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School Holidays - How I Don't Work From Home

By Yvette Vignando - 11th January 2011

I have cheated a bit in this blogpost title. I do work from home, and I work from home during the school holidays. This makes me feel very lucky and sometimes very frustrated. It's quite challenging to make working from home work during the school holidays.

Like most parents working from home, my frustration comes from wanting to still be productive at work in spite of needing (and wanting) to be more present as a mother. As I write this blogpost, Mr 9 is coming in and out of my office asking for help with a puzzle book, Mr 13 and his friend are playing a very talkative game in the adjoining loungeroom and Mr 15 is on the prowl for more food.  Every now and again I take a long break from the office and play with Mr 9 or make endless amounts of food or throw another load of washing in the machine. It is distracting and it makes me less productive but it's also a great privilege, I think.

Some of the challenges for me:

  • The house is way messier (it's never anything near pristine by the way) so I have to let my houskeeping standards drop way below their already low baseline ;
  • It takes twice as long to write an article or a blogpost, perhaps three times as long;
  • I have to commune with the washing machine far more often than I want to; and
  • It's so much harder to sound professional on a work call when I have my back holding the office door closed as Mr 9 tries to quietly break his way in and use hand signals to request more food.

On the other hand, I get to see my kids' friends and have them over for visits, I don't have to send the children to holiday camps and our kids get to truly relax at home and even learn what to do when they are bored. I am a great believer in letting kids sort themselves out when they get bored instead of always jumping in with activity suggestions. It may just be our kids but they seem to find very creative ways of entertaining themselves after they break through the boredom threshhold (yes, sometimes too creative ... ).

To make the long summer holidays work for me I make sure that we have a proper long family break and some smaller breaks scheduled and I take breaks during the day to give the kids some undivided attention - I admit that I fail on this last one occasionally but writing this blogpost has reminded me to be more disciplined about it.

I would love to hear from you about your strategies for being able to make working from home work during the summer holidays. Please share your tips.


Comments (2)

One task wonder

I've been at home with Mr 7 and the added distraction of a newborn these holidays and I can safely say my productivity has plummeted to new lows!

I have tried to cull my usually unrealistically long to-do list to one or two tasks which I can tick off at the end of the day, even if it takes me 4 mini sessions to get it done. And even then sometimes I fail.

The best tip? It's holidays, time with our kids is precious so let's not beat ourselves up. Another Tim Tam and game of Monopoly anyone?

Divide and conquer

I'll admit it; I've been marking myself as a failure at this, these school holidays.

I set myself the task of one unit of study over the holidays, knowing that being home alone with the boyo for six weeks was going to make doing more than that a recipe for insanity.

Even this much has been more challenging than I want to admit. Confession: I am a person who prefers to work in silence. If I'm writing creatively, despite being a music lover I rarely listen to anything. The needs of my boyo, to talk and share and interact with me, to ask for food and company and play, are totally distracting - and totally necessary for his wellbeing.

Unfortunately, my peak brain time is daytime, so studying and writing at night are not good for me either. Juggling these competing needs is hard. Really hard. I've got to feel like a bad mama and a bad student on most days.

I got my come-uppance; the boyo went away to stay with his dad for a few days, which has been turned into a week and a half with the flooding around here. Think I got incredibly productive? Well, yes, I have got more done, but all I can think about is wanting my boy back home.

I think he'll make it home today. And I'll manage my juggle somehow, for the rest of the holidays, just for the knowledge that I can hug him whenever he or I want. x
Submitted by Tracy Rudd

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