Last week I unexpectedly had my preschooler at home with me. It was a work day for me so I had things I needed to get done. We muddled along pretty well, with her entertaining herself for short stretches while I got on with things. The experience made me think about how different it was to when I was trying to work around a toddler.
Toddlers are very distracting
“Mummy, look at this insect I’ve found”, “Mummy, can I have a drink?” “Mummy, I can’t reach my trains” “Mummy, look at this bogey I’ve just picked”. Between showing you everything they’ve done (including the things you’d really rather not see) and their physical limitations, it seems impossible to work undisturbed for more than about 3 minutes at a time.
Everything seems to be sticky
Even though I was always strict about where food was eaten, when I was working around my toddler everything seemed to be coated in some kind of food stuff. If I could identify the food stuff, and not have to worry about it being something even less pleasant, that was a good day.
The emergency siren of “I need a wee!”
Potty training is stressful at the best of times. You have to be ever alert for signs that they need the toilet and when you see those signs it’s Go, Go, Go, weather you’re enjoying a nice cup of tea or on the phone to a potential client.
They want to “help”
As part of running baby and children’s Nearly New Sales I have to make up the 100 goodie bags that I give out at the sale. This involves creating 100 piles of leaflets to go in each bag. I foolishly thought this was something that my toddler could help with. NEVER. AGAIN. It was chaos. Think of those seems in films where someone comes in to a lot of cash and starts throwing it around. It was like that only with a sticky toddler and leaflets.
I try to get my work done when the children aren’t around (for both my sanity and theirs) but with the best will in the world, some of it has to be done when they are home. This can lead to lots of guilt when you need to make a phone call and they want to show you the tower they’ve just built. The thing to focus on is that when you work from home, they’ll have to wait 10 minutes to show you the tower. If you were out at work, they’d have to wait all day.
While having slightly older children has its challenges, I don’t miss trying to work around a toddler!
Enjoyed this post? Read about other distractions when you’re working from home.