Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Working hard...or hardly working?

It's been a hectic month at work. The kind that keeps me in meetings all day, and when not in meetings I'm scrambling to be productive, meet deadlines, answer e-mails and try hard not to ignore my to-do list. In the old days (pre-baby) I would have just gone into the office earlier or worked later if I needed to catch up. But now that I have a toddler that I only see for about 4 hours on the average weekday, extending my office hours just aren't an option. I know lots of other parents at work who simply leave the office at 5 pm, go home to their kids, feed/bathe/play with/ and put them to bed, then log on to their laptops and work from 9 - 11 pm. I wish I could do that, but quite frankly, most nights my husband and I are both passed out on the couch by 9 pm.

Last week my mother (who babysits my son) had an appointment that required me to stay home with my son and spend the morning working from home. I knew it could either go really well or really badly. I had a few conference calls that I knew I could manage while watching him play and then I figured I could be productive while he napped. On a good day, this is sometimes possible. I've done it and it's worked. But last week, my son had other plans. He was not in the mood to cooperate with my ideas. I guess he was excited to be spending the morning with mommy, so why on earth would he want to nap? So he didn't. And I spent more time that morning trying to make him nap than getting any work done. And the more time I spent trying to get him to nap, the more frustrated I got. My mind was on my inbox and my projects. I was not in the mood to read Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You for the fifth time that morning. He was in the mood to buzz around the kitchen and bang on pots and pans. I snapped at him several times. It wasn't pretty. 

So when I dropped him off at my mother's and finally got back to the office that afternoon, I was actually happy to have a cup of coffee and sit at my desk in (relative) peace. But by the end of the afternoon, I was feeling awfully guilty about the way I'd behaved with my son. Poor kid was just excited to have some extra time with me, and I spent most of it losing my temper. I probably should have just cut my losses and spent my morning with him and one eye on my blackberry.

When I picked him up at the end of the day, I gave him a huge hug and covered his face in kisses. I've said it before and I'll say it again - being a working mom is not easy. Thank goodness my son forgives easily! If I've learned one thing since becoming a mother, it's that everything takes longer when you have a toddler. Working from home is just another one of those things. So am I working hard, or hardly working? Both, I guess!  

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