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Anyone else's family not believe that WFH = work?
106

InescapableDeath · 23/08/2020 10:29

My husband and I have been working from home since lockdown, also home-educating two kids for most of that. It's been exhausting (I know a lot of people have it tougher).

I don't think our parents believe we actually have work to do? My husband works fulltime, and I work part-time in a really full-on agency job where I have to declare what I'm doing by the hour. I've compressed my hours to four long days over the lockdown/holidays so I can actually spend Fridays talking to my children - as soon as they are back to school I'm doing five shorter days again.

My parents and the in-laws have done things like phoning in the day and getting a bit upset if we can't chat. Inviting us to garden parties on a Thursday and being super surprised that we have work to do? Not understanding that as well as working in the day, we often have to work in the evening as well. I'm not expecting them to throw a pity party for us - it is what it is - but they haven't ever even offered sympathy or 'that sounds hard'.

My parents rang yesterday to announce they are visiting us soon which is great - we haven't seen them since about January.

But they're arriving the Friday morning that the kids are back at school and I was planning to be back working Fridays then! My husband will have loads of work/calls to be doing too. It's pointless telling them to come later. They leave home at 6am so they can get to ours at 9 and beat the traffic.

Every time I mentioned the work situation my dad completely changed the topic - I don't think it's malicious, he just doesn't get what my work actually involves and if I'm not going 'out' to work, it's like he thinks can't be that big a deal (he essentially worked in a factory when he was working).

I want to see them so it's fine, I will move back working Fridays by one week but I honestly think both sets of parents think we are just doing gardening while we're working from home...

I really can't work AND see them - I usually have deadlines for work in the course of a day, as well as loads of video calls, random calls on my phone, etc. Last time the in-laws popped in I ended up cancelling all my afternoon meetings and doing the work in the evening. Not ideal.

ARGH, is it just me?

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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Twilightsparkle84 · 23/08/2020 10:34

We have this too. I'm absolutely shattered as have been working 6/7 days a week and some evenings to try and do my full time hours around the children. My MIL has even said 'it must be nice to be off with the children' 🙄

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nc600 · 23/08/2020 10:37

Honestly. If WFH is going to be permanent then I'd work that Friday. I'd ask them to sit as silently as possible once they arrive having provided snacks and a pile of magazines and let them hear that you are actually very busy working!

They can browse the takeaway menus for that evening Grin

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CaptainMerica · 23/08/2020 10:39

Same here. In laws kept sending us links to things to "help fill our time", when I was getting 6 hours sleep per night, and zero waking hours when I wasn't working or trying to stop a 3 year old and 6 year old kill each other.

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animalmagic1984 · 23/08/2020 10:40

YANBU, during full lockdown I had to move back to my parents as my mum wasn't very well and so I was trying to juggle looking after her and also WFH (she's OK now thankfully).

My Dad said to me after about a week of being there whilst I was making some time up during the evening, "so you really do do a lot of work when working from home", I think he had always thought it was just netflix and chilling in the garden before he saw what I actually had to do!

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Brefugee · 23/08/2020 10:40

could you just work compressed hours again that one week so you can see your parents on the Friday? or can you work and just ignore them?

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Hedgehog44 · 23/08/2020 10:41

My mum definitely thinks WFH means I sit and watch Loose Women and drink tea all day. I WFH on a Friday and she refers to it as my day off.

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EnjoyingTheSilence · 23/08/2020 10:42

I would just work and ignore them. Let them see what wfh entails. It’s the only way they’ll ever learn.

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Iloveacurry · 23/08/2020 10:43

I’d work on the Friday as planned. Then they can see you’re actually working!

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avidteadrinker · 23/08/2020 10:44

@nc600

Honestly. If WFH is going to be permanent then I'd work that Friday. I'd ask them to sit as silently as possible once they arrive having provided snacks and a pile of magazines and let them hear that you are actually very busy working!

They can browse the takeaway menus for that evening Grin

I agree with this! Once they experience your day, they will understand!
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Splodgetastic · 23/08/2020 10:45

Yes, my relatives keep trying to chivvy DH and me to go back to work and tell us how we can't sponge off others forever.

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converseandjeans · 23/08/2020 10:46

It's strange they choose to come the day the children go back to school. Surely it would be more help if they came say Wednesday and took the children out while you worked?

I've had to wfh during lockdown but my Mum & in laws did understand I had work to do.

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AgnesNaismith · 23/08/2020 10:46

Yep - dm keeps getting upset as I don’t contact her in the day. If I miss one night FaceTiming her she is really passive aggressive with me the next day which inevitable culminates in me asking what’s wrong and her saying ‘nothing’ over and over again until she has a go at me then cries.

I work 8-5 usually on calls for at least 6 hours of those, have 2dc and an ill husband. If schools don’t go back I might actually break.

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MummaGiles · 23/08/2020 10:48

Definitely agree with working as normal on the Friday. It’s the only way they will actually understand that it’s not all sitting in the garden and watching daytime tv.

