As I watched the video of BBC reporter Robert Kelly’s children crash his serious interview on live TV, I couldn’t help but smile. I’ve totally been there. Many, many times. And while, I am not a reporter on live TV, I sometimes work from home out of necessity. If my children are off of school because they are sick or on vacation, that means mommy is practicing a very difficult balancing act from home. And most likely that means I am returning phone calls from our garage so my kids don’t interrupt my conversations by yelling my name or making loud farting noises in the background (my four year old’s favourite past-time). I admit it; I actually HIDE from my kids in order to make phone calls when I work from home.
Working from home also means I have to avoid recording anything and at all costs. I’ve learned that the hard way. Many of our work videos have been crashed because I try to convince myself it will work this time—it never does.
Furthermore, my work day as a working-from-home parent extends by about 5 hours simply because it takes me 5 hours more to complete my work tasks. Whether it is cleaning up a spill or preparing a meal or breaking up an argument or reminding my son not to try to master a flip off of the armrest of the couch– the interruptions during my day are non-stop.
Even when I am lucky enough to make it to the office, I struggle to balance work and family life. Business meetings, conference calls, team meetings, presentations, projects, dance lessons, ,piano lessons, swimming lessons, birthday parties, play dates, recitals and school concerts fill my schedule—and often conflict with each other. HOW do I choose between all of these options? It is a constant struggle. I feel like I am the mom always rolling into the parking lot with one minute to spare, running into the class, hair disheveled and out of breath. My car is always a mess and ALWAYS full of crumbs and wrappers and empty juice boxes (does any of the food actually make it into my kids’ mouths?). My laptop bag is full of wipes, Paw Patrol figurines, granola bars, Band-Aids— oh, and an occasional pair of mismatched socks (what the heck!?). I can never find my car keys. Or my glasses. This so-called balancing act is exhausting and time consuming –but it is also beautiful.
I am extremely grateful to work for an organization that encourages worklife balance by offering flexibility in my workday and the option to work from home when my kids are sick. I realize there are many working parents that do not have those options and I have no idea how they keep everything in check. My hats go off to them.
Managing our interpretation and translation agency and working with our amazing team brings me joy and affords me professional growth. It gives me an outlet for my creative energy and allows me to form friendships and to have adult conversations. I also really enjoy the fact I can go to the bathroom at work without someone walking in on me and starting a conversation. It is peaceful in the bathroom at work.
Likewise, I am eternally grateful that I am a parent. My children know that they are loved and that they can always count on me to cheer the loudest clap the hardest and show up to their events (even if I only have one minute to spare). Of all my accomplishments, the fact that I am raising two smart, kind and well rounded kids is by far my greatest achievement. It is nice to know, though, that I am not the only one who struggles to balance work life and home life. Thank you Robert Kelly for showing me and all the other working parents who witnessed your children’s 15 minutes of fame—that although it is an amazing gift to be able to work from home, it is not, by any means, an easy thing to do.