Lately, dear reader, I have been a bit busy at work. So much so that I’ve neglected you – so for that I must apologise!
I work from home; a situation that brings many pros and cons. For many, the thought of being able to disappear to the spare room, with no morning commute or rush hour return at the end of the day must sound like bliss – and don’t get me wrong, it is a perk. But working in a house where your family are isn’t always as easy as you might expect.
For a start, you hear everything. I don’t just mean the upset, the tantrums and the bad behaviour; but also the good stuff where they are laughing and playing. You can’t help but feel like you’re missing out and the discipline to continue focussing on the task at hand often feels over and above the call of duty. I miss loads even though I’m only upstairs – first words, steps, crawling, giggles. The term ‘so near, yet so far’ must have been created for me!
The noise element also comes into play when you are on conference calls. Whilst I have been fortunate in that the other half has been legendary in keeping track of my schedule and making sure I’m not disturbed too often, there has been the odd occasion where I’ve had to pounce on the mute button as the Bear Cub wanders in unannounced on a rare trip upstairs for a nap or nappy change.
The other half has occasionally forgotten I’m on a call and popped in to ask something or shouted upstairs to see if I want tea. Or the Little Boofuls might squeak with excitement if she spots me when I’ve left the door ajar as she’s on her way to a little sleepy time. All perfectly innocent but likely to make you tense as you try to listen to what’s going on with a project and not disturb everyone else.
Sometimes it’s me that causes the problem; with my booming voice waking any child within a mile radius once I get going. Add to the fact that I’m incapable of staying still on a call and my pacing on the landing soon leads to a little one stirring prematurely from slumber.
On the other hand, my being at home can also be helpful too. I can have lunch with the other half – that way she actually gets to eat (she often had her hands too full to get the chance to make a sandwich) and more importantly I get to see her and check in on how her day is going.
If she needs something – I can always nip down. Today, for instance, I heard a cry of dismay from downstairs. Popping my head around the door, I find the other half balancing a Little Boofuls with one hand, whilst trying to clear up a huge poo that has ended up on the changing mat.
The whole affair is fraught with peril; completing the task without depositing the child in the poo or putting her own hands in it whilst trying to mop it up is a challenge worthy of anyone.
Safe to say, the extra pair of hands came in handy to clean things up with the nappy change completed without any further carnage being rained upon us.
There are the odd occasions when I wished I work in an office. These are the days where my workload is particularly heavy but my concentration levels feel especially light. The distractions at home are plentiful; it would be too easy to just down tools and go and join in with whatever is happening that day. Problem is that I would only end up having to make up the hours somewhere. It defeats the point of slacking off if you end up working harder to make up for it later!
Plus I miss the drive home on occasion – this was time to put a divider between work and home life; a chance to reset before going back into parental mode. There’s only so long that you can drag out the journey down the stairs before returning to the reality of a childcare weary mum awaiting your return so she can have a break from being the sole parent-in-charge.
Now all of this might sound like I’m complaining, but the reality is that I wouldn’t change my situation for the world. I’m lucky to be able to spend so much time with my little family, watch them grow up and be a part of their lives at such a young age. I missed so much of my eldest children growing up so it makes all of the difference to be able to be more involved second time around.
So I’ll carry on with my routine, wandering into my little office in the spare room at 9, wearing my leisure wear, sometimes unshowered, often unkempt, clutching a cup of tea and surrounded by pictures of my children until 5.
What a way to make a living…