Balancing Home and Work: When Life Is in the Distractions

“It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” -Unknown

My son has chickenpox.

It started a few days ago and today is his third day at home.

As a work at home mom who is her own boss, I’m fortunate that I can be at home with my son instead of having to ask my employer for time off work.

I have been working from home for the past five years with three young children, and it was only just a few weeks ago that my youngest child started school full-time.

I felt that I had reached some sort of milestone, having all three children at school full-time now. But I must say, I was also looking forward to having uninterrupted time at home.

Ever since I was laid off five years ago, I have been struggling to find a good balance with spending time on my home business and raising three children.

Now with my youngest finally off at school, it felt as though I had finally crossed that threshold where I was reclaiming my time back.

Not to become a lady of leisure. Not to go to the gym. Not to go shopping in search of retail therapy.

But I finally felt as though I had the time, free from the demands of children, to spend on my own business.  I had finally reached that point that I was always trying to get to: being able to work non-stop and to gain the momentum that would hopefully let me move forward in my business.

On discovering that my son had chickenpox a few days ago, I knew I’d have to keep him at home for the rest of this week. It would—temporarily—be a return back to juggling work and childcare for a few days.

Today trying to snatch snippets of time to myself to work, I was reminded only too well how I’d really struggled, especially when the three of my children were at home during the long, long summer break. I would barely sit down at my computer only to have to go and break up a fight or find something or help them with something within thirty minutes.

After lunch today I told my four-year-old son that I had to go upstairs to work for a while and could he please watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for a little while until I got back.

My four-year-old son then said, “I wish I was you Mommy and you were me.”

“Why?” I asked, “What would you do if you were me?”

I had a feeling I knew what his answer was going to be.

“I’d sit with you the whole day,” he said with a cheeky grin on his face.

And that stopped me cold.

I feel awful even as I write this.

That’s all he wanted. He wanted his mommy to spend the whole day with him, because he is not feeling well, because he has chickenpox.

And all I could think about was the work that was unfinished.

When I used to go out to work, there was no guilt involved  because once I’d dropped my kids off, at my mom’s who looked after them when they were very young or at Breakfast club at school very early in the morning, they were out of sight and I never worried about them. I knew they were safe and being cared for, so there was no need to worry.

Likewise, once I was out of sight, my children never thought about me until they saw me again.

I sure didn’t feel any guilt.

Being at home, I think my kids sometimes forget how much access they have to me.

And it’s easy for me as a mom to spread myself thin trying to do everything, be everyone to all people, to be everywhere at all times.

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching “Toy Story” with my son. I held him in my arms the whole time and just enjoyed being there with him.

We all have balance different aspects of our lives, and sometimes, no matter what we do, it might seem that it’s not enough.

This isn’t just true of work-at-home moms, or dads. This can apply to anyone.

Sometimes, it is so easy to get caught up in the “busy-ness” of our daily schedules. Whether you are a corporate employee, or a shopkeeper, a librarian, a schoolteacher or firefighter, sometimes, there will be moments in your life, when it is better just to “let go.”

Let go and go with the flow of whatever comes your way.

We are so insistent, so demanding and so controlling for our lives to be a certain way. We want results and we want them now.

Sometimes life has other ideas.

So the next time something disrupts your daily routine, take a step back and see if there is any lesson to be learned, a moment to be shared, or another road to take.

You might find, as I did, that following your diversion could be a blessing in disguise.

Photo by James Jordan

About Shelley Kim

Shelley Kim is the mother of three children & the founder of 1stToysOnline.com a site offering tips & advice on all things related to toys such as toy safety, choosing age appropriate toys and reviews of popular children’s toys such as Pillow Pets Blankets, Monster High Dolls and Harry Potter Lego Sets.

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