Working at Home? You Can’t Have it All

artwork by Mother and Three Sons – click for info

Most people will agree that being a mother is work. Children are a blessing, and we love them very much, but sometimes they are pretty inconvenient. Especially if you, like me, are that hybrid of the stay at home mother and the working outside the home parent, the work at home mum.

Last night my husband and I sat down to watch a movie. Its run time was 1:30. It took us 3 hours to finish it. Why? Because of the little people who live in our house. They ebb and flow around us, asking questions, and for help with the potty and the light switch, and cutting up an apple, and so on, and on. This is life with three children under 6, and we are used to it, and we enjoy it most of the time.

Today I sat down to sew. And what should have taken 1 ½ hours took three. I got cranky and frustrated. This morning while I was writing this post my baby crawled under the desk and flipped the switch on the surge strip (it does have a blinking red light in the switch, so, really, who could blame him?), prompting a small tantrum (from me) and a rewrite.

I felt happy and relaxed after finishing the oft interrupted movie; I felt frustrated and snappish when I was done with my sewing. The difference was I planned for the interruptions in the movie; I didn’t plan on any while I was sewing. I wanted to get in the zone and stay there. But you know what? I can’t have it all.  I cannot be at home with my kids full time and work full time at the same time.

I have chosen a compromise and I need to own it.

The interruptions my kids cause are a normal part of being a work at home mother.

So what will happen if I start viewing the interruptions my children create in my work schedule as expected and routine? Start estimating the time that projects will take including interruptions? Start scheduling my work around them instead of the other way around? I don’t know yet, but I am certain it will be better than what I am doing now.

What I don’t get is, why has it taken me so long to figure this out?

7 thoughts on “Working at Home? You Can’t Have it All

  1. Haha, my ELEVEN year old just pulled the same power-strip trick with me while I was working, except with his foot. And when I looked at him with that befuddled ‘why the heck did you just do that’ face, he just threw his hands up and said, sorry, I couldn’t help it, it felt like it would flip, and I couldn’t resist the urge to make it flip! Of course a lecture from me ensued, but I settle down when I realized nothing was lost that I couldn’t get back and that this is the cross I have to bear by having my child at home with me while I work!!!

  2. Haha! yes, I totally get what you are talking about here. I kinda work at home, well I blog and I craft a little, but I do sell my crafts. So I kinda work at home. But I have just finished working outside the home and I will take working at home any day! Unfortunately, with kids around they are going to want to be with you and annoy you. The only quiet time you can be assured of is when they are sleeping! I have 4 kids, 11, 9, 6, 3. I used to do the kinds of things I didn’t want to be interupted with at night when they were in bed, or during nap time, because I learnt quickly that as soon as you don’t want them to bug you, they will!! The only problem with this is you tend to stay up way to late! Eventually you work it out and the only think you can take away from it all is that you spend quality time with the kids because unfortunately they do grow up fast, I have an 11yo and I can’t believe it!! Good luck:)

  3. I’ve worked from home for the past ten years – since my oldest was 9 and my youngest was 7. Work = corporate day job/home office. Work = 2 creative businesses. I love the flexibility that I have. If I have a project due, I know I can work at night if I have to. I work weekends, yes, all weekend. I work nights, knitting and creating jewelry. I work all the time. Is it worth it? Every second of it. I’ve been home with my kids while they grow up. When they were younger – they didn’t have to go to after-school programs because I wouldn’t get home until almost 6. I create my work schedules around them. I love it.

  4. Wow. This post REALLY hit home for me today. As the summer comes to a close for this work-at-home mom, I’ve started feeling really frustrated at my kids (10 & 7) for demanding so much of my time. But in the end, I made the decision to work at home, so my perspective has to change. I have to own it…and we’ll probably all be happier for it! Thanks so much for the reminder.

  5. Thanks SO much for this honest and REFRESHING post!! I’ve been working to embrace this attitude myself. Cause being here with my kids is what I’m committed to but I’m 100% committed to my business also.. it is SO hard to get the two to jive but with the RIGHT ATTITUDE it is possible!! :) Oh, how I’d love to sit down with you for a cup of coffee :)


  6. It is SUCH a balancing act, isn’t it? I homeschool my kids, in addition to running my little biz, so I often feel as though my work is the interruption, not the other way around. I’ll freely admit, I’ve sacrificed a LOT of sleep in order to keep all my many balls in the air.

    What keeps me sane is outsourcing. I hate the housework, so when I can afford it, we hire help. When we can’t, my husband and I work hard to keep the chores as evenly divided as possible. I’m also looking at hiring a mother’s helper for a day or two a week, so that I can get some uninterrupted work time. I look at it as a business expense.

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