One Nail

This week is Food Allergy Week.  Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia are asking us all to paint one nail as a sign of support to the one in ten babies being born with a food allergy.  So all this week and next week I’m visiting schools and libraries reading my book Marty’s Nut-Free Party.  This morning I’m visiting Broughton Anglican College, tomorrow Pacific Hills Christian School, Thursday I’m at Lane Cove Library Story Time and on Friday I’ll be at Putney Public School.  Next week I’m visiting Randwick and Mowbray Public Schools.  So even though most of the time I live the relaxed, easy-going life of a full-time stay at home Mum (HA HA), the last few weeks I’ve had a little taste of what it’s like to be one of those busy Mums who work from home.

 Based on the week I had last week I think it might be a tad easier to work when you actually go to work.

Let me tell you about my week.  On Monday, Birdy had the day off school with a cold, on Tuesday night she was up vomiting all night, so then she had to have Wednesday off school.  On Thursday morning, hubby got sick and I also discovered that Birdy had cross-country carnival that day.  Somehow I managed to spend almost the entire day down at the cross-country carnival and still managed to miss her actual race!  Molly decided not to take her afternoon nap, so by this time it was Thursday afternoon and I still hadn’t managed to get any work done.  On Thursday night, Molly screamed the house down from midnight until after 3.30 am, so on Friday I was like a walking zombie just trying to clean up the detritus around my home from the week of sickness and sleep deprivation.  On Friday night, I put Molly to bed at 7, hoping to get some work done and after two hours of carry-on she finally fell asleep in my arms sometime after 9.  So by the time I finally sat down at the computer it was 20 to 10 on Friday night.  Seriously?  What’s so great about working from home?  Who wants to work at 10 o clock on a Friday night?

There must be some Mums who manage to make it work.  A lot of mums seem to be running home-based businesses off their laptops.  

It’s definitely easier to work with your kids around now that we have such a proliferation of mobile devices and laptops etc. because you can take your work to the park or out into the backyard.  I hear that there are kids who are quite happy to play while Mum types away, but I don’t seem to have one of those kids.  (It might be easier if I had a laptop!)  I’ve had to master the art of typing one-handed with a baby on my lap because the second I go near our computer, Molly will want to be picked up. And it’s not just when I’m doing ‘real’ work, it’s the same if I start doing housework, or any task that requires two hands.  The exact moment that I start chopping tomatoes or carrots, Molly will want to be held.  Have you ever tried cutting a pumpkin one-handed?  If anyone knows how to chop a pumpkin with one hand, please let me know.

The only time I seem to be able to get anything done is when my kids are in bed.

That’s also the time I want to put my feet up and relax with a glass of wine and an episode of Offspring!

But working at night seems to be the only way I can make it work.  Otherwise I get frustrated and cranky that I’m always being interrupted.  The other problem with working from home is that although I’m physically present, I’m not fully present, because I’m always distracted by what I’m trying to get done.  And that can be true whether you’re running a business at home or just tyring to wash and cook for an army of kids.   How do you stop your work from taking over every available part of your time and energy?  How do you make time just to be with your children?  I know a lot of mums feel guilty about leaving their kids to go off to work, but in some ways it’s almost easier if your work is contained at work and you can just leave it there when you go home.

Do you work from home?  Have you tried running a home-based business?  What are the pros and cons of working from home?  Do you find yourself working odd hours like at 4 in the morning or late at night?  If you work from home, how do you stop it from taking over the rest of your life?

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