Today, I made the mistake of Googling all the bad habits of unsuccessful people everywhere to try to figure out how to be productive as a stay at home freelance writer mom. The results are not surprising. While parenting, I have unwittingly acquired some if not all of those unsuccessful habits.
Acquiring these habits is the wrong word here. These habits were forced upon me by my child who I need to take care of. This child demands attention. This child doesn’t sleep. This child is the reason that I have turned from a person with habits of successful person to one with the habits of an unsuccessful person.
If you are such a parent attempting to work from home with a flock of children, then you will understand.
What parents everywhere need are productivity tips for parents. No, I correct myself. Tell me how would you connect with your children while attempting to distance yourself enough to accomplish tasks? How do you break up your children’s fights while attempting to post your latest article on social media?
I would like to know how do you split yourself into two: the parent and the working adult.
If there’s a way for me to split myself into two and then merge myself back into a whole being at the end of the day, I would gladly do it.
So, for your amusement, here are all 10 of my very bad habits.
Have you ever tried typing on your computer with one hand while holding a toddler who refuses to eat his food? This is a regular occurrence at my house. Have you ever tried to break up a fight between siblings who want to smack one another, while trying to talk to your boss on the phone? This is a regular occurrence at my neighbor’s house. So there, with parenthood come distractions of exponential orders of magnitude.
Let’s see a successful person deal with all of these distractions while trying to work. Unless you are a navy seal quality soldier, I don’t think you can handle this one.
Focused on unfinished business
How many items are on your todo list? My todo list is perpetual. Perpetual means “to the infinity”. This means that it extends beyond time. It means that my list never ends. That’s right. There’s not one day that I get around to all the items. The list just grows longer, longer, and longer.
In the process, every day, at the end of the day, I focus on the unfinished business — my unfinished business. Most of the time, there’s despair when I think about my unfinished business. Does that mean that I’m a negative person focused on negativity? You tell me. What does helplessness and guilty feel like?
Everyone told me to not worry when I embarked on parenthood. Everyone tells me that every single day. But, I will worry. My little one is counting on me. The world saddens me. Thinking about the future bothers me. Even politics make me weep. This is all because I have a little one. Sue me. I have never met a loving parent who did not worry.
Worry is a product of loving someone so fiercely that you want absolutely the best for them.
You can say that I procrastinate all the time. Just last week, I handed in work late to clients. They were understanding but most of the time there’s a risk of not getting paid at all. When I try my best and it’s still not enough, then it’s just tough luck for me.
I chose to have a child. This just means that my child will come in first all the time. If there’s a sickness, then there will be a chance of all-nighters. If I can’t pull the all-nighters to get it done because I’m exhausted, then I will be labeled a procrastinator.
Talking over children
I talk over my child all the time. After the 20th time my child has asked me a question, I will talk over my child. I’m a patient person. I explain. But, my child is not yet a rational being.
So, yes, sometimes, when I’m at my wit’s end, I will talk over my child to get my child to listen. It’s like trying to conduct an orchestra of farming equipment. Everyone’s got an agenda, you just have to talk loud enough for everyone to hear you.
Lounge on the sofa
By dinner time, I will need to sit down. I have been standing, lying on the floor playing lego, and even pretending to be choo-choo train playing with my son all day. So here I am on the sofa properly sitting after 12 hrs. I’m sorry but you can call me lazy. I need these 20 minutes to decompress, otherwise, I will start to cry.
There’s no crime in being exhausted. But, you know at the end of all of this exhaustion, you will still feel like an inadequate parent. You will feel like a failure. That kind of exhaustion only a parent knows. It’s the kind that’s riddled with guilt. I’m sorry but there’s no way to butter this one up. If I feel like giving up for the day and crawl into bed, then there’s nothing you can do to drag me out and be productive.
Yelling at people when my patience has been trampled on
I’m a patient parent. I’m so patient, I rarely yell. But, when I yell at my son for something he knows so well not to do, it’s usually after two weeks of having my words and directions be trampled on. Not only that, my son probably set fire to my words and directions so bad that it feels like he turned into an alien. So, yes, like any normal sane parent, I will yell at him to stop acting like a prick. That is what good parents will do: set firm boundaries.
Sorry, I’m done. I’m done for the day. See that, that’s an iPad in my son’s hand. He knows mommy’s exhausted. And, yes I gave it to him so that I can catch my breath at the end of a very long day. It’s probably the 18th hour of the day for me. I have just 6 hours to sleep. Then, I have to get up to do that all over again.
If you are a parent, you know that no productivity tips will help you in parenthood. Most of the time, if you are working from home with children, you are working in a war zone.
So, I give you props for trying. I give you props for just staying sane.
I’m not going to ask you to be productive.
Whatever you need to get to items on your todo list is fine with me.
About the Author
Jun Wu is a Content Writer for Technology, AI, Data Science, Psychology, and Parenting. She has a background in programming and statistics. On her spare time, she writes poetry and blogs on her website.