This one has been a learning experience of mine. When you make the transition from the daily grind of the nine-to-five, to now working at home, it’s like two worlds collide. It’s chaos, it’s anarchy I tell you! When you’ve got rugrats, that is. But it doesn’t have to be so crazy, and it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here’s some of the biggest aggravation factors, and how you can completely avoid them to continue being an attentive father, and guide your children while earning a living in the next room.
Aggravation: Inability To Work For More Than Five Minutes
This one is geared towards those with little ones. Depending on how old your kids are, they’ll be out with their friends or doing their own thing, right? At least, more often than toddlers and five-year-olds are. Aside from the occasional playdate or trip to the grocery store with mom, you’re not going to see a great deal of time dedicated to your at-home task.
I’d like to point out, that in the middle of writing this article, I had to use our worn-out carpet shampooer to absorb a cup of milk out the rug in my office.
Between spills, crying fits and hoping that they somehow still didn’t break the television, where can you find time to actually work from home? You’ve got an office; you’ve got a computer—it’s the only way to work from home that, well, works. How do you combat it?
Solution: Setting A Schedule
You came from the nine-to-five grind, right? You’re not stranger to scheduling. Well, this practice exists for a reason. You were balancing work and life before, but now, you’re ten steps away if there’s an urgent need, or if your little one starts walking. You don’t have to view your child’s lives through smartphone videos. Set a schedule. Talk it over with your wife or childcare provider. Make it concrete, so you can work in a concentrated format, and still have time to be a dad.
Aggravation: Finding Time For Phone Calls
They’re a part of life, especially when it comes to work. When your son’s tapping a baseball bat against your knee, and you just say you have to make that one phone call, you’re shifting more in favor of work than actually living.
Solution: Flip Off The Phone
I don’t mean literally… you know what, that’s my fault. Poor choice of words. Put the phone in your desk drawer, in the fridge; anywhere. Go out and play ball with your kid for a few minutes, and get them used to your new at-home life as well. Let them know you’ll be come-and-go between your office and their time. They’ll feel valid that you’re listening, and you’ll be balancing like a master.
Aggravation: Your Office Looks Like Your Home
I don’t know about you, but when I need to get some work done, I don’t want the office riddled with toys and such. Whether you step on G.I. Joes, trip over a firetruck or find a pouch of squeezable applesauce spread across your carpet like an oil slick from James Bond’s ride, it can get pretty frustrating.
Solution: Let Them Be Little
Work comes and goes; industries fall and rise with the ride. Your children don’t. Instead of kicking them out of your office, pop down and drive that firetruck through the applesauce. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll demand you clean the toy off, though.
It’s a matter of balance, and it’s not always easy. There are going to come days that you can’t get away from your desk, (or don’t want to,) and that’s completely okay. Let those squeeze in between the good days, where you take them out for ice cream at 10:00 AM (I’m not judging you, but they might if you don’t get them the damn ice cream. Hustle, man!)
Let them be little. When they’re old enough that their friends are their lives, and school overtakes their free time, you may still be working this same job. You may not be. From a job, you have three lines on a resume. From your children, you have memories that can’t be beaten. Not by a longshot.