I love my children. They are exhausting, challenging and fantastic, all at the same time. I really enjoy spending time with them.
But….I don’t think children and work mix.
I like to keep my work time separate from my children and they go to school and after-school club or nursery when I’m working. Remote working is great because the time I save on travel means I can drop my older children off at school, a luxury I wouldn’t have if I was expected to be at Bath University for 9am.
In the first Ariadne article I wrote on remote working I said
It is also true that there are actually fewer distractions at home than at work, aiding concentration. Those who work alone from home are likely to be in a quieter environment with no colleagues around to chat with, no company coffee breaks and no ‘unnecessary’ meetings. That is, unless they have young children; in which case, reliable, consistent childcare arrangements are indispensable.
I think this has just come back to haunt me!
My husband and I have recently had a bit of a shift around of our working schedules and at the moment I am working 4 days a week (I used to work 3). On the extra day I work my husband looks after the children.
What happens on Thursdays is a new experience for me. I work from home while my children are in the house! I’m not looking after them but they are still there…making a racket, knocking on my door and asking me for things (that really my husband should be sorting out for them). I’m sure things will settle into a routine but it’s been a bit of a strange one. Firstly my husband has had to start acting like the one in control. Now my husband is great…but he’s the complete opposite of me. While I’m a total control freak who likes to ‘get things done’ he just isn’t. Secondly I’ve had to let go, which has actually been really difficult.
Anyway it has been a bit of a learning process for all of us, but we are getting there slowly. I think the hundred times my husband has shouted “Mummy’s at work” has now started to filter through – at least for the older two. (People have suggested putting a lock on the door but this isn’t a prison and the children need to learn to listen to us.) My husband has been pretty good at taking the youngest out. Being the only Daddy at singing group doesn’t seem to bother him. I think he likes the attention!
I guess this is all part of us trying out new ways of working, the whole life/work balance. Although I’ve found things tricky I wouldn’t want it any other way. If I have to work that extra day then the redeeming feature is that we can all have dinner together as a family (not normally possible due to my husband’s hours) and I can at least see their smiling faces during my breaks.
All the arguments and cleaning up….well that’s someone else’s job now!