I am ready to give up on ever getting anything productive done. It just took me over five hours to answer an email. I’m talking a three sentence answer here. Basically, “Yes, I would definitely be interested in working with you, that seems like a perfect fit for my readership. My standard rate is x and includes y. Please let me know if that works for you.”
[A child runs into the room at full speed, yells “One more fairy!”. Emits an ear piercing war cry, grabs her doll and jets back out of the room.]
[Wait. What was I doing?]
I woke up early today. The big kid was quietly looking at books and the little one was still asleep. Still in my PJs I headed directly into the computer room to take a look at my email. I opened the tab and see I have a couple hundred emails in my sadly neglected inbox, waiting to be tackled. I am optimistic. Today is going to be the day. I am going to get so much work done. I am going to empty my inbox and write half a dozen blog posts. It is going to be great. I pick one email near the top of the list and open it.
The big kid wanders in and asks for breakfast. I point out that it’s an hour earlier then she normally gets up, and couldn’t she wait for breakfast? She assures me she will starve. To. Death. I get up and scout around the kitchen looking for something quick and suitable. We need to go grocery shopping. The choices are slim. The 7 year old pokes her nose in the fridge and insists she needs to eat the left over rice I had earmarked for my breakfast. I put the rice in a bowl for her, grab her a spoon. Make myself a tea and head back to the computer room.
Pretty much as soon as my butt hits the chair, the 4 year old thunks down the stairs and demands breakfast. She insists that it needs to involve fruit. I talk her into an apple and a bowl of dry Cheerios.
The 7 year old also wants an apple and a bowl of dry Cheerios. We have a chat about my new pasta strainer, as the big kid compares it to my antique colander fruit bowl. I tell her about why the fruit stays better longer with air able to flow around it in this bowl full of holes. I wash two apples, fill two bowls with cheerios. The kids are used to eating their apples whole but the 7 year old has a very wiggly front tooth and has been using it as an excuse to request cut apples. She sits at the dining room table and wiggles her tooth back and forth, talking to me about “Little Wiggler”. I convince her that biting into a whole apple may be just what her loose tooth needs.
[Mom, can we pleeeeeeese put some TV on now. Please? Pretty, pretty, please?]
The 7 year old insists she is still going to eat both my leftover rice AND the apple and Cheerios I just put on the table. I make myself a bowl of Holy Crap and take it back to the computer room. I look at my Facebook feed. I start a conversation with my blogging partner Shari about how the new travel site is going.
The conversation lasts for about one sentence, as the 7 year old comes in the room and asks me about the possibility of a fish and chip walk. I explain that the fish and chip place isn’t open at 8am, and it’s unlikely that we’ll go later in the day as it’s grey and stormy out. I pull up the weather-network and confirm they’re calling for rain and thundershowers, pretty much all day. I an thinking today is going to be a great day to Get Things Done. The horrible weather outside is the perfect excuse to not venture out today, and I don’t have to feel guilty about not getting the kids outdoors. Yay. I send the girl back to the dining room to finish her breakfast.
[Mom! Mom! Mom! What? why are you looking at me like that?]
She almost immediately comes back in and in a seriously whiny tone tells me how much her front tooth hurts when she tries to eat her apple. I send her back to the dining room. She’s back within thirty seconds to tell me that I forgot to give them both juice. I get up, head back to the kitchen and fill two cups with water and apple juice. I stand there chatting with the girls for a few minutes. They are happily munching cheerios. I head back to the computer room. I remember I made a tea earlier and now start to drink it, cold.
[Mom, I found this little doll in with our critters! He’s so fuzzy and cute! Touch him. Touch him!]
I look at the email I opened earlier. It’s asking me if I’d be interested in working together to promote x website. The email sounds legit, so I start to reply. I write half of a sentence and the 7 year old comes in to tell me about her sore loose tooth, again. I poke my fingers in her mouth and give it a wiggle. Pretty darn loose. I try and pull it out, but it’s slick with saliva. I think about going to grab a washcloth, but I know every other time I’ve tried this over the past few weeks, it hasn’t worked. So feeling lazy and figuring it won’t work anyhow, I grab a corner or my daughter’s t-shirt and use that to give the tooth a yank. I’m surprised when it comes half out and dangles there at an awkward angle. I tell the girl to hold still and give it a second pull with my naked fingers. Voila. Tooth.
Her little smiling mouth is pooling with blood. We walk to the kitchen together, I get her a glass of water to rinse with. The blood seems unending. I remember rinsing with warm salt water as a kid, so I take her glass and fill it with salt and warm tap water. She rinses and spits into the sink, between excitedly chattering about the tooth fairy, and every scrap of tooth fairy related gossip any kid in her class has ever imparted to her.
[Wait. What is that noise?]
I drop the darn tooth. Somewhere on the bathroom floor. I crawl around searching for it. Found, we carefully tuck it into a ziplock baggie and place it on the computer room desk. It is almost 9am. My daughter, who now has an appointment with the tooth fairy, is looking forward to bedtime. She tells me she’s going to start getting ready for bed. I suggest that instead she go finish eating breakfast.
