There are small people in my office.
They have stolen my pens and printer paper.
They would quite like me to vacate my seat at the computer as well – not so they can play with me, but so’s they can have the PC to themselves.
They bellow at me to provide snacks, even though I am in a different room with the door shut, and their father is standing right next to them.
In the near distance, more small people are roaring.
Welcome to the school holidays.
Last week the news was full of babies in offices, as if that might be the solution to the work/childcare conundrum.
I don’t agree with this at all – I think it’s a bad idea for everyone involved. Looking after a small child is a full time job in itself – to suggest otherwise is an insult to millions of professional child carers and stay at home parents. Plus I looked after my babies for the first year with no childcare whilst also working and it was frickin tough.
But for older children, un-babies if you like, it’s more manageable. And if you work from home, you have to find a way to make it happen. So how does that work in practice?
- Lay it on the line with the kids
Listen kidders, this is the deal – I need to be able to get my work done. If I can’t get my work done then you will have to go to Holiday Club. The worst thing about Holiday Club is that it’s held in your actual school. So you can get your own drinks and snacks from now on. I think we have a deal.
- Don’t ignore the fact that it is actually the holidays
Allow yourself time off for good behaviour too. Let your children know when you will be able to give them your attention, so they don’t just feel abandoned to go feral. Also lobbing sweets at them sometimes helps.
- Play games
I particularly favour: Let’s see who can keep quiet for the longest, Sleeping Zombies and The Cup of Tea competition (winner gets to make me a cup of tea).
- Get up early
At times I have packed in the best part of a day’s work before The Offspring have even cranked up the volume on CBBC. The down side of this is that I’m fit to pop by 8pm, when they are just getting revved up.
- Send them outside to play
With a winning combination of Swingball, chalks and skateboards, plus a trail of sweets to get them out there.
- Find a hole to hide in
The good thing about wifi is that it works even if you’re in the cupboard under the stairs. Do this well enough and by the time they’ve found you, you’ll have got all your work done for the day and be free to play Swingball.
Multiply the above by six weeks and that’s your working from home summer sorted.