Suddenly Home SEVEN: Let the dishes pile up

My apologies for the hiatus.

In my last post (Keeping the Kids at a Distance) I mentioned how my husband and I have learned to give our daughters the run the house during our work hours.

We just ignore the collateral damage until the end of the day. It’s the only way to keep our parenting duties (all but the essential ones) from dragging us away from work.

In an earlier post I also explained why you have to stake out physical territory to keep your concentration.

You need to protect your professional mindset as well.

In my experience, any activity related to cleaning or organizing household items is a direct threat to work. Sound paradoxical? Cleaning up craft supplies, filling the dishwasher and folding laundry seem like useful activities to squeeze into work hours, but they’re not. When you are trying to work, they are distractions.

If you don’t put housework off until you leave the office, it will suck the life out of your workday.

It might be the hardest thing to ignore, but everyone working at home has to resist the siren call of the kitchen sink. I might be hardcore, but I also avoid filling the dishwasher.

If you are new at the home office, you have seen just how fast the pile grows when you cook three meals at home.  For those of working with kids at home, this has become to be infinitely harder. Because even when kids or teenagers occupy themselves during the day, they eat.

Still, even though the stack of dishes has reached a new scale, from Monday to Friday, we let it grow until we clock out of the office. Same goes for everything else lying around the house. When I see open paperback novels, pens, erasers, markers, USB keys and phone chargers littering my living space, I just move on until I get “home from work.”

One trick I have for avoiding the housework trap is to make sure whatever else I do during the day has a beginning and an end. Like a walk. Or a cup of coffee. We all know housework is a bottomless well. Starting chores in the middle of the day is like jumping down the rabbit hole with a rag and a bottle of bleach.

If I’m not making coffee, eating lunch or catering to another essential need, I try to leave the premises for a break. Yes, that was easier a month ago when it was still legal to step off our front porch. But even quick walk around the block is better than sliding down the slippery slope of housework.