Kiersten Hathcock

Child's Play

July 3, 2014

Having left the corporate world as a working mom, I really had no clue what I was about to face when I became a work-from-home mom. I naively thought, “How hard can it be? Dora the Explorer while I catch up on emails and design furniture—I’ve got this.”

Yeah. I didn’t have it. Far from it. My neat and tidy work-from-home plan with a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old overlooked the following:

1. Children know the minute you’re on the phone to ask for food, toys, a million dollars, a trip to Disneyland…and when they can’t think of anything to ask for, they make noise. I found myself mouthing to my tiny people a lot of “in a second” or “just a minute,” until one day it occurred to me that I need to be incorporating them into my business phone calls. I just started calling them my management team. As in, “Just a minute famous designer person in NYC, my VP of sales is about to beat our VP of marketing over the head with a wooden mallet. Let me just give her the rubber mallet instead.” (Just kidding about the whole beating thing—there is no hitting in furniture.) The other option was to hide in the bathroom with the phone.

2. Trying to make the kids happy and get work done at the same time means one-upping yourself daily. “Look kids! A craft table! Glue yourselves and your projects to whatever you want, and I’ll be right over here cutting this large piece of plywood that shouldn’t be cut on this tiny table saw. Yay! Fun!” Next day: “OK kiddos, here’s what’s happening: mom has to get this toy box done, so while I’m doing that, go all Jackson Pollock on this wall over here and we’ll just repaint it before Dad gets home. Get set. GO!”

3. You will get interrupted a million times no matter their age. While writing this short blog, I have been asked where the iron is and if we can go to the mall. I’ve been writing for five minutes.

4. Summer becomes a four-letter word. As a work-from-home mom, you know the key to sanity in the summer is figuring out if you can afford some type of daytime summer camp. Panicked work-from-home friends would ask, “What are you doing with them? It’s only a few weeks away!!! CALL NOW….FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GET THEM INTO A PROGRAM!!!” And those of us who forgot to sign them up in time would all hang our heads and immediately buy DVDs of all those annoying kids’ TV shows. We knew our punishment for missing the sign-up deadline, and it was a purple dinosaur singing kid songs.

Anything I’ve missed? Share with me what works (and what doesn’t)! I’m no expert on how to effectively work from home with kids, but I do know I’m about to get interrupted cause it’s been 10 minutes and it’s way too quiet out there.