A year into working from my bedroom, I thought I had reached an emotional equilibrium where I could tolerate the multiple kid interruptions throughout my day. But last week, my older daughter was assigned a scavenger hunt in remote school. She barged through my door — which I am sorry to report has no lock — four times in one hour, looking for slippers, something red (twice) and a hairbrush. On the fourth interruption, I snapped. "You’ve got to get out of here,” I said, in a voice much harsher than I like to use with my children.

My daughter was upset, and I felt bad that I yelled. But I was also conflicted. Every time she came in, I had politely asked her to look elsewhere in the apartment because I had a deadline to meet. She’s a third-grader, which is old enough to understand and honor that request, and I want to raise her to be empathetic to other people’s needs.

How do I walk that line between showing my children that I have feelings that aren’t always positive but not letting my irritation erupt, uncontrolled?