I work from home, I'm not a housewife | Fairygodboss
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As you can see here from the comments - you are not alone!! My husband and I are both working from home (no kids) and he still sits at his desk until I tell him food is ready. It.Is.INFURIATING!!! The fact that other family members are calling asking for things is bonkers to me!! I think the only way out is clear communication, setting-boundaries, and managing expectations. It will take a while but consistency is key here! You also want your time and job to be respected as the kids get older! In the mornings, maybe you can start to lay out clear expectations for your husband. I have a busy day today (you can say that every single day) and I will need you to be in charge of x today (example: dinner). I should be done with work at xpm (if you know about when you'll be done) and then I'll start x, y, z. If you could be in charge of a, b, c, that would be incredibly helpful. Also, as a general reminder/rule - always say thank you to one another for doing what you do. If he loads the dishwasher, thank him - even if it's expected for him to do that; and he should thank you for making dinner, even if you do it every day. It shows your partner that you appreciate them and expressing gratitude does wonders for your partner, yourself, and models great expectations for your kids! Good luck!
Tara Fleming-Hager
Advocate and organize in Fairfax
I choose thirteen years ago to become a stay at home mom and fine a business where I could work from home. I completely understand what you are going thru. My husband is home and barely doesn't anything. I am in the office eight hours a day as well as keeping a schedule with two of three boys in virtual learning and running a home based business. I don't really have a lot of time for my stuff. I feel most day like my head is going to explode. My suggestions make time for you for stress management. I have learned when I am with the kids that I will have all of housework done with them or when I take a break for my desk. I work in time blocks and when I am not at the computer on a break I will clean a kids bathroom or going downstairs and do the breakfast dishes. You are hardworking supermom. If your husband doesn't understand that he need to switch roles for 24 hrs.
Beverly Ruyle
Boundaries, list/split the chores are all great advice. I would add - Hire a maid/nanny/personal errand runner/baby sitter at least for a couple of days of the week. It made all the difference while mine was little.
Gabrielle Wonnell
I have thought about this topic a lot recently as more of us are teleworking than ever before. I know it can be hard, but I do not answer personal/family calls during the day at this point, unless I know something urgent is going on. It is the clearest way to set that boundary for myself. We went through some marital growing pains about dishes and such, too. I finally asked my husband to step in to take care of everything related to remote school and household stuff on a day I needed to go to my office. That one day, when he wasn't even trying to do his own job, was enough of an eye opener and things have gotten better.
Krista Haugner Sieg, MBA
FairyGodBoss In Training. D & I Advocate.
Such an amazing thread above! I only have two tactical type items that I can add. 1 - I put my personal phone on do not disturb when I have critical meetings (I try to remember for all, but have to admit I sometimes forget). 2 - If I do get a call during a meeting (or even just during my workday) from family, I respond with the following text. "I'm in a meeting/working. What's wrong? Is everyone okay?" I found that doing this a couple of times drove home that I am working and calling me during the day is for an emergency not to chat about what the menu should be for Thanksgiving or other non-critical items.
User edited comment on 11/23/20 at 3:55PM UTC
Sarah Mayberry
Knowledge and online community manager
I used to run into this a lot. My father was the biggest offender. He is self employed and assumed I had the same level of flexibility to work when I wanted to. The best was when he showed up and wanted me to help install a new porch door on my house. He did not understand why I couldn't drop everything to help. A fun education thing I've done in the past (pre-COVID) was working at different family member's houses for the day. My grandparents were the best ones to educate. I was even able to let them join a video call. They really developed a better understanding and appreciation of my job. Plus, it was quite the discussion topic for many months too :)
Jacqueline Cutler
First, congratulations on the wonderful, and big job! Second, congratulations on having two small children. And, finally, congrats on not killing anyone (I hope) just yet. I, too, worked from home, full-time while raising my children and for a few of those years had my MIL live with us. (Not to help, but because she was quite ill, though she did help just by being part of the family.) Still, there were criticisms. What I found helpful was to realize how things were for her, then, raising my husband, versus how they are for me, when I was raising my children. The first thing I would do is talk with your husband. Alone, away from the children, the in-laws, everything and everyone. Go out with him, even if it is for a walk, even if you have to hire a babysitter. Grab coffees, take a drive but look him in the eye and set out a) how you are feeling and b) what you are doing and c) what he needs to do. He can begin by telling his mother, privately, perhaps when they can spend an afternoon alone, that she can no longer criticize you. Then have a real talk about what must get done around the house, and what can be left alone. Dishes must be washed, but does the garage really need to be organized? There is so much laundry, so many meals to prep when they are this young. Prioritize -- with your husband -- and see which chores, responsibilities, you each want. As far as not being rude to relatives, that sounds quite unlikely. If someone asks you to do something, you need to say, "I would love to, but I am working then." Leave it at that. If they ask what you do, by all means tell them -- in great detail. Let them be in awe of your abilities. I ran into this constantly when my kids were young. While working from home, in the age before Zoom, I was usually in my uniform of worn-in jeans and a black T-shirt, so who would think I was working? But the hours the kids were at school were my most important. I needed to be as efficient as possible. That included not going out for coffees with the other moms after school drop-offs. If they didn't like me, well, so what? I probably can't even name them 20 years later. Your real friends will pitch in. And for whatever it is worth, for about seven years, while I was working from home, my next-door neighbor, a man, also worked from home. His wife had a big job in the city and he worked from the home office. We would commiserate that no one thought we were working because we were home. Today, more people get it. But first set the parameters with your husband and if relatives push, turn it around on them. "Funny, I was going to ask if you could do that for me, you know, since I have a huge job, am raising two toddlers and just trying to keep it together." Also, have the kids make something for grandma at preschool. She may appreciate it more then.
Nicole Kressin
I'm surprised that most of these responses gloss over the gravity of working from home while caring for two very small children. I worked from home with my one 1-year old for three months. It was the hardest, most exhausting few months of my career. I got no breaks from work or my child, I couldn't properly care for him, and I couldn't really focus on anything work-related, either. Luckily for me, my husband understood how hard it was. This husband and mother in law are so far out of line, it's unbelievable. Anyone with judgy comments or advice on what she should be doing differently doesn't know what they are talking about, plain and simple.
Kati Nizzi
Software Delivery Professional
Oh boy... this is a hot button for a lot of us; you are not alone and you are very much appreciated by your family (even when it doesn't feel like you are). The comments about transparency, writing things down, and clear communication are where I would start too. I'm not sure if you have a therapist, but mine helped me a ton in situations like this. She gave me tools and strategies to communicate my needs with my family and get my voice heard without screaming and having fights all the time. Best of luck - I know you'll get it straightened out. We are a community behind you, supporting you and rooting for you the whole way!
Samantha M. Besnoff, CPA
Your Financial Maven
I have been in your shoes. One if the things that really helped our family was doing a google calendar. Yes that seems silly, but having everyone's schedule on for both personal and work helped my husband and I figure things out. As for the rest of the family, I would try to ignore it as much as possible. It's hard I get it, but wasting your time and energy dealing with that takes away from all of the time and energy you can put into both your business and of course being home when you have the time with your family. And also I think it's great that your son is going to daycare even if it's just for a couple of days a week. Not only is it helping you, but it's also helping him get socialized wishing you all the best.