by Misti Sandefur
I woke to a beautiful spring day, and the boys decided they were going
to play outdoors while I wrote an article for a client. Because the boys
had decided to play outside, I knew I’d finish the article and the
rest of my day would be great! Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that
I had just sat down at the laptop and typed out the first paragraph when
my youngest son raced through the front door.
“Mom, Bubby’s stuck in the tree!”
“He climbed up it. Tell him to climb down.”
After I released a heavy sigh, I headed outside to investigate the tree
situation. Once outside, I discovered that my oldest son was in the
tree, but he wasn’t very high up.
“You climb that tree all the time. Just climb back down like you
always do,” I yelled to him.
“I can’t, Mom. I’m scared.”
I walked to the tree and gently coaxed him out of it. Luckily, he made
his way to the ground without me having to make my way up the tree.
“See there, I knew you could do it. Now, don’t climb the tree
again,” I told him.
Distraction number one solved.
Approximately 10 minutes later, I was back at my desk and halfway
through the article when both boys ran into the house.
“Mom, we’re hungry. What’s for lunch?” They asked in unison.
“If you’ll let mom finish this article, I’ll put some hot dogs on
Happy with my answer they headed to their bedroom to play video games.
As for me, well, by this time I had totally lost the muse. I sighed
deeply, saved what I had managed to write and headed to the kitchen to
boil hot dogs.
Sometimes I wonder if the toddler years were better than the preteen
years. At least they took naps during the toddler years. Oh well, you
gotta love ‘em.
As for the article that got pushed aside for hot dogs, I managed to
finish it later that night when the kids were in bed snoring. Trust me,
I can handle the snoring better than I can the distractions. 😉
Opal @ Addicted to Writing says
I can relate.
I usually do most of my writing outside. I take my 17″ MacBook Pro out to the picnic table and work while my five-year old plays. I take breaks so I can play with her. I also have a business (natural skin care products) I create some of my products outdoors. I let her help. She loves that.
If I’m studying or working on an article where I don’t want to be disturbed I’ll write it early in the morning. I’m usually awake by 4:00 or I’ll wait until she goes to sleep.
Too funny and too true! Great job #1
My distractions are my teen when he is not at work or school (summer is always a challenge), and our two cats. My teen is used to my work at home stuff, so he doesn’t do too much interrupting, though I do have to re-train him from time to time as to the Golden Rule of the Work at Home Parent :
“If it does not involve projectile vomit, large amounts of blood, broken bones, fire, natural disaster, or death – it can wait.”
He knows that I will do only what I have to do right that minute, and then give him attention so he can ask questions or get permission to do things, if he follows this rule. Otherwise my answer is an automatic “NO”. 😉
As for the cats, one hops up on the arm of my chair and expects to be petted while I work. She will be satisfied with just being my arm rest, though, if I am really busy.
The other one has a foot fetish, so if I am not giving her the attention she demands when she demands it, she begins licking and gently nipping at my toes in a very ticklish way. Short of putting her in her crate, the only thing that stops her is to stop what I am doing and spend a few minutes with her. She sure has me trained, huh? 🙂
Ann G. says
My cat goes through phases where she wants nothing to do with people and others she won’t leave you alone. Today’s one of those clingy days where she plops herself on my shoulders and drapes her head onto my chest and stares aimlessly on the computer. Trying to remove her is a feat in itself.
My kids are good about my working. It’s my neighbor’s teen that’s the bigger problem. Since having his baby and dropping out of high school to become a stay-home dad while the baby’s mother completes summer school to graduate early, he’s over here far too much. Enough that I had to send him packing with his son. I love babies, but the baby has Celiac’s Disease and is incredibly needy and fussy. He’s 6 months old, doesn’t sit up by himself yet and hates being put down. Since I lectured him about responsibility, he’s only come over one time. I hate being the meanie, but his mom certainly isn’t doing anything to push the issue. Instead, he’s barely 17 with no intention on returning to school and is far happier playing World of Warcraft all day than getting a job.
Great Article #1, I have a full time job so I can’t really sympathize with you but I can totally imagine me going through the same thing. On the weekends my child needs my full attention and it’s usually only to show me his ninja moves. *laughs* I love the funny interruptions but the annoying ones I can do without.
Hot dogs are a great distraction! I always keep snacks on hand!
Melanie Williamson says
I’ve become a coffee addict trying to stay a freelance writer. I have three children under the age of two: A 20-month old daughter and 3-month old twins. I try to coordinate their naps so they all sleep at the same time, but that only actually works one or two days a week. I end up waiting till they are all asleep for the night, and then spend time writing.
I can usually get a lot of catch up done on the weekends because then my husband is around to help.
