Working at home: 'Mommy, why is that man yelling?'
Web Worker Daily posted a fun tipsheet on managing kids in the home office. The piece targets the work-at-home high-tech telecommuter, but the advice just as readily applies to any of us who occasionally work - or blog - from home. (Like I'm doing now.) What I loved about the posting is that it gives working parents permission to let their kids into their work spaces, and even encourages us to let our bosses/clients/associates know what we're doing when appropriate.
Now, I suspect I'm veering dangerously close to territory well trod by Babble's Bad Parent column, but I will confess to resorting to some questionable tactics to keep my kids at bay while I'm trying to work. To be sure, I try only to work at home when my sitter is on duty or when the children are asleep, but sometimes work calls at inopportune times. I've put the kids, ages 3 and 1, in front of the TV - only educational programming and Jim Cramer's Mad Money ("Mommy, why is that man yelling?") - so that I could file a story. Once, when my youngest was about five months old, an elusive executive I had been trying to reach finally called on a day I was off work. I put her in that exer-saucer contraption, which she loathed, for 20 minutes while I took the call. I'm sure it wasn't my best moment -- as a professional or as a mother.
Readers: What do you do to distract your little ones if you must work while home alone?
I'm another journalist trying to write a column at home each morning while a 4 year old sits glued to Britain's CBeebies Kids TV and my one year old climbs, drools and sometimes deposits masticated bits of finger food all over the clothes I'm supposed to wear to work. Frankly - it's no less civil than some newsrooms I've encountered.
Even though I can work from home; it was grounds for dismissal if I kept my pre-school age children there. You cannot concentrate 100% on your work if small children are there. I was just glad to be 10 minutes away from them instead of an hour. I had to maintain a professional environment with no distractions. Perhaps someone to come in to keep the kids occupied a few hours a day would help.
I admit to using candy when absolutely necessary. I know, I know - Bad Parent for sure. In my defense, I work from home full-time and have a full-time sitter. My kids eat healthy most of the time, and I am obsessive about them brushing their teeth. Still, when I am stuck, I have been known to load them up with popcorn, skittles and Starburst. I had my 8-year-old home once so that he could hold my screaming baby during my extremely urgent 10am call! Terrible, I know....but it only heppened once, and we took him to school right after that (he has straight As, and I figure he learned a little bit about responsibility and parenting LOL).
Food and DVD's. A bag of popcorn and the latest Pixar flick can go a long way with a 3 year old. I'm not particularly proud of that fact, but 1 hour of mild neglect for 8 hours of close proximity to my children, plus no commute is a good trade.
My 16 month old daughter loves to watch Mad Money. Booyah!
Baby Einstein Videos and free reign to terrorize the house....that works. Very hard though, but as many have said, it beats full time daycare and a commute. Children need a parent home, so I'm all for a little give and take.
stephanie, you rock!
I just have my wife look after them ;)
Ahhh the wonders of a two parent household. 1 breadwinner, 1 caregiver.
i think the fact that the writer of the column wrote:
"Once, when my youngest was about five months old, an elusive executive I had been trying to reach finally called on a day I was off work. I put her in that exer-saucer contraption, which she loathed, for 20 minutes
the sentence is confusing, leading readers to wonder if the writer put the executive in the exersaucer or the five month old. the writer clearly cannot juggle working from home or otherwise, her writing would have more clarity.
I occasionally have to telecommute in the winter when the snow is too much to bear in the commute--or worse, snow days--or when any of my three kids are ill. My employer is very flexible on that one; part of our work-life balance policy.
When I have my kids at home (they are pre-teens), they are often on their Nintendo DS game devices or are doing arts, crafts and creating chaos in my kitchen. They know that I am working, but that doesn't stop them from trying to get my attention.
Telecommuting is not for me 100% of the time; I need to interact with adults. The workplace is a sanctuary for me from my kids who are constantly demanding my attention. But, when there are issues, such as illness, telecommuting is a nice option.
I work from home 100% of the time (I'm in one state and the business for which I work is in another state.). I'm not ashamed to say that I use Noggin to get done what I need to. Lots of great educational programming on there.
A lot of times it's just background noise for my daughter. All of her playthings as well as her bedroom are upstairs where my office is and she has run of the area. She'll see something that catches her attention (like Diego or Wonder Pets), watch for a few minutes, and then start running around playing again.
It helps that I'm not chained to my desk - it's not a strict 8-5 schedule - so I can take mini breaks and play with her.
I love that I'm able to be at home with her (and my son before her - he just started kindergarten) and still work at the job I've been at for the past 12 years.
Fed my 10-month baby food to keep his mouth occupied while taking a 15-minute conference call from my boss.
I agree that it's a balancing act. I've been working from home since my daughter was 3, or really even before. I took 2mo maternity leave and then worked from home for 2mo. Had the baby swing in the room with me, but that was a long 2 mo. From age 3 to present she's been is preschool/school, but is always there in the afternoons. When she was 3 we were in the same room with PBS and lots of toys & arts & crafts. Now that she's 11, I do shut the door. My major rule is upon opening the door do not come in screaming at the top of your lungs, like I'm home and I really need to pee, or can Carla come over after I do my homework? Please try to see if I'm on the phone. I'm a travel agent and mostly on the phone, talking or on hold. She's pretty responsible now and I even allow friends to come over, which actually makes it easier as they entertain themsleves better together. I really love that I can have this option. I get to go to school functions and if not busy take her to the pool or other things that I could not if I was stuck in the office.
I work exclusively from home.I was on the phone with my largest account when my 2 year old wandered into my office. He was in need of a diaper change and had already undone one of the velcro fasteners to help daddy. The contents were ready to overflow.I quickly laid him gently on the floor next to my chair and held him with one hand while passing him objects from my desk to keep him occupied. This went on for fifteen minutes. My client never picked up on my struggle,(to breathe). Of all the positions I have held in life the one of "daddy" is still the most demanding and fulfilling. We still laugh about that one.
I don't think that you should criticize the clarity of the author's writing when you don't seem to have any idea when and how to use capital letters.
Whether working at home or bringing my kids to the office with me on the weekend, a whiteboard and a bunch of multicolored dry erase markers allows for up to an hour of silent worktime. Walmart sells whiteboards for $15. :)
When I have to work from home I usually just lock the kids in a closet.
I give them a book. ( really exciting huh?) They love books. My oldest Emily, age 6, loves reading "Irish Fairy Tails" by Joseph Jacobs, and the baby Olivia, 18 months, loves flipping through my glossy cookbooks...saying ummmmm.
Well, there you have it. They don't have ADD because they only watch about 2 hours of TV/DVD/Computer a week. The best advice is not to start a bad habit with kids. Oh and no I'm not one of those super parents, I just had a lot of books around and forgot to turn on the TV. I like peace and quiet. We converted the garage into a playroom and this cuts down sound as well. Don't get me wrong...pitter patter of feet and laughter is fine, but screeching and everything else gets on my nerves.
I'm an editor and one day, I found myself with a houseful of several children (only two were mine) while my wife took her mom to the hospital. Meanwhile, I interviewed a CEO of a firm involved in a breaking story.
I had no way to distract the children and unfortunately conducted the interview from home with one of the children pulling on my leg, yelling, "Aunt Cliff! Aunt Cliff..."
Needless to say, I took some ribbing about that. The CEO was good natured about it, though. :)
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