It was such a wonderful dream … we’d start our own business selling children’s cubby houses, and I’d be able to stay at home with the kids. I’d play games with the kids, clean, have wonderful long walks with our dog, have a lovely meal on the table each night AND provide superb customer service for our customers. Yup, that was a great dream …
In reality it’s more like I was a clown juggling in a circus … the kids getting louder and louder wanting my attention, the house never had that “just been cleaned” shine, dinner was whatever I could throw together in 20 minutes, our dog not letting me out of his sight desperate for a walk, and customers – while I think I provided great service, had no idea that while I’m on the phone to them, I was also holding a grumpy child in my other arm about to lose it! Often one of my kids did lose it while I was on the phone – I was very lucky that I was talking to parents who regularly experienced the same thing! There aren’t many industries you could get away with that!
We’ve had our business for 3 years now, we started when our son was 3 and our daughter 1. It was really tough going to start, both kids were at an age when they still really needed all my attention, and I had serious Mum’s guilt that I wasn’t doing anything well. My kids didn’t sleep well at night, so I was just running on empty day and night. I remember times running around the house trying to escape the kids so I could have a “professional” phone conversation with a customer. I would be on one side of the door, and the kids would be banging on the other! Numerous times, sitting at my desk attempting to type on the keyboard in-between the heads of two kids sitting on my knees. I never felt like I was doing any of my “jobs” really well.
My Cubby is growing really well, and it’s getting much easier now as the kids are getting older. Our oldest has started school, and youngest is in kinder 3 days a week. I get to help in our son’s class when I like, and stay and play in our daughter’s kindy. I love that I can drop them off and pick them up every day – I am very lucky to have the option to do this. I now have 3 days a week when I can actually just concentrate on the business and attempt to be an actual business woman – sometimes I even wear shoes and not slippers to my “office”!
I am starting to get my head around how I want to make this all work – especially as the school holidays have just arrived. I’m determined not to be a juggling clown for the next two weeks. My kids are going to be my priority. I’m not going to get back these early years when they actually WANT to spend time with me, so I have to make the most of this.
So this is my plan for working from home during the school holidays: I need rules for myself! I’m going to give the kids my undivided attention – play with them and just have fun. My phone will be turned off, and kept in the office while we are playing. For the next two weeks, I’m going to do a maximum of 3 hours business work during the day, and then catch up at night after the kids are in bed (I’m still determined to respond to customers within 24 hours – it just might be at 2am for 2 weeks!). I will have my phone on during periods when the kids are happily engrossed in something else, but if they want me, it’s about them, and the phone gets switched off again. It’s going to be very hard not to have my phone with me all the time, and I’m not sure how I’m going to cope not checking my emails 150 times a day. I secretly think it’s going to be quite lovely (don’t tell anyone though!).
I am very much looking forward to these next two weeks – I hope the kids are going to love it as much as I will, not having a stressed out Mum – and who knows as part of our fun we might get some recipe books out and all create some dinner feasts that take longer than 20 minutes to put together! Working from home with kids is tough, even more so in the school holidays, but I’m determined to make it work. The rewards for us all are so worth it. I hope you find balance in your work/ home life too.
Now that we are well and truly back into the school year and daily grind, it’s easy for parental guilt to sink in.We’re so busy with work, life and endless to-do lists, we’re exhausted, and playing with our kids is not always our top priority. And it shouldn’t always be,
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