My daughter detests my computer.
At just 18 months, she has developed a hatred for this handy, lightweight piece of technology. If she could, she would throw it on the floor in the same way she does an unwanted toy or book. In fact, she has tried to rend it from my lap. She has made wild attempts to pound the keys. Accidentally, she has erased entire lines of text with her cheek-a preferred method to get my attention and face her competition head-on, it would seem. And while this has elicited my response, it usually is not the one she wants.
Note: she does not hate my husband's computer. Together, they have shared many an intimate moment giggling over Boohbah or Makka Pakka's adventures In the Night Garden, and searching for footage of Nemo.
It is not really the laptop she hates, but my lap-top she craves. And between the Lenovo and my rapidly expanding waistline (my second child, a son, is due in February), her favorite place for story time is no longer hers and hers alone.
Many of us who work in flexible work settings have described the challenge of balancing a professional and personal life. It is a finer line when your home is occupied by a toddler, whose young life is defined by learning boundaries (infants haven't yet learned to object!). But, sadly, I cannot simply put a safety gate on my lap during work hours.
A few tips for those in similar straights, from those who have gone before:
- Consider a nanny, so that you can supervise from afar
- Enroll your child in a daycare program
- Ask your family to help
For me, this last suggestion is not really an option. While I'm sure my parents would love to spend more time with their granddaughter, they just don't live close enough for this to be feasible. And, somehow, I feel that raising four children was enough!
The nanny, while tempting, leaves me with another conundrum. I've found that if I already have to share my home with my office, I don't want to share it with anything, or anyone, else. While there may be a designated room in the house where I work, I want my kids to always think of family when they are here.
So, come January, Ainsleigh will take a turn at daycare for part of the week. Not only will it allow me to get work done more efficiently, but also it will give her the opportunity to meet other children (and ultimately introduce me to their parents). Many daycares, like mine, have flexible schedules and open door policies, giving family members the option to drop in and play. I have high hopes that both my daughter and I will be happy.
Like toddlerhood, this job has a learning curve. My daughter does not have all the words to describe her emotions yet, but her frustrations with my work life are already apparent. And, as she struggles to grasp the concept of my at-home "office" time, I realize that I, too, must better define the space between work and play. Can we say, New Years Resolution?
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