With the rise of work-from-home jobs and people quitting corporate America to pursue their dream of being their own boss, an inevitable culture has been established amongst those who work from inside their home (part-time or full-time) with the kids running around. There is a plethora of good advice out there, a lot of which I have taken and adapted to my own work-from-home situation.
And then there is the reality of it….
Think of the BBC news interview interruption when the man’s two children barge in the room while he is live on air and his wife, with ninja-like reflexes and speed, grabs the kids and literally drags them out of the room. The man smirks, but continues on with his serious work-related conversation.
I know that I for one, had a huge chuckle from this when it went viral and I bet that you did, too. So, why did we find that funny? Because we know that is the epitome of real-life when you try to work from home; we have empathy for that man — heck we are all that man.
Refer to the image (above) I included for this post. You see how neat and organized her tiny little desk is? First of all, no one in the world could really work on a desk that small, right? I mean really. And, she must have just cleaned it and got herself all set up after her son went down for his nap. Then, that potted plant, well it was knocked all over her computer, the table and the floor about 10 minutes earlier when her daughter cartwheeled into it. So, what’s the truth? The truth is that working from home is not nearly as neat, peaceful and awesome as we all think it sounds (or how it looks in the picture).
Here are a few realities you will be required to accept if you choose to work from home while your kids are home:
- Any phone call you take for work will absolutely be interrupted, at least once.
- You will likely take any work phone call that you receive, from inside the bathroom, where you will be hiding out from those tiny people who don’t stop interrupting and/or talking.
- Someone will have a meltdown while you are talking to a very important client, whom will likely act like they understand, but will be turned off by the interruption and your apparent distractions.
- Any document you try to complete will have to be stopped and started, at a minimum, five times.
- You will have to accept that a task that should take ten minutes, will likely take you over three hours.
- Your children will want to know what it is that you are doing every moment that you are doing it, and so they will ask…and ask…and ask…and ask you questions and you will repeatedly lose your train of thought.
- You will only work in 15-20 minute increments because that is the longest length of time you can keep all of your children happy at the same time.
- Don’t be surprised if you find yourself cramming in five minutes of work, here and there, while they are pooping, in the shower, engaged in a show or distracted by each other.
- When your children ask you why you are on your phone, you will always tell them “for work,” even when it is for personal enjoyment. Why? Because by telling them that, you will get a few more minutes of respected phone time than you would otherwise not receive.
- You will find yourself answering emails while on the toilet. Do not drop your phone in it!
- The majority of the time when you are working on your computer, you will have a child in your lap.
- Your most productive hours will be prior to 7am, while the kiddies are still sleeping and after 8pm, when they go down for bed.
- You will always feel guilty — guilty that you ignore them occasionally to get stuff done and then guilty that you aren’t getting enough work done because you feel bad ignoring them.
- There will be weeks where you are supermom and weeks where you are a super-worker, but you will rarely be a rock star, at both, on the same day.
These are just some realities that I believe you should know and accept if you are going to work-from-home with your kiddies around. This new way of life is definitely preferred by many over the 9-5 in a cubicle, answering to “the man” — but don’t for a second think that you won’t have to answer to someone.
When you work from home, you most definitely will be answering to someone — except this someone is “someones” and they are tiny, demanding and attention-seeking. Truth be told, you may wish to return to corporate America after you spend a few days with them. But…hopefully not.
Good luck! You are surely going to need it!