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Living the Dream... Working from home

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Imagine taking your kid to your workplace with you, you know like in the American sit coms… Take your kid to work day, I’ve always thought how cool that would be.

Imagine taking your kid to your workplace with you, you know like in the American sit coms… Take your kid to work day, I’ve always thought how cool that would be.frazzled mum So just for giggles, lets up the ante and then imagine taking your baby too. Try talking to important suppliers on the phone with a toddler hanging off your skirt, greeting a client in a professional scenario when the baby starts bellowing at top volume. Concentrating on a serious project with a deadline and being constantly interrupted by requests for food, playtime and just general attention. Having a baby and a toddler is a full time job in my opinion, taking them to work with you takes it to the next level. Then imagine doing it every day.   Every. Single. Day. Sounds like fun? Or does it sound like a nightmare? To me it sounds like a special type of hell, yet many, many women do this on a daily basis, they just call it working from home. I have done this for ten years and each time I speak to someone (usually pregnant) who states.. , I loli. Yep loli, it stands for laugh out loud internally. t be polite to laugh in their face. Because, before you do it, it seems like the easiest thing in the world, and to boot, the total solution to earning, being present for your child, without the prospect of exorbitant child care fees.

The Reality A guy I have known for 20 years muttered this phrase about two and a half years ago, needless to say I loli’d. He’s a web developer and works on really complicated corporate sites. He often spends hours in complete silence trying to write intense blocks of really mental code. Seems like a perfect job to have whilst looking after a baby right.

Well it wasn’t too bad when she was a baby, except for the great big blocks of time where she wouldn’t settle, when she was sick, or just needed comfort. The really fun stuff started to happen when she began to move around a bit.

Toddler keyboard tinkering deleted massive blocks of code, toddler melting down in the background put off many potential clients, and my personal favourite, the iphone dunk. He literally told me, “sorry I haven’t been in contact, Princess put my iphone down the crapper”.

These are setbacks that aren’t easily recovered from and facing people that you have made commitments to with these situations is an amusing anecdote initially, but when you are trying to be taken seriously in business, it soon becomes a bit like the dog ate my homework.

So what is the solution? 

I’ve seen it go one of two ways.

Option A Sometimes I’ve seen a realization happen where after prolonged periods of sitting the child in front of the big black babysitter watching their drug of choice, in my day it was Dora, I believe it is now Peppa, you relent and realize that this is not living the dream of quality time with your child whilst growing your business empire. These kids usually end up in day care a couple of days a week, to give you time to concentrate without constant interruption, and get through the work you need to do quickly.

Option B Option B is to lower your expectations… take life more slowly, quote longer timeframes for work you commit to, and generally work at a slower pace. Sometimes things will go slowly, and sometimes you can surprise yourself and achieve a massive amount. I remember after trying option B for some time, my youngest would have the final word on her neglect and climb under the computer table and simply switch the whole box and dice off at the wall. Not only was this a great game, it got instant attention and threw Mummy back into reality mode… Remember me?

Not long after this I switched to option A.

At the end of the day, it’s your call, no judgment here. Sometimes your livelihood relies on the work, and the money. For others, it’s okay to go at the slower pace. Either way I’m sure you have great work from home stories to share, and remember, next time some expectant parents tell you of their perfect work life balance story, don’t lol, it’s impolite, try to loli instead.

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