Late afternoon call with a potential client.
I return from picking up my daughter and a friend. They’re hungry, but I don’t have time to stop to get them a snack, so I direct them to ask my oldest daughter to help them.
Except that my oldest daughter has reasons why she doesn’t want to help, right or wrong, and I didn’t take the time to set expectations with her for the afternoon.
And the end result is my youngest daughter coming into my office — more than once — to interrupt the call.
Perhaps I should learn not to, but I apologize profusely, using the word mortifying.
As in, these interruptions and the noises of my children are mortifying.
But are they?
This is who I am.
Though I am building a growing company, I am doing so while working at home and being present with my children.
I have heard stories of people who worked at home a decade or more ago who worked very hard to maintain the appearance that they had a more traditional office. I have never tried to pretend.
Part of what makes my company work well is that it works well for the people working in the company. This means me, too.
Though I would prefer that my children view a closed door as sacrosanct, they are still learning. It’s not realistic for me to set an expectation that they will never interrupt a call, no matter how high the stakes.
And so I must learn to deal with this tension between who I am and who I think the world would want me to be. I wonder and worry that potential clients, no matter how understanding, may get a negative impression when my family needs infringe on my phone calls.
Though we don’t live in a pretend-you-don’t-work-at-home world, I wonder if we still live in a world in which interruptions by children are a major problem.
I want to create, for my employees and subcontractors, a world in which there are no penalties for child noises and inconveniences, one in which a toddler can crawl into mom’s lap during a video call, or where a child can occasionally play nearby while dad stops by the office for a few hours.
One in which they are free to do work they love while they remain present for their families.
And the word mortifying is never used to describe children.