I remember being young – probably eight or nine years old – and going to work with my mother. Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day was a special day in my household. I would get to take the day off from school and go see what my mom did at her job. I enjoyed being able to see her in action and learn some things that would help me in the future when I would be in the professional world.
If you don’t have any kids, I want to clue you in on something: kids can be great, but they can also be a handful. Especially when you’re working around them. Today, on Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day, I think it’s important to recognize those of us who work around our kids regularly.
ICYMI, I work from home sans a couple days a week, when I come into the office. I enjoy working from home because it gives me flexibility. It’s also nice to be propped up in bed with the laptop instead of sitting at a desk. But sometimes it’s also a breath of fresh air to get out of the house and tackle my work from the office. Either way, though, I’m often surrounded by children.
At home, I regularly have my three kids – ages 11, 9, and 4 – to whom I have to tend. The older two girls bicker with each other (which means I’m playing referee) and the boy is simply young and needs more attention. It seems like there is always something going on and I’m having to get up and down from my computer to handle things. It can be tough.
You would think that coming into the office would be a reprieve, right? Not so much. About half of the time that I come to the office, I have to bring along the 9 year old. All of my kids are ultimately well-behaved, which I’m thankful for, but kids will always need things from their parents. When I bring the middle child to the office with me, I’m having to answer questions about reading time or if she can get on her phone. It feels like it’s always something.
For those of you who are parents that work from home, take a minute to step away from it all and take a breath. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. Lock yourself in the bathroom for ten minutes if you must. Pull yourself away and know that this, too, shall pass. It’s difficult to work with kids around but if you set up a system, you can make it run a bit smoother. Get the kids set up to occupy themselves, then set a timer to check on them. Make meal times into family time; put away the work during lunch. Make sure that, when the day is done, you’re spending quality time together. (They’re less likely to try and get your attention when they feel like they often have it.)
The best thing you can do is talk to your kids. If they’re old enough to understand, explain that you need to get to work done – and why it’s important that you do your job. If your kids are younger, you can still talk to them about needing time to work. They may not understand as well, but it’s a good way to help them understand easier as they get older. Talk it all out as a family and, if possible, let them help you come up with a game plan. Kids can be creative, and they may surprise you.