My Experience as a Work-at-Home Mum

working from home stressed motherI recently came to the conclusion that working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be……

When my boss decided to take a one month overseas holiday, he informed me I would be required to work from home at times during his absence. “This will be great!” I thought wistfully. As a mum of 2 toddlers, I envisaged turning on my laptop in my pyjamas, sipping freshly brewed coffee as I tapped away efficiently at the keyboard, all the while my happy little munchkins playing quietly at my feet.

Oh, how deluded I was.

On day one, the first catastrophe occurred when I tried to turn on the computer and realised my almost-one-year-old was holding the power cord hostage. “Can I have that back please?” I asked hopefully, offering him Winnie-the-Pooh in exchange. A tussled tug-of war-ensued as he reluctantly surrendered the captive cord, only to wail loudly when he realized I wasn’t giving it back. First crisis averted, well somewhat.

I hurriedly answered a few emails, in between handing over sippy-cups of water and sultanas to the still wailing banshee of a child. In time he eventually calmed down and began to playfully clutch Winnie in one pudgy little hand.

“Ahh, this is better”, I thought, as I began to get into the swing of things. After diligently preparing a few reports in between expertly making a cup of tea and wiping a snotty nose, I started to daydream about how uncomplicated it would be to work from home every day, with no dressing up in a tailored suit and no commute. Bliss!

My daydreaming was short-lived however when Miss two-and-a half, perched queen like on her little plastic pink chair, began demanding toasted crumpets. “Mummy’s working sweetie”, I replied through gritted teeth. ”Cwumpets”, cwumpets, cwuuuuuumpets!!!” she began chanting repetitively. “Ok, just a minute!” I caved, utterly exasperated that my 15 minutes of momentum were now down the toilet.

With said crumpets devoured at record speed, she then requested the pleasure of my company for a spot of fun on the trampoline. I considered politely explaining that after having 2 babies within 2 years, mummy’s pelvic floor just isn’t what it used to be. Instead I smiled sweetly and replied “Not today darling”.

It was at this moment that the now placated banshee decided he wanted his morning bottle. As he stared up at me with those hungry piercing blue eyes, I prayed silently that he’d stay quiet until all my emails had been replied to.

No such luck.

With the reflexes of a mountain lion he began clawing at my leg like some half-crazed koala, lip quivering uncontrollably at the thought of having to wait 2 WHOLE minutes for his bot-bot to arrive.

I switched off my laptop, swiftly shut the lid and silently accepted defeat. My fleeting career as a working-from-home mum just wasn’t to be.

The following Monday I arrived at the office in my tailored suit after a 50 minute commute and switched on my computer in the calm surrounds of my tidy desk, cup of tea poised in hand. I began to think how lucky I am to have a couple of quiet days a week away from my “other” much harder, more stressful full-time job of motherhood. I may have to deal with the odd demanding deadline, stomping tantrum or unreasonable request at work. But it’s nothing compared to what my real “bosses” expect of me, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all-year-round.