Working from home with kids (Or how I spent my summer vacation)

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Ninety-nine percent of the time, I love working from home. Believe me, I completely understand exactly how fortunate I am that I have the chance to do so. And most of the time – well, 9 months of the year – it’s amazing. I can work during the day while the kids are at school and Ron is working, so I have the house to myself. Other than a little dog who needs some extra TLC every now and then, I can knock out a lot in just a few hours – and still be home and available when the kids need me.

It’s these pesky summer months that completely throw me… And even though the kids are older now, so don’t need as much one-on-one time from me and I don’t have to supervise them every second of the day, they get bored. Very bored. Although I’ve tried to keep them occupied by scheduling activities, it seems that we either end up having weeks that are extremely busy or weeks where there’s nothing going on at all. It’s those ‘nothing going on at all’ weeks, like this one is shaping out to be, that are the hardest, because I really can’t come up with good reasons why the girls can’t watch a few hours of TV, and then a few more and a few more… It keeps them busy and out of my hair – and yet even that doesn’t completely give me the uninterrupted work time that I am so spoiled by having during the fall and winter months.

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A good part of this is my own fault – or at least Ron’s and mine. We decided two years ago that the girls were growing out of sharing rooms – and the bedroom size in this house is just not conducive to comfortably holding everything if there’s more than one kid per room. Over the ten years we’ve lived here, we’ve tried pretty much every combination and configuration – kids all upstairs and parents downstairs (which gave us an extra room to use as a home office),  kids all downstairs and parents upstairs (that one gave us not only a home office but a spare bedroom/craft room too), Hannah sharing with Becca, Hannah sharing with Abbi, Abbi sharing with Becca… But the only thing that has consistently kept parents and kids totally happy is what we’ve had for the past 2 years now – with Ron and I in the master bedroom upstairs, Hannah and Becca each in the other two upstairs bedrooms, and Abbi downstairs. The girls each have their own room, and I honestly can’t imagine even trying to go back to having any of them try to share again.

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However, with all of the bedrooms occupied, what we ended up losing (other than the spare/craft room, darn!) was the home office. Ron and I both use laptops now, so having a large computer desk isn’t really necessary anyway. I have a (very crowded) small roll-top desk in the living room to house all of my stuff, and Ron’s got his laptop and an extra monitor set up by the recliner. It works – for the most part. During the school year, I have the living room to myself all day, so it in essence IS my home office. Complete with comfy couch, television, plenty of natural light, and I love that I can work in my pajamas if I really want to. But in the summer… It’s the only ‘common’ room that we have in this house and the center of entertainment, so if they kids are watching TV – they’re doing it in here.

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Now I can do some general work with My Little Pony playing in the background, and even Abbi and Becca’s obsession with the Octonauts on Disney Junior (don’t ask) doesn’t really faze me all that much. But I just plain cannot write if I don’t have a quiet room. Hence this post being authored at 1:37am… I stay up late to get the things done that I can’t do to the soundtrack of my kids’ lives, and then I sleep in much later than I want to. And somehow the summer seems to be passing us by without having done so many of the things I’d planned to help make it more fun for everyone. We haven’t made it to the beach at all yet. Or the park really even. Family bike rides? Nope. And forget having friends over to play… I’m tired, the house is a mess, and… Ugh. On the positive side, the girls are still getting plenty of reading time in. And Hannah’s been filling her days with volunteer hours at the local library a few times a week. Plus, all Abbi wants to do when the television isn’t on is to sit downstairs and listen to music anyway. That hasn’t changed from winter to summer, and although I really want to get her outside and more active, I think fighting the teenage tendency to become a hermit may just be an uphill battle.

But at least she has her own room to hang out and be antisocial in. And there are a few weeks left of summer vacation yet – so I can try to still fit in some beach trips and maybe even a family bike ride or two,  while hopefully getting my work hours in as well. Which is why after this post is done, I’m headed to bed (at 2:24am, sigh) and am going to try to avoid staying up so late again. Posts here may be a bit scarce until school starts again, but don’t worry – I’ll still write when I can squeeze a little quiet time in here and there. I have lots to share yet about my UP trip, and some product reviews planned as well, so you can’t get rid of me quite that easily. Even if I have the My Little Pony theme song running through my head over and over again…

How many days until school starts again? 33 and counting… 😉