7 Reasons Your Kids Interrupt Your Work
In a recent discussion with a friend, she stated that summer was a time for fun, but also for headaches. You see, as strategic freelancers, our clients count on us to deliver seamlessly. This is regardless if our children’s school is in session, or not. My friend felt like every time she started a project, the kids interrupt; and therefore, no work was completed.
I created a poll on Facebook to see just how common this situation was. It turns out, having an issue with kids that interrupt not only occurs with work at home moms, like me and my friend, but also with all moms in general. Little people love to be the center of attention. Trust me; I know! I have three lovely ones myself. The minute the chores begin, the disruptions start, too. If this sounds relatable to you, then continue reading. There is a lot to discuss. I’ve got 7 reasons your kids interrupt your work/chores, and what you can do about it.
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I’ve been through it, too. I understand.
As said before, I’m a work at home mom. If there is something that a WAHM knows, it is that days with the kids are unpredictable. My two year old stays home and the older two, go to school. My usual plan was to work like a mad woman when my youngest took her daily nap. However, there were times when this plan did not completely follow through.
For instance, one of the older children may have stayed home sick. Snotty and feeling terrible, I’d put them to rest on the couch. It never lasted very long though. My previously “too sick to go to school” child would begin to get bored. And before I knew it, they started whining and crying. Which, consequently, gets the youngest aboard the whiny train as well. Now, everyone is upset; and I am frazzled.
So, it is clearly an understatement to say that I have empathy for the scenario. I’ve been through this. The friend I mentioned earlier, has been through this. The moms that answered my Facebook poll, have been through this. Let’s sit down and discuss exactly why it happens. Are you ready? Let’s go!
1. You didn’t feed them.
The first possible reason the kids interrupt your work is because you didn’t feed them. If your littles are anything like mine, they graze all day. That means you have to keep the supply of snacks and meals on hand. I dry a lot of strawberries, as well as stock the fridge with yogurts and cheeses. Anytime they need something to nosh on, it’s there.
2. You didn’t greet them.
So, my kids have free rein throughout our home. They go from their bedrooms, to the bathroom, and out to the kitchen/living area. Often they will spend 15 minute blocks of time, in their room before they decide to walk out. If I do not acknowledge their presence, then a magical trigger is pushed on them, and work disruption begins. It does not matter if I am at our kitchen island typing away at my computer, or if I’m washing the dishes. Do yourself a favor and be conscious of your children’s movement around the house. Say something EVERY TIME they come in the same room.
3. You didn’t let them know your plans.
My youngest is 2. I still let her know what I’m doing throughout the day. Imagine, you and your spouse are sitting on the couch, watching This Is Us. Suddenly, right before Rebecca admits to a big secret, your spouse comes into the room with a vacuum and blares away. You can’t hear anything and are startled by the loud noise. How mad would you be?
Now think about this from the perspective of your child. You are doing all of these (in their eyes, random) actions, and they either feel left out, or disrupted themselves. There’s a lot more peace in my home when I tell the kids how the day will flow.
Here’s an example of what I tell them:
- In 15 minutes, we are going to have lunch.
- After lunch, you guys are going to sit at the table to color.
- Mommy will be at the table, too; but, I will be typing.
Keep your explanations short, simple, and frequent. Then repeat in brief.
- Lunch then color. Okay, guys? (Kids nod in agreement.)
Read Next: Momprenuer: How I got my WAHM act together.
In the real world, kids interrupt.
Let’s take a brief break from this post to remember the value of grace. (Both for you and your kids.) We cannot prevent all interruptions; and furthermore, we cannot fool proof all plans. What we can do, however, is change our perspective to make things less chaotic. Our children have no control over the situations we place them. Even though my current assignment is momprenuer, my ultimate calling is to use God’s example as a parent. I always prioritize my calling above my assignment.
4. They want to help, too.
All of my kids could say the word, “help” by the time they were one and a half years old. They have always let me know that they wanted to, “help, too”. It didn’t matter if I was scrubbing toilets, typing memos, or trying to prune the outside hedges in our yard. They would constantly repeat their need to participate.
And that’s the deal. Your child is interfering, so to speak, in your progress because they think they could be of value. Their heart is in the right place. Handle the situation delicately, even if it means letting them push the vacuum for a minute.
5. You’re trying to do your work at the wrong time.
Are you trying to prep food for dinner, right before dinner? Like, when everyone is already hungry and in need of attention. Are you trying to do a load of laundry right after bath time? You know, the time when everyone is tired and in need of a bedtime story. The same theory applies to consultations and writing services of the working mom. It’s all about timing.
Kids interrupt because you are trying to do your work at the wrong time. Consider waking before the kids, food prep at another time, or scratching things off the list altogether. I’m a stickler for deep cleaning my vertical blinds every 30 days, but would it kill me to skip it one month? You bet not. Sometimes, you’ve got to know when to let things go.
6. They’ve been ignored for too long.
Ouch. I know this one hurts. We’ve all been there. Trying to write one more paper, or do one more chore. We tell the kids, “in a minute,” ten times then wonder why they get frustrated. Take a deep breath. Try switching gears. It’s times like this, I have to really calm myself down and think once more about my priorities.
Of course, clients depend on us. Husbands depend on us. An entire multitude of things, people, and functions depend on us. You want to know the kicker? So, do your children.
I’m not here to make anyone feel guilty. I write this post because, honestly, I needed help myself. It took a lot of trial and error to finally hone in an recognize all the signs. Learn from it and move one. No sipping on haterade here.
Read Next: My open letter to moms with small children. It’s the perfect correspondence for this section.
7. You didn’t ask for help.
Sometimes, we have to call for reinforcements. If there is a really big project that you cannot say no to, it’s time to ask for help. Grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles…. they are all family figures in your child’s life. Ask them if they can take your littles for a short amount of time so the kids won’t interrupt your work.
At the end of the day, we must remember one thing. When our hands are full, it’s the best time to live life to the fullest.