Working from home.
In the summer.
With three young, school-aged children in the house.
Is making me crazy.
Snacks, oh the requests for snacks. Non-stop, thanks to their school year schedule which had food going into their mouths every two hours or so . . . as if they’d perish without constant calorie intake (no wonder many American kids are becoming chubby).
As noon approaches, updates on exactly what time it is are delivered to your office door in what seems like 17-second intervals, because the food you allowed them to have 40 minutes ago is a distant memory, and it’s almost noon which means THAT is lunchtime. At the stroke of noon, if you do not drop what you’re doing and race to the kitchen to begin slavishly preparing food, at least one child collapses to the floor in tears, shocked by your unspeakably cruelty.
The insults you bear when you finally leave your desk to make the much-desired lunch only to find that the lunch is half-eaten. (Then you begin to think Mommy Dearest thoughts of serving them the same half-eaten meal when they demand snacks 47 minutes from now.)
The racing of sweaty little people into your office while fleeing an irate sibling –who’s likely been taunted in some fashion – labeling your office “base.”
The never-ending stream of dirty dishes overflowing the sink so much so that if they’re not cleaned after every gorge-fest – consuming precious work time in the middle of the day when you’re most alert and awake – you will no longer be able to find the sink and an army of ants will assert squatters’ rights.
Sticky countertops and floors, even though the last time the kids HAD to eat something, you cleaned the watermelon juice and copious drips from the lemonade popsicles. (“Hey, what are these splotches of black on the floor?”)
Spending an unplanned half-hour in the morning, sweating and swearing profusely in your head, as you are compelled to take apart the CD player because someone who shall remain nameless, jammed a CD into it (a DVD actually), only to find out that you’re no MacGyver and now the thing won’t close.
The fact that food is consumed three times as fast as normal because the growing children are home all the time, thus necessitating more trips to the grocery store with the children in tow (the work-at-work spouse isn’t home until late on many nights) because if you ordered groceries online as frequently as you needed to replenish supplies you’d go broke with the delivery fees which have been hiked due to gas prices.
“Can we watch TV yet?” “No, you have to wait until TV hour, every day at 5. Same as always.” “Come on Mom! How ‘bout computer games? Can we play computer games?” “No! It’s the same as TV. Wait until 5. Now get out of my office and go play outside.” “Computer games aren’t really TV though, if we play them on the computer . . .” “If you don’t go play outside, I won’t let you watch any TV later.” “Mom, how about PlayStation? It’s not the computer or watching TV.”
Promising to take them to the pool -- where you have a family membership -- in the afternoon (if they behave and let you get a smidgen of work finished in an a.m. caffeine-fueled rush) only to have a lightning storm rumble through, prompting the closure of the pool, thus canceling your swimming excursion, thus causing three kids sullenly sulk, blaming you in all your glorious, weather-pattern-altering power for their predicament.
Your spouse who works away from the home in a clean, quiet office -- where people aren’t threatening one another, calling one another names, shrieking, appearing in one’s office every 10 minutes demanding something and then lying down on the floor outside the door when immediate compliance isn’t rendered -- doesn’t seem to comprehend the level of your frustration in being unable to get work done and why you tend to, the moment you hear the garage door opening, dump all child care responsibility onto that person’s shoulders.
Yeah, it’s a blessing to be able to work from home. You get to wear shorts and T-shirts and work on top of your bed, a la the fictional Carrie Bradshaw. You get to take the kids to the pool because you create your own schedule. You don’t have child care or mandatory summer camp costs, particularly in a tight economy. You also get to stay up late working or work weekends when your spouse is home to watch the kids because it’s virtually impossible to work for any large hunk of time when you’re home with small people. You also get to stoke your dependence on caffeinated beverages in order to get your stuff done, thus causing you to seek out stronger and stronger beverages until your heart is pounding hard enough to power a Prius. Working from home in the summer: Good for the caffeine makers AND the environment.