I thought that being a work-at-home mother would be ideal for everyone: I would get to continue pursuing my career and my little Monkey would get me home all day long… every day.
Did you see Coraline (i.e. the 2009 stop-motion 3D fantasy children’s film)? In the movie, the main character was an only child stuck with a mother and father who were so busy working from home that every noise she made was a nuisance to them. She goes into this other (fantasy) world where she has a mother who speaks to her adoringly and bakes her cakes, and a father who writes songs for her on the piano.
I don’t bake. Well, I’ll do it if I have to. And my hubby don’t write songs. But we work from home, and are constantly struggling to keep up with our work deadlines. The Monkey gets swapped back and forth between us (he in the basement, and me in the living room), depending on the type of work each of us is doing. Toys adorn both rooms, so no matter where our little 14 month old is, she has tons of stuff to play with. But it’s when the music is turned on and it’s “baby’s dance party” time, or when we run up and down the two flights of stairs with her, over and over and over and over again, that she is truly in a state of bliss.
She’s got all the quantity time in the world with her mummy and daddy. But it’s the quality time that’s not always easy to come by. When I finish my redraft of my script, I can check it off my to do list. But I can’t check off “play with baby” on my to do list. When hubby finishes editing photos for an event he shot, he can say, “I’m done” and go have a snack. But he can’t take Monkey to the park and say “I’m done”, like it’s a task he’ll never have to return to.
So we take breaks. We put the computers down when she comes to us with a book and we read together. When she’s got that bored look, we take her up and down the stairs. When she’s been cooped up inside all day, she gets a trip to the playground.
But sometimes she just has to play on her own. Sometimes the work has to get done. And in the end, it’s probably good for her that she does.
If not, well, there’s always therapy.