My wife - YMC’s resident Control Freak - and I have always led a pretty, well, organized life. It’s something we both enjoy and that comes naturally to us. (Weird?!) But we were definitely not prepared for the challenges that came with her starting to work from home, when she became the YummyMummyClub’s Project Manager this past September.
Sure, she got rid of her 30-minute commute, but she also lost her access to time blocks of more than two hours to get any work done.
Yep, taking into account the difference in hours between a half or even a full school day and a regular work day, it’s close to impossible for a work-at-home mom to get a complete day’s work in unless she’s in front of the computer late into the evening. And that’s just on a normal day – we’re not even taking into account PA days, when the kids are sick, and when any and every tradesperson has to come by the house to deal with something.
My point? In the last several months we’ve been working to organize our routines to give Mrs. Organized the best opportunity for success in her new life. With that in mind, here is our list of how this work-at-the-office dad contributes to his work-from-home mom wife’s success. And no, the list does not include “get her an iPhone.” That was a given.
Precise hand-offs. We try to find work time for her whenever we can. Bathtime and storytime have become dad-centric; and that’s a half-hour of work time for mom.
Weekend outings. I plan lots of weekend adventures - aka getting out of the house with the Kid so she can get some concentrated work time in (or, you know, get some sleep). I even keep a list of upcoming events and general things to do (and yes, visiting the Honda dealership to get an oil change qualifies as a weekend adventure to a car-crazy 4-year old).
Budget changes. We have made some changes to the family budget. In other words, we moved date night funds to the take-out column. And we are sure to have room in the entertainment budget for a PVR so she can record her favourites and watch them when she’s finished her work for the night. Also, I try to always have a new movie stashed away so she can park the Kid in front of the TV when she has a phone meeting in the middle of the day (I’m a library guy as I love the ‘free’ thing, but lots of friends swear by Netflix).
Altered couple time. We’ve had to change perspective on evenings together. They can still be enjoyable if she’s working on her laptop on the couch and I’m folding laundry; at least we’re in the same room.
Working from home. I’ve made some work-life balance changes of my own (thanks to an understanding employer). I work from home at least one day every couple of weeks, and I leave early a couple of days a week. I make up the time beside her on the couch with my laptop in the evenings!
Reassure her. I do my best to make sure she knows she’s appreciated. And that includes trying to push her out the door once in a while so she can spend some time with her friends. Life’s not all about work.
Indulge her. Finally, and most importantly, I’m continuing to put my remaining energy into learning how to get to, through, and back from the closest wine store in the time it takes the Kid to watch an episode of Turbo Dogs.
Ok, your turn. Is anything on this list too idealistic, considering we’re only 9 months into this thing? Or, are we missing anything? We’d love to hear from you, as we’re still trying to figure out how to get this gal away from her laptop before midnight.