Kids and Working at Home

6 Aug

Earlier today a friend of mine in the Thirty Day Challenge sent me a link to a post from emomsathome.com called “94 Way to Keep Kids Busy for the Work at Home Parent.”

At first, I thought, “oh, cool. Parents can always use that kind of information.”

But as I read the article, I ended up with an entirely different feeling. The article seemed more like a list of ways to park children in another room with no parental contact, like “out of sight, out of mind” almost.

That left me feeling quite disturbed, especially as a work at home parent myself. With 4 of my own ranging in age from 3 to and 13 as well as 3 step-children (ages 11 to 13), I know how difficult it can be for parents to actually get any work done with kids around.

But keeping them at bay with a myriad of activities is not good for them nor you. Sure, there is a time when a bundle of activities is appropriate – that I agree with – but as a daily routine? No way!

I know for me and a lot of other wahp (that’s work-at-home-parents), the whole premise of working at home is to BE WITH our children, not send them off to another room or outside – alone. To that end, we work early mornings and late evenings when the kids are sleeping.

During those times when I really must have peace and quiet during the day, I do have an office in our home where I can sit with the door closed. But for the most part, I am in the main area of the house or outside – right in the thick of things. And the kids can chat with me or whatever while I’m working.

I take breaks throughout the day to help them with things, watch cartoons, play games, or whatever else they want to do. And we always eat lunch and have snacks together. Because let’s face it, sometimes we need breaks too. And I find that if I schedule in there WITH THE KIDS, we’re all much happier.

And as for taking a PDA type device or blackberry type phone to the park or the zoo or whatever – I say hell no! Not on your life will you catch me with such a thing. I may take my laptop to diddle around with or use for listening to music as we’re at the park or whatever but very rarely to work unless we’re going to be gone for several hours and there’s work I must get done on deadline.

But 99% of the time, if I’m out with my family, I’m out with my family. I’m there, 100% heart, body, mind and soul. My family knows they have my undivided attention . . . and that’s the most important part.

There’s a saying that goes something like “be fully present in whatever you’re doing” and that’s especially important with kids. They know when your mind is elsewhere.

Let me tell you a little secret – if your kids know that when you’re with them at the park or doing a family activity, that you are really and fully present in the moment with them, they’ll be much better behaved and self-entertaining when it’s time for mommy or daddy to work at home.

Use those moments outside of your work for something other than working and you’ll be much happier and more productive too. Life is a two-way street. Show yourself and your family as well as your clients or customers that you truly care by taking care of things that matter – play when it’s playtime and work when it’s worktime.

~Annie (lsandrsn on the forum)
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3 Responses to “Kids and Working at Home”

  1. Lily August 6, 2007 at 11:05 pm #

    I like your web. When I can I’ll visit it.

  2. maliha11 August 7, 2007 at 6:18 am #

    I remember my friend told me while she was an exchange student in the US that her host sister who had three beautiful boys from ages 2 – 7 years had her all worked up, and very tightened up in her timings that she used to at times lose it and ask my friend to help her with her work where they both used to stay till 3 am trying to help each other out.

  3. Annie August 7, 2007 at 7:10 am #

    That doesn’t sound good. There’s definitely a balance to working at home with kids underfoot.

    If you try to pack too much into the day, it can lead to trouble, and as your friend found out, staying up til all hours to get done what you need to get done.

    However, there are times when your business calls for it. Just remember that you must take care of yourself first. When you take care of yourself, it allows you the health, energy and mental fortitude to be able to handle everything else productively.

    ~ Annie

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