Working from home

I’ve been working from home. It’s new for me, I’ve never done it before and I’ll admit upfront I had a lot of expectations and preconceived notions about it.

Some days I felt as though because I was working from home my working hours were not as valuable as my husbands. For example – If he was working from home, I’d be doing everything for the kids, keeping them quiet while he’s working, and entertaining them. When I’m working from home, I still do almost everything. I get the kids their drinks, I make the bottles and feed the baby, organize snacks etc.

Of course, I’m not superwoman, but stuff starts to slide after a little while. And sure enough, stuff did.

The laundry pile that is normally always done, folded and put away has been multiplying on our bedroom floor. I have no clothes left in my dresser – nor do the children. Every thing we need, we have to hunt for. The dishes get washed, but rarely get put away. The dishwasher is loaded, but never emptied. I used to vacuum twice a week, currently once a fortnight is a triumph.

Parenting and working is HARD. I was happy to work from home, It meant I could be there with my kids but what I hadn’t expected was how much more work I would do outside the general “9 – 5”.  I hadn’t anticipated the hours I’d be putting in after the kids were in bed, during the time that I’m used to relaxing. After the kids go to bed, it used to be the case of a quick tidy up, wash the dishes, maybe do a load of washing then veg with my husband. Lately though, The kids go to bed, The dishes and the laundry get done but then I have a million other things I’m trying to do as well. I lost most, if not all of my “me” time. I lost a fair whack of time with my kids, too.

I enjoyed what I was doing, but it was only ever short-term. Maybe if it was a longer thing and I’d had more time to get into a routine with the work, and the kids and the house I could see it as a long-term option. But I didn’t, and I don’t.

The truth is, when I’m home, I want to be home. I want to be able to play with my kids, watch a movie with Lucy and eat popcorn. I want to have the time to just be with them. When I’m at work, I want to be able to work, I want to be able to concentrate. I want to set myself goals and achieve those goals.

I didn’t hate working from home. Some days, it really suited me. Admittedly, most of those days were the days where I only had one of the children home with me. The baby is easy to occupy – He just rolls around the floor, and occasionally wants a fresh nappy, a bottle, or a nap. The 4-year-old is slightly more demanding though totally self-sufficient in getting snacks, drinks and toys – but wants me to play with her. Other days, the kids were hectic, the house was trashed and the last thing I really wanted to do was to sit down and work.

It’s about priorities, and organisation.

I enjoyed it. I really did. But I learnt a lot about me, and about what I want from an employment opportunity.

I think that for me, working from home was harder than if I had needed to get everyone organized and dropped off so as I could go into the office.  I’m happy to keep home and work totally separate. Originally I liked the idea of having the kids at home with me. But really, what’s the point in working from home if you’re too busy to play with your kids anyway? I like the idea of sending them to childcare while I ‘go’ to work much better. At least there they are being stimulated, and played with and cared for. I started feeling as though I was neglecting them a little.

It’s a hard balance.

What do you think? Work from home, or ‘go’ to work? Have you tried it? What worked for you?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ceallach1983
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 10:34:36

    Im always blown away by just how much you manage to get done in a day Tam!


  2. Kath
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 18:21:46

    I agree. I worked from home one day a week for a while, but found that it difficult. I felt guilty if I was spending time with my daughter and not working, then when I was working, I felt guilty if I wasn’t spending time with her. The only time I actually got any work done was when she was asleep. I still work from home occasionally, but find that I’m a lot more productive when I actually go into the office.


  3. Caspette
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 19:51:40

    I think you really need to treat working from home like working from an office, you need set times to work solidly. Maybe even put the kids in daycare or some other type of care. Which sorta defeats the purpose. I would not be motivated or organised enough to do it.

    Probably a key is also to find a balance that works best for you and not to feel guilty.

    I still live in hope that I can find something that pays well enough for me to stay home, but until that time its a no go.


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