If you check out my right sidebar this week, you might notice a new “piece of flair”. Yep. A Mumsnet badge. They finally let me join their blogging network. It was the least they could do, given that their forums are the number one barrier to my productivity! So just for the other Mumsnetters out there, here’s a post all about trying to work from home and some of the challenges to getting the job done.
Even though Re-Creations main activity is helping people with disabilities through upcycling groups, sometimes (often) there is just more work than we can finish at group. Which means Mummy gets to work from home. And while I had visions of blissfully crafting away with the children, with a full pot of coffee on the go and maybe Pride and Prejudice on the DVD player, the reality falls somewhat short of expectations.
Taking mummy’s craft things and tipping them out on the floor is their main contribution. This is especially helpful when everything has been pre-sorted by colour and size. It does give me a warm glow when I hear them say things like, “When I grow up, I’m having a hammer like mummy’s”. (Take that, traditional gender roles!) But the glow tends to fade just a bit when you catch them “fixing” the TV with their toy mallets. And Colin Firth on the telly? Yeah, right. With tots tumbling underfoot, the best you can look forward to is an endless loop of SpongeBob and Willy Wonka, which, lets face it, is one of Johnny Depp’s less fanciable roles.
Fuzzies: In addition to the kiddiwinks, I’ve found that pets are also keen to join in the upcycling fun. And not just mine. Cats have been known to travel from 3 gardens over when there’s some scrap bunting afoot.
Cute, right? Yeah, they’re not even my cats. Mine is much worse. He thinks he’s in charge of the proceedings, and has very strong opinions on how this bunting should be arranged.
Storage: Every work-at-home mum has to deal with the issue of separating work-space from living-space. With upcycling, this can become a challenge because almost any piece of trash has the potential to become your raw materials. If you train your brain to look at rubbish in terms of what you can make from it, it can get a little difficult to throw things out. Sometimes, you might even seek out certain types of rubbish.
Like today, I bought some eggs at the supermarket. No big deal, right? Except I already had eggs. I didn’t buy more just because of their super-low price or because I wanted to make hubby his favourite omlettes for tea. (Shh, he doesn’t need to know that!) I bought these eggs because they came in a green carton, which I wanted to make into flowers to add to my egg carton fairy lights.
Totally worth it. But it also means that storage becomes a major issue if you want to avoid being featured on Hoarders: Buried Alive. There’s a whole other post coming on how to organize your crafting space, but a big part of the solution is to make use of all of your available storage space. Last week that meant…
The Loft Hatch of Evil. Some super-bulky and seldom-used items just have to be tucked up out of the way, where we keep the Christmas things and the spare spiders. Entrance into the Loft Hatch of Evil is not to be taken lightly, as it requires climbing all the way up the stepladder onto the step that is not a step. The spider-death ladder combination is a helpful deterrent to hoarding. It forces me to ask myself the question: “You want to keep that…enough to die for it?”
The Fridge: Major occupational hazard when working from home. Especially if you had something super tasty for dinner last night. It’s crazy. If I’m delivering workshops I’ll often skip lunch just to keep my rhythm going. At home, I’ll find myself wandering over to the fridge just to see if any new food has grown there in the last half hour. Luckily several of the guys in the group are skilled at taking very unflattering photos of my butt. (No, I’m not posting them here) But it’s helpful to stick them on the fridge as a reminder that I don’t really need any more junk in my trunk.
Housework: I’m sure my other half would be happy to testify that housework isn’t one of my preferred occupations. But give me some invoices or a funding application to work on, and I’ll be damned if my skirting boards don’t suddenly need a good polish. And that kettle could really do with de-scaling and I’m sure it’s been ages since anybody thought to pair up the odd socks… If the house is clean, it’s a pretty good indication that I’m putting off something super boring.
The Spouse: For me, the biggest challenge to the work-life barriers when working from home is definitely the DH. (Dear Husband, if you’re not up to speed on parenting forum lingo) From his perspective, what I do when I’m working from home sometimes looks an awful lot like what he does when he’s “playing on the computer”. So it shouldn’t be a big deal to stop what I’m doing and hang out some laundry, right? Or take his dog to the vet? “But why can’t you sort out my iTunes? You’re home all day…” At the end of a day when I’ve transformed 4 duvet covers into 20 metres of bunting with the help of 3 cats and two toddlers, through endless episodes of Spongebob Squarepants and while resisting the allure of a fresh packet of custard creams, the DH is duty-bound to ask “Why is it so messy in here? Is there any dinner?” At moments like those, the only thing that prevents me from introducing my spouse to the business end of my frying pan is the sure knowledge that upcycling at home is probably just a little easier than…