Balancing Working At Home With Kids Working Me

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I’ve been working at home, with my wife Vera, for going on 5 years now. That is disturbing. I can’t believe I just typed that. Five stinking years…like, totally crazy man.

Anyway, let me give you some progression time lines: 1) Daddy Sweeney was home all of sudden from a job with lots of travel and long hours with two little ones at home and not much knowledge of the “family” business. Rapid response learning curve action here on all fronts. 2) Daddy Sweeney getting the hang of it all, going to Mommy and Me at times, getting some of the business in order so we can try and build it all up. 3) Daddy Sweeney is really in the groove of things with Natalie at school all day and Liam at half-day pre-K/nursery, work is becoming second nature. 4) Daddy Sweeney is chilling, almost beside himself having all day to work…no kids in the house from 8:30-2:30…still a pain getting them ready and out of the house, though. 5) Daddy Sweeney has a newborn to take care of…and he’s a fussy one. 5) Daddy Sweeney has an 8 and 6 year old home all summer with a 4 mo old and a business to help run.

As you could well imagine, one of the most difficult parts of the day is actually trying to get actual work done while the kids are actually trying to make you insane. I’m not sure if they are truly, intentionally attempting this feat, but by God they are pretty darn good at it. It’s a constant juggle and/or battle, depending how you look at the world. Then, throw in the fact that your wife also works from home and you have a 4 month old…and yippy-ki-yay you have a party.

How does one prioritize these things? Let’s see, for example, why you are working at home. There are a number of reasons, really. 1) To make money to pay for your Nutella habit, 2) You are a bit of a sociopath and it’s just a little bit better to be shielded from normal people, 3) You think that though you are at home you are somehow really cool like a really awesome startup company with VC money and bobble head dolls by the office coffee machine/beer keg. 4) You want to make an attempt to spend as much quality time raising your kids to be decent human beings as possible, without turning them or yourself into a raging lunatic. These are all very distinct and challenging in their own right and you’ve gone and decided to go at all of them at the same time. Nice work.

What to do, what to do? Do you attempt to shush the kids and try to get to those annoying inbox fillers? Do you put off the emails until late when the kids are napping? Do you try to write a blog post while feeding your 4 month old and playing Minecraft out of the corner of your eye with the 6 year old and singing “Call Me Baby” with your 8 year old? As you can see, there are really no great options. None whatsoever. It’s almost like you are winning and losing no matter what you do. It’s enough to make you drink…heavily…on Tuesdays…at 10AM.

Yes, it WAS a lot easier to get work done with Natalie and Liam in school ALL DAY, well, until this summer vacation nonsense. Now, we went and mucked it all up and had another kid. That turned the world upside down all over again. Right now, Vera and I have a loose system in which she works the morning shift and I take the kids on…get them ready and out of the house, take care of the little one, and try to keep my sanity. When she taps out, I hit the work. If I have to get the kids from school, then I call timeout and take it all up later. It makes me a little nuts stopping and starting work all the time, but such is life. If I have to work at 9PM then I have to work at 9PM…don’t be a sissy.

It is odd, though, as there still is always the feeling of unease, of not following through, of not committing to do one thing as well as you think possible.  I don’t know if that’s just in my head or not, though it all seems to get done somehow. My kids have it good…mom and dad are home and get to do everything with them. They have no idea how good. The 4 month old is MUCH better and MUCH easier to deal with. I think I’m starting to re-get (is that a word) the hang of it. Once again. It’s can’t be too bad…no one’s in jail yet. Plus at this point I’ve become accustomed to not sleeping all that much, all that well, so that’s a plus (or something).

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