“Mum, what are you doing?”
“What are you working?”
“‘On‘, darling. You mean ‘what am I working on?’. Sigh. “I’m writing, buddy.”
“What are you writing?”
Wriggle, huddle, knock, lean….
“Mum, why did you just write ‘f*cking cat’?”
“Don’t look. It’s for grown-ups.”
“Why do grown-ups want to read that?”
“Oh, I don’t know. But I hope they do.”
“I don’t think they will, Mum. It’s not very nice.”
This is what it’s like working from home with children.
Okay, your day job might not require profane prose, but for the last eight weeks, mine has. I’ve been writing a book, and I’ve been doing it at home.
“How lovely,” you say. “That must be relaxing,” you say. “Must be great to see more of the kids,” you say.
Well, look. Working from home has its perks. You don’t have to wear a bra, you don’t have to brush your hair and the fridge is comfortingly close. But the downside is, it’s where your children live.
Zoe Foster Blake knows all this. That’s why, yesterday, she posted this picture. To you, it looks like an empty room with a pleasing fireplace. To me, and any other parent who tries to work from underneath a mountain of muddy cuddles, it looks like nirvana:
Today I leased a nook to work from. A proper, dedicated work space. No more working from cafes! No more telling my son, “If mum can juuust get this bit of work done, we can play!” No more trying to make unsuitable areas of the house (dining table, daughter’s room, garden shed) into a work zone! I used to take pride in the fact I’ve written novels at rickety little tables I found on the side of the street, or at my kitchen bench, but I’m done with that narrative (as it were.) Also I am getting old and my back hurts and I need a proper desk and chair and probably some ugly ergonomic keyboard. Of course, working from home is a privilege and luxury. I know how lucky I am not to have to do the 7am-7pm, suit-n-commute. Working from home while my kids are so young and squishy is something I cherish. However, I now acknowledge that working from home means I do neither parenting, nor work, very well. Because as long as I’m being interrupted by adorable little people, I’ll allow it. They’ll be 14 one day and think I’m a loser: why would I knock back a cuddle when they think I’m wonderful? Alas, a productive day this doth not make. Trying to keep everything balanced is one thing; strapping on skates then throwing oil on the floor is quite another. And as an author on deadline, and someone trying to do Good Stuff with @gotoskincare, I need to treat my work with respect. To be a professional. To honour it, and give it my focus, just as I do with my family and my pet lizards, Knuckles and Biff. If you are fortunate enough to have a career you love, then I reckon you should probably take care of it, just like anything else you love. My goal is to leave behind the staccato, unfocused, half-arsed half-worker half-parent I currently am, and morph into a smug pig who elegantly compartmentalises work, family and writing appropriately. HAHAHAHHAHA! As if. I am totally just gonna lie here eating Redskins and reading Babysitters Club all day.