How to balance working from home and home educating your children

I wish there was a simple answer to this question. Our typical day starts early (around 5AM): I do a quick round of laundry and dishes, make breakfast, and launch straight into school. After school I check emails and return calls, then make lunch. Work follows, flat out until it’s time to make supper. After supper it’s time for dishes and bed time stories, then back to work.

Bed time is usually between 23:00 and 02:00.

For me, there are two equally important keys to making this work. The first is prioritisation. Decide what’s important, and focus on that. But realise and accept that what’s important today (or this morning, or right this moment), may not be the same as what’s important tomorrow, what mattered tomorrow, or what is important in your life generally. It helps, too, to have a very clear idea of what is important generally, so that when you have to make a touch choice, it’ll be the right choice.

The other important key is acceptance and realistic expectations. Many years ago I had this romantic notion that eight hours each day, five days each week, would always be enough for getting work done. Add to that three hours of school and half an hour of exercise, and you still have plenty of time for sleep and being a domestic goddess. That’s not how life works. School often takes five hours or more. Or no time at all, since there isn’t any time for school and that’s that. Exercise is usually a distant memory and sleep sits on the bookshelf between Fairy Tales and Rumpelstiltskin. Being a domestic goddess is many miles away from divine most of the time, and every moment of every day of every week seems dedicated to putting out fires and desperately trying to keep promises that seemed so very realistic when they were made. The thing is that when you accept that what is, is; that this is just the way things are, it becomes so much easier to face each challenge rather than always looking for the road to “The-Way-Things-Should-Be Land”.

It’s not easy, and it’s not for the faint hearted. But it is what I wanted and that, too, makes it easier to bear. With the end game in sight, and taking things one step at a time, each day is better than the last.

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