I am extremely fortunate that I am able to work from home, I realize how lucky I am. I get to take the kids to school and fetch them during the day, attend sports matches where necessary etc. Working from home is the best of both worlds (being 'there' for the kids during the day AND earning money. Doing two things at the same time isn't always easy!) and the worst of both worlds (having to be a full time mom AND a full time worker at the same time). Working from home is awesome and horrible. But mostly awesome.
Even before I had my own business, I used to work from home a few days a week, and I always worked harder from home than at the office. If I slacked off at the office, well... it was ok because I was AT WORK. I could afford to take a lunch break or sneak off to check Facebook. But when I worked from home I was very aware of the trust and the privilege I had in working from home, and so I worked extra hard, all the time.
Now that I work for myself, where I am responsible for not only putting food on my family's table but putting food on my employees' table, I work even harder. I work in the early morning and late at night. I work when the kids are at school and at the side of the sports field. I am NEVER without my laptop. And yes, I am lucky enough to occasionally go for a pedicure at 10am, but I always take my laptop with me, everywhere I go! Every one who knows me knows that I am ALWAYS tapping away at my laptop. I work work work. And so does my entire team. We all work from home. We have Dropbox and Skype and email and we run the business this way. My team are all mothers who are able to fetch their kids from school, go to swimming practice, soccer and extra murals with our kids. And answer emails at 5:30* in the morning and at 9pm at night. We are all full time moms and full time employees. And it works amazingly well. We are balanced, happy, hard working parents and workers. We work bloody hard but we absolutely LOVE what we do because we have the best job in the world.
(In fact, it is exactly because my life is so busy that I don't have time to do 'personal' things like blog anymore)
Not everyone gets this. There are many people who are very old school and who don't get that 'working from home' can mean increased productivity, higher profits and happier employees. They believe that the only way work can happen is clocking in at the office at 8am and clocking out at 4:30 am. I know that while that works in some industries / situations, it doesn't always work. I have been that worker that clocked in and out at the office and believe me, I work about a million times harder and am so very much more productive now than I ever was in an office.
*this morning I got an email from one of my team at 5:45am. Another replied at 6:00. I responded at 7am. We have sorted out an entire issue before some people have even woken up.
NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, the twins have a lovely Au Pair who helps out in the afternoon because it is physically impossible for me to be in two places at once, no matter how hard working I am. Max finishes at 12:15 and the twins finish at 1:45. Then they each have different extra murals / afternoon obligations. So yes, I have help with the kids in the afternoon while I work.
My dear husband, who I love dearly and who loves me very much too, and who, although he doesn't say it perhaps as often as I would like, appreciates what I am doing - running a successful business, contributing significantly towards the family coffers and doing a fairly decent job of taking care of our three kids. HOWEVER, he sincerely believes that because he works in an office, and I work from home, he works harder / better / more importantly than I do. That working from home is easy. That my day is made up of gym, pedicures and messing about while he works WAY HARDER than I do. That even though I work AND do the majority of the child care, and even though he SITS AND WATCHES TV WHEN HE GETS HOME WHILE I WORK AT NIGHT, he still believes he works harder than I do because he has to get dressed for work and drive in the traffic to the office. Which, you know, is a little quaint and not like massively annoying (mostly). I try not to let it irritate me too much. I blame it on his Afrikaans Calvinistic upbringing (love you dear MIL!).
For the whole of January, I have been running my arse off. A few mornings last week I had to wake up at 4am just to get through all my work for the days. It's been really hectic. Exhausting. I am not complaining though, as business is good and I am very aware of how fortunate I am. As I say, rather a 'too full' life than a life that is too empty. Am grateful.
Today, at about 3:30 after working hard the whole day (and the entire first 6 weeks of this year!), I went out my study to have a wee. As I was up, Max was wondering around and saw me. Now that he has started big school after being at home for many months, I don't see him as much and I miss him. And so I gathered Max up into my arms and went to my room to lie on the bed with him. I hugged him and we lay together for a bit.
And just then Marko walks into the room. He is NEVER home early (wouldn't be the right thing to leave the office early!), but today, on the ONE day I decide to take 30 minutes off to lie on the bed with Max, he comes home early. "Ah, so THIS is what the two of you do during the day!" he says with a knowing look.
How fucking irritating. What can I say. I will never live it down now. I am so annoyed. If I had more time and energy, I would try to MAKE Marko admit that I DO work as hard (harder!) than he does, but you know what, I don't even think it will make any difference. So I will just carry on doing what I do, working hard and taking care of our kids as best I can, and taking the 30 minutes here and there to lie on the bed and hug my child. Because I want to, and because I can.
I love my husband very much, and he loves me very much and he is very good to me. And he is mostly not a pain in the arse, and I am lucky to have him and all of that good stuff. It is just this teeny tiny thing that drives me insane! "Words of Affirmation" is my love language. I need to hear I am doing a good job and that I am appreciated. And I need to believe that you mean it.
(This feels kind of ranty. I started it last night, and then got distracted and am not as irritated today as I was yesterday. But I decided to post it anyway as I hardly ever blog any more! A ranty blog is better than no blog at all :) )