For a lot of people, working at home seems like the ideal set up and I have to admit there are a lot of luxuries. You don't have to spend money commuting or buying lunches, you can pretty much wear whatever you want as long as you don't have a video conference, you get to work however and wherever you want to, and your schedule is much more flexible than it would be otherwise. There are downsides, though, especially if you have little people running around demanding their share of your attention. It can be easy to forget about all of the great perks when you are knee deep in deadlines and stressed to the max.
Daycare for my kids would cost more than I make each month, so I keep them home with me every day and it's definitely a challenge. Being able to write and do what I love makes me feel incredibly fulfilled, but my kids give fewer than zero shits about that. They want their Goldfish crackers and they want them now! Keeping everyone happy and still doing the best work I can is a careful balancing act, and I'm sure that's something to which every working parent can relate. Here are seven of the hardest things about being a work-at-home parent:
1. You're always doing 7 things at once
There aren't enough hours in the day to separate everything out, so you are constantly busy and only ever giving a tiny portion of your attention to anything you're doing. Sure, maybe you just accidentally filled a baby bottle with coffee, but you noticed before anything bad happened. Nothing to see here. Look away.
2. There's no time to eat
Meals pretty much happen in front of the computer, if at all. I never understood the whole "I forgot to eat" phenomenon, but now I totally get it. Oh, also I'm hungry. All the time.
3. Everything is always a mess
The toys. The clutter. The utter insanity. You do what you can to clean up after yourself and keep the kids entertained, but let's be real here: if anyone comes over unannounced, you're screwed.
4. Your kids watch way too much television
You try to find other ways to entertain them, but if it gets to be the middle of February and there's 14 inches of snow on the ground and you've exhausted the blocks and coloring supplies? Um, yeah. Bubble Guppies it is. You can always read them extra books at bedtime to make up for rotting their brains half the day.
5. Your kids need all the things
The second you get busy your kids will decide they have emergency needs that must be met NOW. These "emergencies" will include things like getting that toy that haven't touched in 5 months off the highest shelf or making their 78th snack of the day. These things are obviously very important and much crying will ensue if they are not handled immediately.
6. You constantly look like a complete slob
I get up early to get a jump on my projects before the kids wake up, and I don't mean to stay in my pajamas until lunch time, but sometimes it just sort of happens. The other day I had a video call so I put on some make-up and my daughter looked at me in total confusion and said, "Mom, why'd you decorate your face?"
7. There is no one around to ask for help
When everything is out of control, the kids are screaming, and the deadlines are piling up, you are pretty much shit out of luck. There is no one around to pick up the slack or grab something for you real quick. You just have to take it one thing at a time and hope you don't self-destruct. You're the boss-ish! You've got this (sort of)!