Last night introduced me to a new level of parenting. At about 12.30pm hubby and I were awoken by missy crying. Hubby got up as I snuggled back in to bed, ready to drop off as he took the first of the night wakings (usually a unicorn, but this week it has been a regular occurrence). However, instead of the usual cuddle or toilet break I heard hubby go, “OK, we’ll just change your top.” When they didn’t rush to the toilet I realised it wasn’t a code brown situation. I heard cupboards opening and closing and got up to give missy a cuddle, with hubby telling me that she had vomited all over her bedclothes, all the way through her mattress protector. Poor love. We cleaned her, and put her straight back to bed.
Related: Why mums don’t take sick days
Less than an hour later we were up again, with missy insisting she needed to go to the toilet. After 10 minutes sitting on the potty with her head drooping onto her chest we went to go back to bed. As I lifted her up to put her back to bed she whimpered, before vomiting all over herself. “It’s OK,” I said, cuddling her close to me as she vomited again and again, and again. The two of us were covered head to toe in vomit. It was without a doubt the most disgusting thing I have encountered as a parent, but I’d rather have cuddled her than have her vomit on her own on the floor.
So it is that we find ourselves at home today. After a session like that I couldn’t take her to childcare. With hubby recently having a week off work it made sense to me that I was the one to stay home. “I can just work from home,” I said to hubby. He agreed, and headed off to the office. Little did I know!
So, missy is flat, but not so flat that she doesn’t want to play. My attempts at putting a movie on for her did not work. She won’t eat. She won’t sit still, yet she’s sensitive enough to want me to do everything with her. “Play with me Mummy.” “Sit with me Mummy.” Who am I to refuse? So, the work is suffering. Do I feel guilty? Not really. I could have just as easily called in a carer’s day and not done anything at all, so they’re getting something out of me. In saying that, next time – we all know there will be a next time – I’m not even going to pretend I can work from home.
I am constantly amazed at people who work from home with kids. How do they do it? Is it just that my kid requires more attention than others, or has a shorter attention span? Does it only work when there are siblings to entertain the younger child? I once had a boss who would only let parents work from home if they could demonstrate they had a carer for their child. I used to think that was harsh. Now I think it is smart.
So, working from home with a two-year-old looks a little different. I started work at 7ish, working for an hour or so until missy awoke. Then I got in maybe 45 minutes while she had breakfast and I coaxed her with Peppa Pig (feeling like parent of the year).
After that, all bets were off. Apart from the occasional email, nothing was getting done until nap time. Fortunately, nap time was early and long today. Still, not exactly a full 7.5 hours. In saying that, it’s better than nothing and, let’s face it, most people aren’t fully productive on a Friday afternoon so I think I’ve done well. In fact, I’d argue I got as much, if not more, done as I would were I in the office.
However, I think it will be a long time before I consider working from home as part of my working week. It might save in childcare costs, but I’m not sure doing a 15-hour day just to get your hours up is worth the few dollars it will save in the process!
If you work from home with a toddler – and actually get work done – I’d love to hear how you do it! Let me know.