Whenever I tell people that I work from home, they often marvel about how nice it must be.
“Your commute is nonexistent!” The walk from my bed to my desk is pretty brief.
“You don’t have to deal with annoying co-workers!” STOP RIGHT THERE.
True, my interactions with my peers are limited to email and the occasional conference call, but trust me when I say that my children are the worst co-workers anyone can ever have.
You know how there’s that co-worker who always types emails in all capital letters and you don’t know why they are outraged over something as innocuous as the order of the agenda for the meeting? My screaming 2-year-old is the equivalent of that. She’s like, “LION MOVIE! DA LION SHOW OR I NOT HAPPY!” And I’m all, “Why are you shouting? We’re simply trying to pick a show you can watch so I can work. Also, I’m standing 3 feet from your face, and you have terrible grammar.”
What’s worse, my kids are constantly in “reply all” mode. Everyone needs to know everything. My kid goes to the bathroom on the potty and he says, “Can we call Daddy to tell him?” (Dude, you’re 5, and you’ve been going on the potty for years. I think we can spare Daddy this one phone call.) My husband scolds my daughter for throwing toys, and she immediately walks over to me to tell me about it, despite the fact that I was standing right there and saw the whole thing. Kids, much like co-workers who use “reply all,” cannot grasp that not everyone is on a “need to know” basis.
Then there are those co-workers who like to open the door to your office unannounced, plop themselves in a chair and talk to you while you are clearly trying to get your job done. When I was working full-time, the office pop-in was a regular thing. “I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to you in a while! How are you? Don’t answer, let me ramble about my children for 20 minutes,” they would say. After a while, I would barely look away from my computer so they got the hint that, as I had just stated a few minutes earlier, now is not a good time.
Kids don’t pick up on that message. They are oh-so-fond of the office pop-in. “Mom! I haven’t yelled in your face for five minutes. I don’t care how you are or what you are doing. Wait, I do care what you are doing. I’m going to crawl into your lap and bang on your keyboard. CTRL + Alt + Delete. Erase all files. Now, let’s somehow send a naughty link to your boss …”
My kids are those co-workers who have seemingly been there forever, and you’re like, “Why haven’t you been fired yet?” They usually don’t do what they are told, and if they do, it is incredibly sloppy. I asked my son to put away his laundry the other day. He returned 10 minutes later to report that the task was completed. When I walked into his room later, I saw that every one of his drawers were opened, and it appeared his bureau vomited socks, underwear and T-shirts all over the floor. How does he still have a job?
My little co-workers always steal my lunch. They constantly leave a mess in the bathroom we share. Their little workspaces are a disaster. They do disgusting things in the office, like pick their noses. They make a lot of noise, they never offer to help, they are always running late and I can’t remember the last time it was THEIR turn to bring in the office treat.
But, they are pretty adorable. Sometimes, their interruptions provide a nice break. And honestly, they do motivate me to work harder. I suppose I won’t file an official complaint about them. Yet.