#1 – I can sympathize! I have three boys — 10, 8 & 5 — and they have the most creative ways to distract me! Climbing on the roof, bringing me frogs, turtles and toads as gifts (very kind to think of me, but in my office??) You have to be creative when you work at home as a parent – and I do use some bribery — yesterday they left me alone long enough to get some work done so we spent the rest of the day at a nearby lake. Good luck! I’m off to make lunch!
At least I’m not the only one who feels like this sometimes. Knowing if you’re doing the right thing as a parent when you freelance is hard to judge, because you don’t have coworkers to talk with. This is my first summer where I actually have a lot I can work on, and it’s much harder with the oldest one home from school aggravating his sister as much as possible. I’m trying to get into a schedule where I work 2 hours before they get up and then after they go to bed…..but I don’t want to wake up early in the summer either LOL!
Mine are in our little pool right now, and I am squeezing in some work. I have worked at home in some capacity since my oldest (who is now 11) was about 2. So they are used to the routine. Yesterday we went to the zoo, which meant me working from 9-1 last night. But it is worth it. I would prefer that option over putting them in day care any day! And that is what I talk with them about when they get frustrated. They wanted to go to their cousins and swim in their pond, but that requires me being there and watching. My current writing gig requires the internet, so that didn’t work today and the pool would have to do. I talk with them about other kids who have to spend their summer in day care and what it’s like to get up and be there at 7 am – 6 pm with none of your toys. No hanging around the house in your jammies until noon (as mine love to do!) They get it and I hope some day appreciate it a little more!
Candidate #1 says
@Opal: I’m not a morning person, so I’m more of a night owl writer. However, when I wake in the afternoon, I try to get some writing done so I don’t have too much to do during the night. As for the weekends, those are my days off. In fact, the weekend is time I dedicate to the kids and hubby.
@Dani: Yes, summer is a challenge. My boys are 12 and 13, and my daughter is 15. The daughter doesn’t cause too many distractions. She mostly stays in her room and listens to music or plays on the other laptop. Although, there are times when I have to remind her to turn her “Boom, Boom” music down.
All three of my kids understand that I work from home, but as you said, sometimes they need reminded of the “Golden Rule of the Work at Home Parent.” 😉
@Ann G: I don’t like to be a meanie either, but there are times when you have to say something or some people will take advantage of your generosity.
@Nicole: Hot dogs are quick to fix and keeps the kids happy. In addition to hot dogs, pizza rolls and pizza also keeps ‘em happy for a while. 🙂
@Melanie Williamson: Ah, coffee. I’m not much of a coffee addict, but I do drink it more in the winter than the summer.
@Lara: My oldest son likes to bring me wild flowers as gifts. It’s so sweet, and they look better on my desk than frogs, turtles and toads. Maybe you could hint to them that you like flowers. 😉
@Rhyah: I use to work outside the home, too, and although I love working from home, I do miss having coworkers to chat with.
@Marlene: There have been times when my mom has taken the kids for an hour or two so I could do a phone interview, but for the most part, they’re at home with me, and I enjoy that. They never were much for babysitters when I did work outside the home, so they like this arrangement better.
@ Melanie Williamson: Oh, I’ve been in your shoes! My singleton is now 7yrs and the twins are 5yrs – and I have a 2yr old. It gets easier. The good news is they’re so close together in age that they entertain one another for hours on end. The bad news: constant bickering! I am counting down the days until school starts…
Yogi Coffee Maker Reviewer says
One more WHAM here…I have a 3 year old who I balance with while working.
My preteen/early teen kids are trained not to bother me with the exception of injury or help with schoolwork (they are homeschooled).
It’s the phone calls from people who think I am not doing anything with my time that ruins my flow. Even my husband calls from work to chat when he has free time. Still If I don’t have money to pay utilities and buy food at the end of the month, he wonders what happened…. ummm… too many phone calls and interruptions?
Candidate #1 says
@Yogi Coffee Maker Reviewer: I remember when my kids were 3. Those were some tough years as well, but nap time always comes in handy. 😉
@Andrea: Other than a few small distractions like those mentioned above, my preteens aren’t too bad. As for phone calls, I usually don’t answer the phone while I’m writing. Instead, I let the calls go to voicemail, but I will take a few minutes to check the voicemail and make sure it’s not an emergency. Taking a few extra minutes to check my messages is a whole lot better than answering the phone and chatting for an hour. 🙂
Wow, my first comment was removed. What a shock. All I said was that you should be grateful you get to see your kids during the day and don’t have to send them to a daycare and that was cut out.
Candidate #1 says
Kate, Believe me, I am grateful that I’m able to work at home and be with my children too. I use to work outside the home and had to leave them with a babysitter, which I did not like, so once I was able to write full-time, I loved the fact that my kids could be with me all the time. In this post, I was just sharing what it’s like as a work at home mom. It can be difficult at times to work with kids screaming and interrupting, but it doesn’t mean I’m not grateful. In fact, I feel blessed that I’m able to do something other moms may not be fortunate enough to do. 🙂