Staying sane as a Work At Home Parent

I have a confession; I’m mostly a sane work at home parent.

I believe that there are a lot of women and men out there like me clutching onto their sanity while juggling family, daily work requirements, rugby practice, ballet, school meetings, and all the other responsibilities we have.

work at home

If you’ve been a WAHM or Dad for more than a nanosecond, you know the predicament we face. We work from home so we can spend more time with our children and this is great in theory, but what happens is we end up with no defined work time, so it becomes a struggle to spend with our families.

When you hear other people say it must be so nice to work from home so you can spend so much time with your children all day, you either roll on the floor laughing or smiling manically. If only it were this simple! Finding a balance between work and home life can be a constant struggle especially when work IS home.

I remember when I worked out of the home in an admin job. I had two separate and distinct compartments in my life. There was the room, where I could work in peace and be productive. And, then there was home, where I was able to focus on my children and have family fun. I had working hours, and also family time.

Now, I have the home-office melting pot, an odd melding of home and office. The line between the two is unclear. My office is now an extension of the home. And, home is becoming an extension of the office.

Because of this dilemma, I find that I’ve got the focus of a gnat. Here is a snapshot of my work day.

I wake up, grab a tea, and log in to check email. 30 messages!
No problem. Let’s tackle the first.

Dear Sally, I was wondering if you might be interested in…Milk in my sippy cup, pretty please my lovely mummy?

Whoa!! Brain switch! I turn, look at my little girl who just crawled out of bed. I hug this rosy-cheeked cherub and get the milk. Then, I sit back and attempt to read my email.

Hi, Sally, I was wondering if you might be interested in my new xyz selling… look at the new Lego robot I built!

Switch again. Turning in my chair and see my son, his big eyes twinkling, face beaming proudly, holding up his Lego creation. I ooh and ahh over the invention that can climb the walls. I tell him how creative he is. He goes back to his creations.

I go back to work and to get as much done as I can, between the interruptions, the dog, the cat, drum practice, dinner, baths and bedtime stories. Often, late into the night, you will find me still working, while watching late night Netflix. Staggering to bed, to only to start again, before the kids wake in the morning.

Do you see the pattern? Is there any wonder that I’m mostly-sane? Look at your days, and I’ll bet they are almost identical to mine.

Despite the whiplashed hours and days, and all the distractions, I love being a WAHM. The honest truth is, I wouldn’t trade my job for any corporate gig ever again.

However, as I meet more and more work at home mums, it’s becoming clear that I’m not alone in my struggles. Other mums and dads out there are setting expectations that just don’t match reality. So what can we do about it?

1. Reclaim your office space:

If you’re lucky enough to have one room that you can dedicate to work, stake your claim now. Clean out all toys and non-work items and make your home-office a real office. Your office is your turf. So protect it. IKEA has wonderful office solutions hat won’t break the bank.

2. Buy a timer:

If your children understand the concept of time, get a timer. It’s a life saver. Then the next time you need to work, tell the kids that you’re setting the clock for 30 minutes. Agree on a pact that If they give you that half an hour, reward them with quality time together doing something fun.

Set these simple goals this month to reclaim your work areas and time, you’ll take a step closer to being relaxed, happy and satisfied Work At Home Mum or Dad!

Diary of is a regular blog, by a regular Greenwich mum. Sharing experiences as a local parent (and member of this website) she’ll be writing about everything and anything. And being completely anonymous – you never know – you could have stood next to her in the Post Office or behind her in Cafe W…