Working from Home during a Pandemic With Kids: Zero Stars – Do Not Recommend
With COVID-19’s spread forcing the world into lockdown, my job became remote overnight.
I set things up at my desk at home and thought that I had a neat opportunity to get some work done and have some additional time with my kids who would be home indefinitely.
Let’s clarify: Children do not have much consideration for an adult who is working full time from home. That mindset gets even stronger when everything they love to do and everywhere they love to go has been taken away from them without warning and with no foreseeable end in sight. Add homeschooling to the mix and things quickly become disastrous, even when well-intentioned.
Before I come across as heartless, (how could anyone complain about three months home with their kids?) let’s go over the pros and cons –
- Letting the kids sleep in. They’ve never been so rested!
- Making a hot breakfast for them; they love pancake faces!
- Planting seeds and teaching gardening indoors in the spring
- Being with our youngest while she learned to walk
- Wearing sweatpants every day (can’t complain there!)
- Ordering all groceries/necessities online for delivery or pick up
- Taking the dog for more walks
- Keeping the house clean(er) than it normally is
- There was not one child who was excited at the prospect of me teaching them or continuing their schoolwork. Ever.
- There is no phone call that won’t be interrupted
- Wi-Fi quits in the middle of a meeting
- Juggling work meetings and kids Zoom class meetings fills up a calendar quickly
- Teaching kids how to use a school-issued laptop for things OTHER than YouTube feels impossible
- Kids love to interrupt each other’s class Zoom meetings (constantly!)
- Conference calls during nap time don’t mix well
- Having to catch up on emails during the middle of the night
- Zoom meetings on a cell phone drain the battery
- The kids need to scream and get energy out which means they’ll do it during traditional work hours
- Every question or problem the kids have is “urgent’ so any train of thought is demolished constantly
- Working at a desk won’t last long so hiding out in a corner of the house on a dying laptop is a last-ditch effort to get something done
- Everyone from work tries getting into the server at the same time so, welcome back 1999 AOL dial-up speed on my computer!
- When I am able to find a quiet room, I’m joined by fighting housecats and a dog who farts and barks in her sleep
- Every bit of professional ground gained in the past 15 years seems to crumble under my feet as I am unable to be as responsive and coherent as I typically am with screaming and crying in the background
- Zoom meetings started early on with me freshly dressed and made up. After a few weeks, it changed to mom buns and glasses with yesterday’s makeup.
Ultimately, working from home during a pandemic with kids results in one thing: SURVIVAL.
It is not pretty, it is real and gritty and uncomfortable for everyone. I recognize that I am more than lucky to have a job (and one I can do from home), and that we are healthy as a family. But for sanity’s sake, I will say the experience has not been one that I’d recommend if there were options. I’m pretty sure that my kids would agree!
Even though I rated it Zero Stars, I’m still a mom, so I wouldn’t trade my time with my kiddos for anything. Besides, I’ve done other things with my kids that also deserve Zero Stars…. it’s not like anyone loves changing diapers or cleaning up puke, right??
How have you survived working from home during a pandemic with kids?
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