Failing and succeeding as a work-at-home mum

For the last four years, I’ve been mixing being employed and self-employed while having children at home. It has been crazy at time. No, let me correct that. It’s been crazy most of the time.

But, Monday marked a major change.   Firstly, Nathaniel started school full-time.  Secondly, Alex has started his 15 hours free childcare.  Plus, I’ve reduced my employed hours drastically – to 1 day a fortnight – so I am categorising myself as a work-at-home mum.

Which all meant that this week was the first time that I can remember when I had no children at home and could focus on work for a full five hours.  I admit that I had been looking forward to that day for a few months, so I was quite excited for a day of peace, quiet and productivity.

The morning school and nursery drop-offs went without a hitch.  I was home and putting the kettle on by 9:15.  The thought of a cup of tea that may actually get drunk while hot with a chocolate biscuit was almost enough to have me dancing around the kitchen.

cup of tea

With my piping hot tea and cookie in my hand, I sat down, started to look through the to-do list and turned the laptop on, which is when it went wrong.

A large box filled the screen announcing an update and before I could do anything, my desktop disappeared as the update commenced.  It was then that I noticed the update was for Windows 10.  For various reasons, I had decided not to download Windows 10 but now that it was, I couldn’t stop it.  I realised, with some deep breaths, that my daughter must have hit the ‘Yes to upgrade to Windows 10’ button when she borrowed my laptop the day before.

windows 10

In total, it took three hours to upgrade.  So much for my productivity.  I did a little housework, made some notes, wrote some more things onto my to-do list, watched morning television (which wasn’t very inspiring), drunk more tea and ate more biscuits.

But finally, by lunchtime, it had finished and I could do some work before the school run.  I replied to the important emails and then began to enter some new events to the Mums in the Know Telford site that I run.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far due to a message on the screen telling me there was an error sending the emails.

Nearly an hour later, I had input the correct details of my email servers into Outlook more times than I could count, sent several test emails and was generally getting fed up.

But a realisation hit me.  I didn’t need to get annoyed, stressed or frustrated because if I didn’t get everything on my to-do list done on that day, it wasn’t a massive problem.  I could simply do it another day.  Having time in the house alone was no longer a rarity to look forward to for months.  It was going to happen two or three times a week.  Instantly, I felt the pressure relieve and I remembered why I had decided to be a work-at-home mum – to feel less stressed so that I could be a better mum.

So, instead of getting wound up by technology failing and time passing, I decided to have a treat to celebrate my new work/life balance and had a day time shower without needing to rush in case the children were destroying the downstairs.  It was total bliss.

My first day as a work-at-home mum and I did no work.  The day may not have gone as planned but maybe it was what I needed.  I had uninterrupted cups of tea, biscuits, daytime television and a shower, but most importantly, I learnt that the only pressure that I feel is the pressure I put on myself.  And for that reason, I think I succeeded at something as a work-at-home mum (even if it wasn’t work).


(Just in case anyone is interested, the emails wouldn’t send due to the Windows 10 update, so the laptop was out of action for a further hour as it reverted back to Windows 8.)

22 Comments on Failing and succeeding as a work-at-home mum

  1. Louise
    October 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm (1 year ago)

    I thought being a work from home mum would be so easy, but it really isn’t. I enjoy it immensely but it’s hard work, and when laptops act up (or little people won’t settle down at all for you to get anything done) it can be even harder. I’m sure you’ll love it though 😀

    Louise x
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  2. StressedMum
    September 26, 2015 at 3:27 pm (1 year ago)

    I am a work from home Mum as well, and some days it just goes to pot, I admit I am known to putting on the tv and working along whilst listening. There is nothing wrong with a day where you did not complete your to do list.
    StressedMum recently posted…A New BeginningMy Profile

  3. Laura @Life with Baby Kicks
    September 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm (1 year ago)

    Sounds like the perfect first day, and I wouldn’t say nothing got done you just realised that Windows 10 wasn’t the right tool for the job. I think realisations that you have some free time are just as important!
    Laura @Life with Baby Kicks recently posted…Magical Musical BedsMy Profile

  4. Jax Blunt (@liveotherwise)
    September 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm (1 year ago)

    Tech challenges always a great way to spend your day. Not. I admit though, when you said it all went wrong at turning your laptop on, I assumed you were going to say your day disappeared into the black hole that is social media, which happens to me all too frequently!
    Jax Blunt (@liveotherwise) recently posted…Friendship, community and creativityMy Profile

  5. Carla S
    September 26, 2015 at 11:31 am (1 year ago)

    I had similar problems with Windows 10, I got rid of it straight away! I love the idea of being able to work at home and go at my own pace. A lot of the time I too feel like the only pressure we have is always put on by ourselves!
    Carla S recently posted…World Suicide Prevention Day 2015My Profile

  6. Kate ✚
    September 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm (1 year ago)

    Ease yourself in gently, I say! I’m sure you’ll have your work at home routine nailed in no time. I’m trying to establish myself as a ‘work at home mum’ too. Some days are more successful than others 😉
    Kate ✚ recently posted…My best girlMy Profile

  7. hayley
    September 25, 2015 at 12:26 am (1 year ago)

    I’m a work at home mum too, and that sounds similar to the story of most of my days except I don’t manage to be calm about it…I usually end up screaming at the computer and panicking about how little I’ve checked off the to do list that day!!
    Hopefully you’ll find your rhythm and become much more organised than I manage to be! It does have its bonuses xx
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  8. Gemma
    September 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm (1 year ago)

