When I went to university I never dreamt that I would be working with or around kids. I studied engineering and had visions of being on site, or at the very least in an office. The corporate life was firmly in my sights and I pictured keeping it very separate to my family life.
I did the corporate thing for 3 years, but now my life has taken a complete u-turn. I work from home – with a toddler. It is the polar opposite of what I am used to. The both have their pros and cons, but it is almost impossible to compare them.
The Work Hours
My day started bright and early. I was up at 5:45am and at my desk before 7am every day. I ate breakfast at my desk while checking my e-mails and getting set up for the day. At 4pm I could shut down my laptop and head on home.
I worked a 9 day fortnight. This meant I had every 2nd Friday off, as well as my evenings and weekends. Of course there were times where I had to work late, but as a general rule my hours were set.
Piglet takes a 2 hour nap a day, and those 2 hours are my main work time. I don’t like to work too much when he is awake, but if he is busy playing in the morning I will sometimes use that time to read and reply to e-mails.
Once Piglet is in bed for the night I will fire up the laptop again. It’s not unusual for me to be working right up until bedtime. I go to sleep with thoughts of what I was doing rushing around my mind. There is no down time!
Real life adult conversation – oh my did I take that for granted. I worked in a building with hundreds of other people. If I wanted to run an idea past someone I just had to look around and see who was available. There was always somebody willing to grab a coffee and have a quick chat.
We socialised. We went out for dinner, to the pub. Once I even climbed Ben Nevis and Schiehallion with some of them! Some went past co-workers and became friends.
My main co-worker is a pooping drooling toddler. I have to bribe him to take photos if he’s not in the mood. Coax him into taking a nap so I can crack on with writing and editing. No where in the job description did it note that someone would poop in their pants and then climb on to your knee for a seat!
I had one particular job where I was truly living the dream. I had a sit/stand work station so I could stand at my desk if I wanted. Dual screens and an ergonomic chair completed the set up. I didn’t realise the importance of having a dedicated work area and definitely took it for granted.
For the last year 99% of my work has been carried out on my knee (and more often than not in front of the tv). We have recently started decorating our spare room, which is going to double as my office. I am really looking forward to checking out desk and chair options, particularly those from furniture-work co.uk. I am wanting a set up that not only gives me space to work undisturbed and comfortably, but that will look good and provide me with plenty storage for all my photo props and the like.
We had an on site Starbucks which had amazing chocolate. Other than that there was very little in the way of distractions. Sure, you could get caught up in conversation with someone longer than you meant to, but we were all there to work and generally that’s what we did.
Everything. EVERYTHING. If Piglet is napping I have a maximum of 2 hours to get everything done. I work in the kitchen so I often ditch the laptop in the middle of writing so I can go and unload the dishwasher or sort the laundry. When all of that is done I often end up sticking the tv on, fiddling with the camera or pratting around on my phone. I need to learn how to FOCUS.
We had a work canteen, although the word canteen doesn’t do it justice. I was truly spoilt with my free lunches. There was a large salad station, often a noodle bar where you could pick what you want and have it made fresh. Simple soups and custom made sandwiches and wraps. The ideal set up!
Lunch is all down to me. I get to eat it with a grumpy toddler who is ready for a nap. It usually consists of leftovers from dinner the night before, or a sandwich made from slightly questionable and definitely stale bread.
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