One of the hardest parts of working at home is keeping my daughter distracted. She’s crawling and walking, and she’s at that delightful stage where anything and everything is bound for her mouth. Piece of dog food on the floor? Yum! Lint from a sweater? Sweet! Dead bug brought in by the dogs? Crunchy! The details are likely more information than anyone wanted, but the details are what make my job as a mother while I do my other job so important. It all boils down to this question: How do I keep her distracted and/or entertained while I write?
The first solution came from my aunt, another mother who works from home. She told me that her best solution was a yellow legal pad. With pad in hand, she can sit on the floor with her child while he plays. This enables her to be hands-on with any activity he is doing, on the spot for any accident that may happen, and still accomplishing work without the hazards of having a laptop within reach of a small child in jungle mode.
The second solution came from Babies R’ Us: a pack ‘n play. This one is obviously age-prohibitive, but it serves the purpose of allowing me to put my daughter in a safe environment where she can play and explore without requiring my constant attention. Granted, she won’t stay in her pack ‘n play for more than half an hour at a time, but when a deadline is looming, a project is unfinished, and she’s decided it’s time to play “Throw Everything in Sight and Eat What’s Left,” a pack ‘n play is my lifeline.
The final solution came from me: restraints. No, I joke. Actually, the best solution I have come up with is grandparents. I don’t mean this in the “drop her off, leave her there, pick her up, thanks ma!” sense. The majority of my daughter’s grandparents live out of state. Recently, however, we discovered Skype. Skype is an online program that allows anyone with a webcam to call people from anywhere else in the country and beyond and speak to them on videophone. It’s completely free, and it also saves me from at least a few conversations about when we will visit again. My daughter gets to see and know her grandparents from afar, and they get to see the greatest little girl in my world grow up. She’s completely distracted while on Skype, and I am at another computer, happily writing away.
My daughter is ten months old, and these are the solutions we’ve come up with so far. I’m sure other mothers have many more solutions that would be helpful for all of us, but this is my starting point. I can’t describe how relieved I was to learn these safe tips for working from home. We were one step away from purchasing a Roomba and playing “Chase the Vaccuum” as a daily activity.