Working from home is one thing, working from home with the family around 24/7 is another! I have been working from home for twenty years now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about creating routines, avoiding distractions and setting myself up for success each day. But…when the whole family is home, 24/7 all bets are off.
I get up early to have some alone time, and…there is a PERSON there. I feel hindered…uncomfortable going about my routine with that PERSON sitting there…seemingly WATCHING…JUDGING…
I’m in the kitchen making coffee and the PERSON is LURKING…Why are they standing right in front of the dishwasher when I want to put something in it?…why do they inventory the content of the refrigerator OUT LOUD every time they open it? I KNOW WHATS IN THERE!
Let’s talk house keeping…Part of my morning routine is making the bed, and tidying. I wipe down counters…pick up clothes…run a load of laundry…
…I just finish tidying the kitchen when SOMEONE starts making a meal leaving food splatters on the stove, a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and a bowl of half eaten food in the living room…I go to do a load of laundry only to find a pile of wet and stinky laundry still in the washer…
…I sit down to write… only the TV is on… someone is having a conversation on the phone…f or an hour! Don’t they know this house is a quiet space? Don’t they know I have the important task of creating interesting content daily? Don’t they know I need to THINK!!!
If this is you, I feel your pain, and have a few ideas to help ease it. Believe it or not, the above scenario was once my experience, but over the years, I’ve figured out a few strategies that help mitigate some of this.
- Your invisible house guest. My grand father used to say we had Gremlins in our home. The Gremlins left plates out and didn’t put things away. He’d say “Oh my, the Gremlins have been busy today, they’ve not put their food in the kitchen. Let’s clean up after them.” Instead of Gremlins, you can create your very own invisible house guest, and place the blame for the mess on them, rather than calling out and becoming annoyed with loved ones. You can say “Hey Alfred left his laundry in the washer again…could you come and help him out?”
- Maintain your routines anyway. You’ll get used to having a PERSON sitting there. You’ll notice that they aren’t in fact watching, nor are they judging. Just give them a cup of coffee, and leave them to their thoughts.
- Have a conversation about your feelings and needs before they get out of hand.
- Set ground rules for tidying and use your invisible house guest to soften and lighten the conversation.
- Headphones are a wonderful thing. With three of us in the house, we are all on headphones a part of each day. If one of us watches videos or the television, we do so using headphones.
- Set up separate alone time. When I first stared working at home, my husband was away all the time. I was used to being alone for long periods. Roger, however, is semi retired and I had to get used to having him home. While I love having him home, but it was an adjustment for both of us. If you are to stop by at any point, you might find me in the sunroom writing while Roger is in the front room on his computer. We come together in the morning for coffee, and at the end of the day to watch TV together, unless we are doing a project.
This morning, Brooke, Roger and I were noting that we have no control over the direction of things right now. Brooke, an avid planner, had her senior year of college planned out, (like mother like daughter) Roger and I planned to take a trip to the Carolinas to see if we could find a place to live. Our plans are on hold. Everyone on the planet’s plans are on hold. We are all waiting to see what happens next. No one is exempt. This means that there is only one productive place to focus our attention, and that is on making the very best of RIGHT NOW.
The other day, as we walked in the park, I thought about how beautiful the park is and that at least we had a nice place to walk. A few days ago, they closed our park. I am disappointed, but at the same time, with seasonal allergies, I probably shouldn’t be walking outside too much anyway. I am looking to figure out how to exercise in the house.
I was so glad that I on our last walk, I noticed, really noticed how beautiful a place it is. I appreciated it. I am reminded, once again that there are no guarantees. We need to appreciate what we have right now.
Sometimes, we need help working our way through various issues in our lives. I have turned to therapy several times along my path to healing. Recently, I learned about Better Help, an online non-emergency mental health program that pairs you with an online therapist. It’s completely confidential and because it’s all done online you don’t have to worry about going in for an appointment. Click HERE for more information. *this is an affiliate link