Five for Friday: Five Truths About Working From Home with Kids

All the comforts of ... never mind.  [photo credit: M. Dunn]
               All the comforts of … never mind. [photo credit: M. Dunn]

1.       The title of this post is a lie, because you are not really getting work done at home, with kids.

Every so often, a mom glowingly tells me how great it is to have a flexible employment situation, or to work for herself, so that she can jump on the computer while her little ones nap or amuse themselves quietly in their rooms.  That mom is lying.  They are all lying.  You are getting pretty much nothing done until someone gets home to relieve you.  And even then, mom duty calls even if you’re holed away in your home office until dinner time.  Which leads to my next point …


2.       Your “no kids allowed” work area and/or mom cave is a joke.

Har har!  My neatly stacked files are usually in some form of disarray after my kids have been in the house with them for at least 10 minutes or so.  The exception is when I stick them in front of the T.V. so that I can get maybe, like, six minutes of work done.  After checking Facebook and opening tabs in Chrome on all the articles in my newsfeed that I won’t get to read.  And going to the bathroom, because who knows when I’ll be able to do THAT again, in private.  And after scrubbing the bathroom sink after that, because the T.V. is working and it has been so long … and …

Office mate.  [photo credit: M. Dunn]
Office mate. [photo credit: M. Dunn]

3.       Your house will always look like it was hit by a tornado.

When you work from home, people assume that you have plenty of time to clean and keep the house neat while you’re getting work done.  Um, do you wash the windows, vacuum, and scrub the sink at your office, during your regular workday?  Of course you don’t.  If you’re serious about getting work done in your home office, the rest of your home will be neglected during this time.  But with kids in the house, that extra layer of kid clutter—you know, the kind that SPREADS, like a sickness—permeates and dismays the WAHM.  For an extra special touch, add an 18-month-old, like mine, who flashes a gummy grin and looks you straight in the eye while dumping the contents of that stray accordion file.  Heartwarming.


[I was going to insert a photo to illustrate the above point, but the sight of it made me die inside just a little.]


4.       You won’t accomplish nearly as much in one day as you hope to, but you will love having laundry done and dinner prepped.

I had to throw a positive one in here.  Despite what I just said above, let’s face it, you won’t be able to resist the urge to tidy up a BIT during your work-from-home day, at least on days without deadlines.  You rationalize that since you don’t have a commute, you can make up for lost time later.  But that later time will inevitably be spent making things easier for everyone once dinner and the evening routine roll in.  Either that, or it’s cereal for dinner and scraping some semblance of an outfit for tomorrow from the dregs of your closet.  Unless, of course, you plan on working from home again tomorrow, in which case, you’ll just wear whatever it is you’re wearing now.  Because you’ll fall asleep in it, with the baby in your bed.  Oh wait, maybe that’s just me.

If you manage to get dinner done before everyone else walks in the door, it helps if you actually save some of it for the rest of the family.  [photo credit: M. Dunn]
If you manage to get dinner done before everyone else walks in the door, it helps if you actually save some of it for the rest of the family.  [photo credit: M. Dunn]

5.       You will continue to work from home even when you find office space.

Or, again, maybe this is just me, and similarly situated solopreneurs.  My current office requires a highway ride of theoretically 15 minutes that is in reality more like 25 minutes.  It’s a part-time office share, actually, and right now I’m using it more like a virtual office because I never leave client files there.  It’s secure, but I always take work home with me (or more accurately, cart it over there and then bring it back home again), because I never know when I’m going to be back, and I might need that file.  Working from home is just convenient.  I don’t need to dress up, go out for lunch (except when there’s no food in the house, which is fairly frequently), or lose time with a commute.  So I am basically paying for a space to meet clients, to assure them that I’m a real lawyer with a serious practice.


What are your work-at-home truths?  If you did it in the past, and made the switch to a traditional office, what were the challenges you faced, and would you do it again or recommend it to a fellow mompreneur?

6 thoughts on “Five for Friday: Five Truths About Working From Home with Kids

  1. Thanks for this article! Glad I’m not alone. Both my husband and I mostly work from home and we thought between the two of us we should be able to get some work done while watching the kids. WRONG! Even with two of us it was chaos. We ended up hiring a nanny to watch the girls but it was still difficult as they wanted to play with mommy and daddy. Now, they are both in daycare and the chaos has finally calmed down…sort of…


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