Working at home with my 18-month old daughter is like simultaneously strategizing World War III and being a storm chaser, chasing an F5 tornado. I can hardly keep up with her let alone anticipate her next move. She plots and plans. She has the reach of a grown man. She climbs and falls. She throws things that she has grabbed and now she is starting to have little fits. She moms me all day. “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom.” No matter where we are in the room, we are literally no more than five feet away from each other. But I still take frequent breaks to hang out with her and play. We listen to music while I work. We sing. We dance. I let her sit on my lap. And she pounds on my computer and grabs whatever is on my desk, errr, dining room table, where I work. Did I mention her impressive reach?
All of these actions are totally normal for a toddler her age. TOTALLY NORMAL! But I feel totally ill-equipped to deal. When my son was this age I didn’t work but he was always very laid back and happy to play with whatever was around, as long as someone was in the room with him. So when I did start working from home, he still played happily. Plus he power napped for three hours every day in the afternoon. She will play quietly for only a few minutes at a time. Pretty much just as I’m able to concentrate on something, she needs me.
“Mom. Mom. Mama!”
About once a month I get a two-hour nap out of her. Most days I’m lucky if it is an hour, and that includes the time she spends yelling for me after I put her down.
“MOM MOM MOM MAMMMMAAA!!!!”
I’ve stopped going in after I put her down and I just let her deal with it.
Which leads me to the crux of what this post is about. I feel I have come to a crossroads of having to make a choice about what to do with her. Sending her to a babysitter is out because number one I can’t afford it and number two that’s just not what I want. I feel like I give her everything that she needs. The fact is, I have to work. And I know she doesn’t understand, but I also don’t understand why she can’t/won’t play happily while I am right next to her. I mean, I do, but I don’t. I want to be a good mom, but I feel stuck.
At what point do I say, “Hey there, little chicken, you need to play while mommy works. I’m right here with you!” And then let her play/cry it out while I continue to take frequent breaks and give little loving reminders that I am right here with her. I did this yesterday and she cried.all.day. I suspect it would be like crying it out during resting times, and she would get over it. But I just don’t know, and in the meantime I wonder, do I expect too much? Am I a total jerk? Am I over-thinking again?
What do you think? Have you ever, or are you in this position? What have you done to get through? I would love to hear from you!
P.S. I know that I am complaining about my girl, but what gets us through the day is she is the cutest, sweetest, funniest girl EVER. At least I think so.