in navy, my Nichols shirts (I have two), and my Oshima pants—they are as comfortable as pajamas, and the cropped leg looks good with my slippers.


Audrey's Go-To Pieces

Psychologist

Colby Kant Harris

At home with daughter (6) and son (3)

Phoenix, AZ


Mantra: “Connection and appreciation.” Connection: no school lesson is more important than connecting deeply with my kids every day. Appreciation: trying to focus on what we can do instead of on what we can’t do.

How I’m Coping: I’m exercising every day, even if it means getting up extra early in the morning. My husband is a doctor, so he’s still going into work, but when he gets home, he hangs out with the kids while I take a half hour of alone time so I can reset.

How I’m Getting Creative: My husband and I created a “Coronavirus Contract”—some rules that we’re all agreeing to abide by for as long as this lasts—and the whole family signed it. Some examples: “If you want to be by yourself, you go in your room. Do your best to listen. Cleaning up is teamwork.”

What I’m Wearing: I’m doing a lot of comfy layering. The Graham kimono is a go-to for me—I like to layer it over the Peggy top. For Zoom calls with clients, I wear a nice top like the Deneuve. When I’ve left the house for things like grocery runs (truthfully, the only time I’ve really worn pants…), I’ve stuck to machine-washable pieces like the Foster so I can just toss them in the wash when I get home.


Colby's Go-To Pieces

Controller at M.M.LaFleur

Zuzana Cerman Zechman

At home with daughter (7)

New York, NY


Mantra: “Take it one day at a time. Breathe. Make it ‘till bedtime.” 

What I’ve Realized: I am way more disappointed about our canceled spring break than my child is.

How I’m Coping: Two things help: creating a schedule and sticking to it (wake up at the same time, 9am English, 10am math, etc.) and creating a Google sheet with tasks, assignments, due dates, and status for everyone (“Open,” “In Progress,” “Completed,” “Submitted”).

What I’m Wearing: The Kendall top. And I’m eyeing the Nancy sweater and the Francis.


Zuzana's Go-To Pieces

Epidemiologist

Annie Gatewood Hoen

At home with daughter (7) and son (4)

Norwich, VT


Mantra: “Be in the present moment.” I’ve just been trying to take time to appreciate what I have.

 How I’m Coping: We try to start our day as we would if they were going to school: brushing teeth, getting dressed, breakfast. Then I spend the rest of the day running back and forth between my work, helping the kids, making snacks, etc. My son has cerebral palsy, so we are doing our best to keep up his physical therapy program—that’s a big part of the equation. And we’re making a lot of banana bread.

How I’m Getting Creative: We made an hour-by-hour schedule and hung it on the wall. We don’t stick to it, of course, but it’s useful when the kids get stir-crazy and start wandering aimlessly. We point to the schedule and say, “Let’s figure out what we’re supposed to be doing now!”

What I’m Wearing: Stretchy pants and warm socks, but I try to wear something presentable on top for Zoom calls. I just got the Morandi sweater as a birthday gift, so I’ve been living in that. Comfort is paramount right now.


Annie's Go-To Pieces

Director, Retail Growth and Experience at M.M.LaFleur

Caroline Brown

At home with daughter (3) and son (18 months)

Saddle River, NJ


Mantra: “Keep moving forward and don’t look back.” When I stop to think about the last few weeks and all the changes, it gives me heart palpitations.  

How I’m Coping: It’s been too non-stop to even consider how I’m coping. Maybe that’s how I’m coping? Oh, and alcohol. I only have one ritual, which is that, every day, I need one hour for myself to do anything I want: yoga, eat a snack, stare at the wall, make my bed. That helps me reset, and then I’m ready to jump back in again. 

What I’m Wearing: My quarantine uniform is the Morandi sweater over my pajama top, Foster pants in navy, and cashmere socks


Caroline's Go-To Pieces

Writer

Mary Laura Philpott

At home with daughter (14) and son (17)

Nashville, TN


Mantra: “One thing a day.” That could be one productive work-related phone call. One hour of writing toward my book deadline. Or one interview. And after I’ve finished that one thing, it’s okay if nothing else work-related gets done. We’re applying it to other parts of our lives too: one bit of exercise a day, one vegetable a day, etc. That’s about as high a standard as we can meet right now.

What I’m Learning: All four of my family members (including me) are morning people. Some like to wake up earlier than others, but we all seem to become less productive after about 2pm. Things have gotten easier now that we’re playing to our own strengths in terms of scheduling. And my kids are teenagers, so they can complete their online schoolwork with little input from me—thank heavens. 

How I’m Coping: Afternoons are for walking the dogs and FaceTimes with friends. After dinner, we watch one old episode of The West Wing and/or one episode of The Office.

What I’m Wearing: My favorite old college sweatshirt has gotten some serious mileage lately, but when I have a meeting or interview on video, I throw on a solid-colored top that’s more presentable but still machine-washable. I’ve been wearing the Winfrey top a lot lately, because it’s pajama-like. But I also like the Octavia and the Rowling for easy comfort and a visually interesting neckline.


Mary Laura's Go-To Pieces

Tory Hoen

Written By

Tory Hoen

Tory Hoen is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. She spent five years as the Creative Director of Brand at MM.LaFleur (where she founded The M Dash!) and has written for New York Magazine, Fortune, Bon Appétit, and Condé Nast Traveler. She loves doughnuts and inter-species friendships.

See more of Tory's articles

Read on.

Back to Top

Questions about styling or sizing? Chat with one of our stylists.