What’s it like working at home with kids you say?
When people ask me what I do and where do I work, I say I work from home. The response is usually, wow, that’s great! You get to be at home with your kids. No worries about who’s babysitting them, paying for daycare or dropping them off to a friend or relative. Honestly, I wish it was as great as it sounds. Most days, it is. Some days, it’s literally a curse.
I don’t have my own space –my workspace is is also where my kids throw their toys, sippy cup and snack. Kids know no boundaries. I have a 1-year old and a 3-year old (and a 5-year old finally in school!) so having my hands full is an understatement. My desk is where my kids place their legos after they get done building them, where not only does my water bottle sit, but my kid’s sippy cup and juice boxes.
Where I sit, my kids lay under my office chair by my feet (like any loyal puppy to it’s owner) and occasionally climb up to bang on my keyboard. That’s how it is most days.
I nursed all three of my kids until the age of 1. During that time, my kids would sit on my lap, or I would have one hand wrapped around them as they laid on my arm; while checking email, typing with the other hand and trying to get work done. The. struggle. is. real. When not at my deks, my phone in my right hand became a ritual. I learned to work and be extremely productive on a mobile device as I sit on the sofa nursing and embracing my child with the other hand. It’s amazing what I’ve done multi-tasking.
Here are the perks: no rushing in the morning, no sitting in traffic or dealing with road rage. We save on gas. No need to get the kids ready for daycare or someone else’s home. No packing diaper bags, bottles or extra clothes. No more pumping in dark office closets like I did with my first. No getting up at a certain time. No one to tell you you have to come in when your kid is sick, throwing up, has a fever, runny nose or melt down. We take many breaks. We snack all day. We go outside on sunny days while I sit and watch them run around the backyard with the fence gate closed and I on my laptop squinting at the screen because the reflection from the sun is so bright. Vacations? Anytime, we can afford it.
We take naps, then I wake up after 15 minutes of resting my eyes and get back to work while they get to nap for at least 2 hours. Here is where the magic really happens! I get a mountain load of things done in 2 hours because I know that’s my time. I also do this in the wee early morning as well – on days where I am not so tired I can be up at 5am when my husband is getting ready to go to work and I sit at my desk working until 7am – when my two boys wake up.
By 4pm when my husband is home, my work is pretty much wrapping up too. Maybe I didn’t get a full 8 hours of work like he did, but I got to do so much more and see my children grow, play and care for them. My plate is always full, my glass is always full. On the weekends, instead of sleeping in like most people who work a forty-hour work week, I enjoy waking up early before everyone and finishing up the week’s work while my husband wakes up and washes up the kids, makes breakfast and entertains the kids. By afternoon, I’ve cleared my plate and we get to enjoy the rest of the day as a normal-fully functioning family.
What it’s like working at home with a baby and toddler? It’s freaking crazy and awesome. I am taking in every moment that is great and not-so-great when I throw my hands up in the air and call it a day (and it’s only 10 am). I am counting the days when my kids are grown and I can actually get some peace and quiet. For now, it’s loud, messy and crazy.