    I think I went through all the emotions with you as I read this the frustration that technology causes ! But I like what u learned I’m so taking a leaf out of your book x
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  9. Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life
    September 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm (1 year ago)

    oh no I have heard nothing but bad things about the windows 10 update so I am putting it off. I bet it was lovely drinking a cup of tea in peace and having the house to yourself for a change, I am glad you got a chance to enjoy it even if it was not what you planned xx
    Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life recently posted…Gung-Ho Came To NewcastleMy Profile

  10. LadyNicci
    September 23, 2015 at 10:34 am (1 year ago)

    I have only one kiddle but I know exactly what you mean about that stress we put on ourselves! I blogged about it recently too – sometimes you take a step back and say ‘what will actually happen if I don’t get those emails sent?’ the answer of course is nothing, and that realisation is very pressure lifting! windows 10 sounds like a nightmare!
    LadyNicci recently posted…How to survive the Ploughing Championships and get your wellies homeMy Profile

  11. Sandra Harty
    September 23, 2015 at 9:21 am (1 year ago)

    so bloody typical, but at least you realised that there was no pint getting stressed and frustrated and you right you have again tomorrow and you got to enjoy your first working mum at home day
    Sandra Harty recently posted…SHADES OF AUTUMN ON A RAINY DAY IN THE PARKMy Profile

  12. Ana De- Jesus
    September 23, 2015 at 8:40 am (1 year ago)

    You have sacrificed so much for your children so it is right that you should reward yourself once in a while. Make sure you get some regular rest and it is true that it is difficult to strike a balance between work and play, I am a workaholic so it is difficult for me to take a break!

  13. Charlotte Braithwaite
    September 23, 2015 at 8:20 am (1 year ago)

    I left windows a while ago and it was the best thing Ive ever done.
    I’m now part of the mac crew – come to the dark side you’ll love it.
    But on a serious note – Its really disheartening when you have things planned and they get foiled from no fault of your own. Don’t let it get you down sugar

    Charlotte x
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  14. Zena's Suitcase
    September 23, 2015 at 8:19 am (1 year ago)

    It sounds like the Windows 10 update is good for something, some very well deserved me time. I’m glad your machine lived to tell the tale. My son’s didn’t come out the other side quite so well
    Zena’s Suitcase recently posted…Brakeburn Vintage Bicycles Saddle Bag ReviewMy Profile

  15. The L's Mum
    September 23, 2015 at 6:19 am (1 year ago)

    I know exactly how you feel. I work from home and it is so tough when things don’t go to plan but you are right in saying the only pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves. Sometimes a day to recharge is just what you need. I hope you enjoyed it 🙂
    The L’s Mum recently posted…When you are not the mum you wanted to beMy Profile

  16. Helen | Wonderfully Average
    September 22, 2015 at 9:04 pm (1 year ago)

    What a frustrating day, it seriously annoys me when technology doesn’t do what you need it to! Hot cups of tea, biscuits and relaxing showers sound pretty amazing though. Enjoy your new work/life balance x
    Helen | Wonderfully Average recently posted…10 things I hate about drivingMy Profile

  17. Janine
    September 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm (1 year ago)

    The fact that you were on Windows 7 it must have been a serious shock as it looks so much different. I was never a fan of Windows 8 but these days all you can do is purchase Windows 8 laptops so for XMas I got one and I am ok with out and will upgrade to Windows 10 tonight.
    Janine recently posted…My Blog Stats To DateMy Profile

  18. Rachel
    September 22, 2015 at 11:15 am (1 year ago)

    I think I was far too eager to upgrade to Windows 10 because it has been an absolute nightmare from start to finish on my work desktop, it has uninstalled everything! x
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  19. Fi Ní Neachtáin
    September 22, 2015 at 10:52 am (1 year ago)

    It can be so annoying not being able to get anything that you had planned to do done. But you know what, it must have been great to have the house to yourself and you did some housework so you’re doing better than me 😉

  20. Tessa
    September 22, 2015 at 9:53 am (1 year ago)

    This sounds like it went perfectly to me! I do applaud you for not getting mad at the laptop though, at the beginning of this year I bought myself a rather expensive one in the hope it would improve my productivity (which it has in some ways) and the price of it just makes it all the more annoying when things go wrong on it! You should definitely enjoy those moments to yourself though x
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  21. Anna Fraser
    September 22, 2015 at 9:32 am (1 year ago)

    Well, you have just described my morning! I have to say that technology drives me absolutely bonkers and I categorically HATE IT most of the time. It just seems to waste so much of my very important time some how… But hey ho, as bloggers, we need it (unfortunately!)

    I can also totally relate to the pure exhilaration and weirdness at suddenly finding yourself with some ‘child free’ time on your hands. I have 4 children and last week marked the point at which all children are now at school. After 16 years of having a pre-schooler, that chapter is finally closed. I thought I would totally hate it, but you know, I kinda like it 🙂 … even with all those soul sucking techy issues that undoubtedly crop up to ruin/waste my day. Because like you say: there is always a nice cheery biscuit and cup of tea to be had (in peace)!
    Great post, Anna x
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  22. Lisa - Leelee Loves
    September 22, 2015 at 7:39 am (1 year ago)

    As annoying as having all of your to-do-list plans shattered may have been I think you may have got the better option of the perfect first day alone! I imagine i felt amazing 🙂 Xx
    Lisa – Leelee Loves recently posted…Specsavers Frame Styling ExperienceMy Profile

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