Romper

Working From Home With More Than One Kid: Expectations vs. Reality

When I transitioned from working a day job in the grueling retail world to working from home as a writer, I figured it would be fairly cost-effective and ideal situation for all involved. My kids would have me home more and I would get a lot more done around the house, in addition to making money. I mean, if that's not the ultimate win, I don't know what is, right? Little did I know that working from home when you have multiple kids is not the dream you may or may not have envisioned. In fact, some days it can be a full-blown nightmare, if I'm being totally honest.

I haven't yet determined which is worse: the total lack of productivity that sometimes happens, leaving me apologizing to my colleagues, or the guilt that overwhelms me when I realize that my kids have been watching television for several hours while I try to meet a deadline. Usually, dinner is nowhere on the horizon, despite it being dinner time, so I'm totally going to order pizza. Again. Right, so, um, about that whole cost-effective thing.

Then, of course, there's the ongoing question of how much childcare to employ so that your kids can get the attention they need and you can accomplish the work you need to accomplish. The balancing act is tough, to say the absolute least, and at times there may be what can only be described as an absolute circus in your home. You will (hopefully) get it all sorted out, but in the meantime, what you thought it was going to be like is quite different than what it's actually like.

Commuting

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Expectation

Oh, the time I'll save! All those worthless moments spent on the road that I could've spent bonding with my kids, or making dinner, or just relaxing is now mine. All mine.

Reality

Oh my god, where did all of that "me" time go? That beautiful 45 minutes every morning and evening when I could listen to a podcast in peace (or in gridlock, on the highway, but you get the idea) or read my Kindle, even if I'm squished between a bunch of other people on the subway?That blissful stretch of time when no child is pulling at my sleeve or hitting their sibling. Why did I give that up?

Saving Money On Lunch

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Expectation

Now I don't have to worry about spending $15 on lunch if I don't have time to make it! I will have healthy and affordable lunches every day, and so will my kids.

Reality

Leftovers, you say? No, my sweet children, that's just for me. You're getting crackers and cheese, because apparently we can only eat easy-to-make (or easy-to-serve) products in our house, now.

Productivity

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Expectation

I am going to get all of the things done. All. Of. Them. Plus, I'm going to put in a load of laundry and clean the bathroom.

Reality

Sorry, what was that email you sent me? I've been making my kid her seventh snack in the past two hours, so I may have missed it...

More Time To Make Healthy Dinners

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Expectation

Even on days when things are busy for me, all I need to do is pop something in the slow cooker in the morning. Healthy dinners every night? Oh, you best.

Reality

Oh my god, how is it already noon? I haven't defrosted the chicken I was going to use in the slow cooker recipe and now it will take eight hours to cook on high, if I put it in frozen. So, um, what the hell are we eating for dinner now?

Saving On Childcare Costs

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Expectation

Clearly, I'm not going to need to put my kids in daycare at all, because I will totally have it covered all on my own. I'll set them up with Play-Doh™ for an hour and then I'll get some crayons and paper out, then a quick lunch break, and maybe a short bit of television. Who needs daycare?

Reality

Okay, maybe we'll just put them in daycare for one day a week. Okay, maybe two days. I actually don't think I can do this job with less than three days a week to myself. Maybe four days, though? Please, just get them out of my house. Guess we're not saving much on childcare after all.