Thursday, 13 February 2014
The working parent dilemma
So while she plays with her toys, I'm sat here typing this, albeit slowly and often deleting things when she hits a duff key.
And it's got me thinking, how many of other parents work like this? I'm guessing a lot.
In my life before Pip, if I had to work from home I had the entire day, undisturbed to do whatever needed doing. My working from home days were often more productive than my 'in the office' days. With no one to chat to and no one to interrupt you with various requests, you could get a lot done.
Working with a child in tow is sort of similar, in that I'm technically working from home..but that's about it.
The time I keep however can never be predicted.
Whereas before there used to be five and a half hours of work a day, there's now anywhere between three (a very good day) and nothing getting done at all (not such a good day). And the time you get isn't consecutive either. Two hours worth of work can take an entire day to do.
For example, I may have half an hour in the morning, an hour if she has a nap in the afternoon, fifteen minutes while she has her afternoon snack and another fifteen when Daddy gets home.
The point is you really have no idea if and when you'll be able to get things done so you're on high alert all day in case an opportunity presents itself.
Take today, Pip had a rare afternoon nap so during that time I did some sewing, checked my measurements again, ordered some findings and did a quick search for some alternative fabric suppliers. Not bad for one hour.
Likewise if the sun comes out and photos need to be taken, everything I need is laid out, ready and waiting so I can take advantage of the short time. Pip is plonked in front of Sarah and Duck for ten minutes and usually that's all I need to take the shots. Editing will then be done that evening once she's tucked up in bed. You get the idea. You make the most of the opportunities you get, when you get them.
I hate working this way. It goes against my preferred way of working which is very organised and structured. I like to plan what I'm going to do the night before and get it done one task at a time.
However I've tried all sorts of tactics since starting this business and in the end I've realised that this is just the way it has to be. For now at least.
Are any of you in a similar situation? Do you work whilst trying to entertain a child or *gulp* children at the same time? And if so, how the bloomin' heck do you manage it? In fact if anyone out there, with or without kids, has any tips you think I could benefit from then please do share. I'll welcome them all!
In the meantime, I'll continue to do a little here, a little there, I'll flit from one thing to another and try not to stress about it. And when she needs me, I will put it all down and give her my attention because that's the way it should be.
And during the days when the going is really tough, I'll remind myself that all of this is still in a state of flux and will look very different again a year from now. I'll look back and be glad that I was able to start my business surrounded by Cloud Baby toys with my precious girl's hand wrapped around my thumb.
EDIT: as if the point of this post needed proving further, it's taken me three days to finish writing this.
Although she didn't hold my hand the whole time.