On most days, I have six uninterrupted hours to work while my kids are in school. Blessedly quiet hours. Usually the only sound in the house is the humming of the clothes dryer, and I try to get my toughest tasks out of the way before my daughter gets off the bus each afternoon, quickly followed by her older brothers.
My kids are all old enough now to be relatively self-sufficient. I have no toddlers to chase, diapers to change or preschoolers to entertain. But I used to delude myself that kids past a certain age (say, 10) would pretty much take care of themselves. Nice theory, isn’t it?
I forgot to factor in the incessant bickering two siblings can produce, or the constant clanging of plates in the kitchen by sprouting boys who never stop eating. Forget the blaring TV, which mysteriously hits its peak just as you get a source on the phone, or the neighbor kids who repeatedly ring the doorbell looking for yours.
With a snow day and a national holiday, I was reminded twice this past week just how thin the line between work and home can become. And I wondered yet again how I would manage to maintain a professional image in the midst of all the noise.
Surely I couldn’t let that researcher from Harvard know that my daughter was boring her eyes into me, waiting for me to see the next cool app on her iPod Touch, while I interviewed him on the phone. Surely I wouldn’t miss my 3 p.m. deadline while my son and daughter squabbled five feet away from me, begging me to intervene.
Surely I wouldn’t want it any differently, would I? This is why I work from home — so I don’t miss a thing. But, oh — I DON’T MISS A THING.
Except a soundproof office with a door.