Hiding in home office

About the advantages and disadvantages of working from home for working parents

It’s 2:16 p.m. That gives me about five minutes to get a cup of tea before the kids get back from daycare. Daniel has already vacated his workstation at the dining table and disappeared into the bedroom – one of our two extremely professional workstations in the home office. I sit in the children’s room at my daughter’s height-adjustable desk (which, of course, she never uses anyway at the age of three). Our living situation simply doesn’t allow for each room to have just one function at the moment. We won’t have that luxury until we move into the house when it’s ready next year.

Until then, our private “WeWork” or co-working solution rules here. During the day, the shared nursery, where the two minis stay, and our bedroom, are where we work and make millions on behalf of clients (exaggerated, admittedly, but sounds cooler). And we can actually do that from our home, non-ergonomically set-up workstation. This is something our clients would never have believed before the Corona pandemic, that consultants or agency folks could be productive from home. Well, they were taught better the hard way for all of us.


For us parents, not being constantly on the road brings numerous advantages. I wouldn’t be able to do my job in consulting anymore, because I couldn’t possibly be on the road four days a week and leave my husband alone with the kids (one and two years old) at night – he’s definitely on the road from time to time, too.

The commute to work is no longer necessary and the annoying commute, which despite the subway connection to the city costs a good hour and a half every day, is instead credited to our resilience account.


And bang – I hear the children coming in just at that moment, who our aupair has picked up – and that brings us to the disadvantages. Screaming can now be tolerated quite well and we are far from being helicopter parents. But as soon as we show ourselves when the little ones are back, the quiet afternoon at work is over.

Quickly make a coffee / tea or get water? Nerve food from the kitchen drawer? – Forget it.

With watchful children, this trip to the kitchen and living room easily takes 10 or 15 minutes instead of two, if they let us go again without screaming at all. Of course, it’s nice to see them during the day and to be near them, especially when they fall down and need to be comforted, or just to give ourselves a little quality time. But when it’s not convenient, because the head is still busy with many other thoughts and is stuck at work, our self-chosen workspace turns from a retreat into a prison. I regularly prefer to stay behind the closed door of the children’s room than to set foot in front of it and “risk” that my children see me during the day and have saved from that moment on that mom is there. The consequence of this is: A three year old standing at the staircase who can easily stand half an hour at a time shouting “Maaaaama” at a volume that not even the best noise cancelling filters in teams or headphones can hide from other meeting participants. Or the crying one-year-old who can only ever be happy again on mommy’s arm and on no other arm – at least for the next 10 minutes.

I have not yet fully managed to acquire the nerve framework for this – but I am working on it. And all in all, the closeness to our children is something beautiful that I wouldn’t want to miss!

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