Friday, November 28, 2008

Is is the power of multi-tasking that I'm missing?

Seriously. How do they do it? How do work-at-home moms get ANY work done? My 10 month old is a crawler, climber, put-everything-in-her-mouth, touch-everything-that's-dangerous kind of kid. She is rarely content to sit in one place for longer than 5 minutes. 15 minutes is a marathon for her. And when you factor in that we live with our in-laws in a 1970's style home in Japan, the danger factor seems to be multiplied (watch her on the raised steps near the front door! no baby gates large enough to fit the staircase available locally! sliding doors to smoosh little fingers! ...and of course the fact that her grandparents continue to live life pretty much as they did before an infant joined the household so there are pens everywhere, small rubber bands on the floor, you name it - the list goes on) . We've tried to baby-proof as much as possible to limit the damage. Thankfully, the design of the house while a nightmare for actually using electronics (Where's the nearest outlet? Okay, never mind, just give me ANY electrical outlet!), is great for babies.

And yet. No matter what we do, the obstacles exist. I'm convinced Peanut will kill herself if I turn my back for more than a few moments at a time. Having to constantly watch her when she's awake makes it nearly impossible for me to get anything else done. The other challenge, as I mentioned, is her limited attention span when I'm around. According to my MIL, Peanut can and has entertained herself for long stretches of time on the few occasions we've gone out and left her in charge.

Hmmmm. So we have two problems. First off, when I'm around I feel terribly guilty if I'm not actively engaging with Peanut. The second problem is that even if I didn't have the guilt, her short-attention span and resulting fussiness or danger seeking behavior (I'm thrilled she can entertain herself but wish she wasn't such a daredevil) would probably curtail my time doing anything else regardless.

I can put her in a carrier and wear her while I do the laundry perhaps. But she gets squirmy fast and that doesn't seem to very viable for the long term. I'm amazed at how many stories I have read of women working from home while caring for infants. Do they all secretly (or not so secretly) have childcare support? Am I missing out on the legions of baby-sitters and nannies? Am I truly that inept at multi-tasking? Perhaps it will get slightly easier as Peanut moves into toddler-hood? Or is it just that I'm too paranoid and guilty????


  1. When I was in grad school I had a teacher who WROTE A BOOK at home while her infant daughter napped!!!?!?!?! So, expecting that freedom, I was very unprepared for our reality! We made a "play room" for Jun using two baby gates in our hallway (has a window), so she got some private time while Mama showered, hung out the laundry, cooked, etc. She could stand at the gates and see me usually. Sometimes she played. Sometimes she stood and screamed. Oh well. She doesn't seem to have any emotional baggage from it yet! SMILE!

  2. Stopping by from Blogger Bingo! This is the post I chose for the one I wish I wrote.

    We live with my parents with our children and we deal with the exact same things. It's like nothing changed for them and dangerous items are still kept at toddler levels. It's hard, but we've survived thus far.