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Dyrne · 23/08/2020 10:50

The thing is OP, you’re kind of proving them right, aren’t you? You’re making yourself available for them by rearranging working hours and answering calls etc. Not exactly convincing them that you’re working and cannot be disturbed. Be more firm with them - if they call and you’re busy, establish there isn’t an emergency and then cut them off with a firm “I have to work now”. You could even tell a white lie that your boss is calling/urgent email has just come in etc.

My parents often Skype me during the day. Sometimes I ignore it, sometimes I answer it but say I’m going to have to keep it short/keep skimming emails etc; and sometimes I have time for a longer chat.

If they tried to arrange to come over while I was working, I’d either say “you’ll have to come over later, we’re working” or “you’re welcome to come earlier but you’ll have to entertain yourselves I’m afraid, we’ll be working till 5”.

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Hopoindown31 · 23/08/2020 10:51

I just don't bother with it tbh. My folks just have no concept of what the modern workplace is like for an educated largely-office based worker like me. I've tried to explain the concept of zoom/teams meetings, but they just think this is the same as the video calls we have socially. Saying that I don't have them intruding on my work day.

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LuaDipa · 23/08/2020 10:51

At the beginning of lockdown my dm kept asking me if I’d been enjoying the sunshine in the garden. Explained to her that I was working flat out with no time for that. Now she keeps asking me if I am back at work yet.Confused

Pil keep turning up for visits midweek which suits me down to the ground as I have a perfectly valid reason to ignore them. Even dh, who knows how exactly how busy I am and how hard I am working, thinks that I am being rude by refusing to join him in giving up my evening to catch up with work that I have missed entertaining them. Unsure why they don’t come over at the weekend when we aren’t working but then I would have to go out to avoid them so long may it continue.Grin

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MulberryPeony · 23/08/2020 10:51

Totally. I thought it was to do with both sets of parents bring retired so they have forgotten how long a working day is anyway. MIL: you are doing well fitting in work and home schooling
Me: home schooling just isn’t happening as I have to much work on
MIL(following week): you are doing well fitting in work and home schooling
Me(following week): Hmm

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mrpumblechook · 23/08/2020 11:04

I have worked from home for many years and a lot of people don't really get that it is just as hard as working in an office. You don't have the time consuming commute but I always feel the need to meet deadlines even if it means working all hours in order to prove that I have been working. If I worked in an office I probably wouldn't work as many hours .You just need to be strict with your hours and your parents will eventually get the message (hopefully).

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RandomMess · 23/08/2020 11:06

My friend asked me around for a morning coffee the day before my birthday, was off my response "sorry I can't I'm at work".

Yes I can have some flexibility with advance warning now I'm WFH but 8-4 I am erm working and it's so much more stressful that it was in the office!

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M0mmyneedswine · 23/08/2020 11:09

I get a lot of 'can't believe you get paid for that' if im home on a work day, no meetings or anything so i can do hours to suit myself and df just cant understand that

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KimMarie34 · 23/08/2020 11:20

Same here. Explain to them that if they come on the Friday you'll be working, and if they still choose to come maybe they will see the reality of it. They will have to keep themselves entertained until you're free, but maybe then it'll make them realise that you don't just both sit around all day.

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JenniferSantoro · 23/08/2020 11:24

I’ve so much admiration and respect for all you posters. It sounds like you’re working so much harder than you would in your real work places and you’re having to school children, look after toddlers etc at the same time. I count myself fortunate to be at a stage in life where I’m semi retired although I’ve been in work throughout the lockdown.

It can’t be easy when your work and home lives merge in such a major way. You’re all doing an amazing job 💐💐💐💐💐💐💐

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Sasuma · 23/08/2020 11:25

Yup, some people just think WFH = watching daytime tv.

In my previous job I was WFH full time and my PIL were due to visit. My DH was at work but told them he’d be home at 3pm (he works shifts) so asked if they could arrive after that and he’d take them out for a coffee etc. He said I’d be working at home til 5ish. 2pm they arrive, ringing the doorbell, I’m in the middle of delivering a presentation so ignore them (thinking it may be a delivery) but they end up basically hammering down the door, opening the letterbox and looking through and shouting into the letterbox (!) so I have to excuse myself, let them in and sit them down and then go back to work - embarrassing for me! When I finished my meeting they were all like ‘sorry, we thought you were just WFH’ and I explained I was - I was in a meeting. They were so confused! It’s probably a generational thing and not really understanding the tech aspects of it but surely it’s not that hard to understand that I do the same work whether it’s at home or in the office?!

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raspberrylipbalm · 23/08/2020 11:28

My DF keeps offering me 1,000 piece jigsaws to do, and cannot understand when I say I don't have time to do them between wfh and the DC.

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GoldenOmber · 23/08/2020 11:30

I've had my family stay a few times when I've been WFH and oh it's tiring. "Is that you done for the day then?" No Dad, it's only two o'clock, I'm working until 5. "Until FIVE?" Yes, Dad.
Half hour later, I go through to the kitchen for a coffee: "Is that you done for the day, then?"

They don't think I'm slacking I think, they just fundamentally don't quite get that working from home is still a whole day of work.

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