Like a lot of people, I work from home. Like an awful lot of people, I also have 2 small children under 5. Unsurprisingly, these two things do not go together. At All.
Obviously I have 2 mornings a week where the children are otherwise cared for which are dedicated to work, (and a pilates class but that sort of counts no? Healthy body, healthy mind and all that?!), however, there are often, (always), things that need doing in between times, generally urgently.
So, this is a short guide to how to get anything important done with children.
1. Wait for nap time.
Now this is a good one, if your child still naps. Do be aware though, that your child will cut their nap short by approximately 90% if you need to do anything more necessary then folding washing. Especially if it involves a long wait on hold. They will pop up crying just at the minute you are put through.
If you anticipate this and don’t start anything important but instead do some meaningless things, they will not. You will think every half hour, that is is too late to do anything now anyway as they will definitely wake up. This is the day they will have a 3 hour marathon sleep.
Inevitably, if at any point you do sit down to work, this is the point you will wake up.
2. Arrange good snacks.
Boxes of raisins, cheerios, a food treasure hunt around the house, (as if! For a start chocolate dog would win hands down, plus you would invariably forget about a babybel until the neighbours phone the police and report a dubious smell from next door.), once settled with their snacks, you can commence work, unfortunately, the computer is so full of photos, emails from 1999, old programs, and free virus softwares trials that by the time it limps into action, they will then reappear.
You add; ‘Clean up computer’ to your list. Again. It then falls to the ‘who the hell has time for that?’ section. Again. You don’t think about it until the next time you need to use the computer in a hurry.
3. Try working at the playground on your mobile.
I have a few issues attempting this. Firstly, my phone does not make or receive calls at the moment. It does however, send emails, if it has signal. Which it hasn’t since November in a 5k radius from my house. So it involves a trip further afield, usually on the bus but I think we all know how that works out.
Secondly, mother’s guilt. What are the other mothers really thinking of you as you totally ignore your little darlings to send an email, probably imagining that you are just trying to level up on that awfully addictive candy game that thankfully seems to have dropped off all but the most ardent player’s radars now.
4. Open another window of kid’s stuff and split the screen.
Yes, I have sent vital emails with the Mother Goose Club, (some kind of fresh hell in bright colours, read more on my views of kid’s tv here.), blaring out of the speakers and 2 children fighting to both sit on my lap with small boy pressing random keys and seeing how far he can make the mouse fly off the desk. I have tried giving them the Nexus, (not so fancy iPad!), but then they fight like mad about who gets to hold it and which game to play.
5. Attempt to ignore the kids.
This is only done in really dire situations, not because I am a really amazing mum who feels too guilty to ignore my little darlings but because they are really really really hard to ignore. It usually goes something like this;
“…Mummy. Mummy. Mummy. Mummy. Mummy….”
“Oh no! Just a minute sweetie, mummy needs to do just this one teeny thing, it will take about 5 minutes and then I’m all yours and we can go on the trampoline or do some play doh and I’ll read you both Duck in a Truck for the 2 millionth time ok?”
‘Dear Mr Jones,
Thank you so much for your enquiry, I can confirm that….’
“…Can you wipe my boooottttttoooom?”
*Bottom wiping interlude complete with surprisingly accurate analogy of what was produced reminds them of – most imaginative was the tortoise talking to a dog in case you were wondering*
‘……we have received your…..’
“Has it been 5 minutes yet? Now? Now? Now?”
“No sorry, I had to wipe your brother’s bottom so it set me back a bit. Just a few minutes longer ok?”
‘….payment, and you are now…..’
“Can we watch Peppa?”
“Just a minute honey please, why don’t you play with one of the 4,652 toys you have just for 2 minutes which is only 120 seconds and I’ll be right with you”
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,…”
“That is just a teensy bit distracting lovey, tell you what, you go and choose a story from the book shelf and I promise I’ll read it to you after.”
“Can’t see the books. Little brother knocked them all off when he climbed right up all the shelves to the very top to practice his Spiderman jumps.”
6. Wait until the kids are in bed.
Yeah right, that moment when you can barely string a sentence together and your eyes can only just focus on the tv screen, (they manage though!), never mind a computer. That time is reserved solely for tea and chocolate in a horizontal position on the sofa!
So in conclusion, I’m very sorry if you have received an email from me calling you Mummy!