I look at the little tooth I just helped evict. It doesn’t have a root. Is it supposed to have a root? I can’t remember. I find myself wondering if I left part of it behind when I yanked it out. A quick consultation with Dr. Google assures me all is as it should be. In the meantime, the four year old tries to show me her wiggly tooth. She does not have a wiggly tooth. I tell her she’s got a few years to wait yet. She doesn’t believe me.
[Get out of my hair! Remove your fingers from my hair. Now.]
I realize my mother-in-law will disown me if I don’t snap a picture of this momentous occasion, and hey I might as well put it up on Instagram. I toss a status update on my Facebook fanpage asking about the going rate for a tooth these days. I take a photo of my smiling girl. Little sister keeps trying to jump into the photo. It takes me six tries to get a picture that doesn’t have a four year old hand waving in it. The little one is almost in tears, telling me she needs her picture taken too. I agree to take her photo, but big sister insists photo ops are only for kids who have lost a tooth. A squabble ensues. I talk them into a group photo and these kids who moments ago where trying to kill each other stand there and stare at each other lovingly.
I attempt to put the smiley photo of my tooth-missing girl up online. The 7 year old interrupts me fourteen times to discuss what she is going to put the tooth into. So-And-So at school said she had a box that she decorated and put her tooth into. It sounds like a cool idea so I tell her sure she can have a box. I make the mistake of attempting to go back to work on the computer without immediately producing a box. After six more interruptions I realize it’s futile to attempt to do anything else until I produce a box. I start to tear apart the closet. The first three boxes I find don’t meet my daughter’s expectations. Too big, too small, too cardboard. I finally dig up a small wooden box I had set aside in my art supplies. I tell her she can decorate it with markers and send her on her way, as I try to go back to uploading her photo.
[Mom, come with me, come with me, there’s a surprise… This, way, it’s in the toilet!]
In under two minutes my daughter is back in the room; hastily decorated box in hand. I’m in denial. She can’t be done this fast. Decorating that box was supposed to keep her busy For A Long Time. How did she even find the markers that fast? I let her show me her handiwork and I suggest she add more to it. I emphasize slowing down and taking her time and drawing her best drawing to impress the Tooth Fairy. She’s back three minutes later. I point out that the one side is mostly blank and send her off again. Rinse and repeat times five.
I realize I haven’t actually eaten my cereal yet. I dig into the bowl while replying to the thread on my fanpage about the going rate for a tooth. The answers range from $1 to $5, with a few $20’s thrown in. I’m thinking somewhere in the $2-$5 range. I am also wondering where I put that special Canadian Mint tooth fairy quarter I got a few years back, and trying to decide if I should give that to her now, or on a subsequent tooth. I notice the big kid is still wearing PJs and send her off to get changed.
[Whiny high pitched screams as two kids argue.]
I notice I have the tab open for my email. I take a look at my inbox again. I end up opening a different email this time. In the time it takes me to type out my four sentence reply my four year old interrupts me approximately two dozen times. She is poking me, petting my face and my hair and generally driving me nuts. I get it, the kid wants attention. I stop, turn, look her in the eye and ask her why she keeps interrupting Mama. Is there something she would like? She tells me that she wants me to come play blocks. I make a deal that if she makes a clear space on the front room floor I will come sit with her and play. She then proceeds to interrupt my typing another dozen or so times. Each time I ask her if she’s tidied up yet and send her out of the room and each time she comes back within thirty seconds and starts poking me again. Both girls are in and out of the room like little hyperactive jack-in-the-boxes. I put hair ties into doll hair. Help dress and undress fairies. Pry Lego bricks apart. Dole out art paper and admire scribbly ten second art projects.
[I currently have two kids insisting I can play music videos on the second monitor while working. I tell them I can’t work like that, they insist I can]
The constant interruptions are starting to make me grumpy. I’m not getting anything done. Might as well get off the computer. I stick my head in the front room and note that the four year old hasn’t even made an attempt at clearing a space to play. I point this out to her. She shows me a perilous path to the far side of the room that involves tip-toeing in some places and jumping over things in others. I refuse to follow her hopscotch route and tell her I will play blocks with her when she cleans up some of the other toys littering the floor.
[Wait. Why is it so quiet?]
I open the front door and check the mailbox. Take a bathroom break. Tidy up a few things. I make the mistake of walking through the kitchen. This instantly summons both of my children who insist they are starving. At this point I discover that, surprise surprise, the seven year didn’t actually eat the rice she insisted she needed to have. She did however mix half a bowl of cheerios into it. Between that and the fact that it’s now been sitting on the dinning room table for three hours, I’m much less interested in eating it then I once was.
[I’m flying! I’m flying down the stairs! I’m flying!]
I put the kettle on and head back into the computer room to grab my teacup. I notice a message from my husband flashing in the corner of the monitor, asking if I’m around. I write back to see what he needs, but there’s no reply. While waiting for hubby to answer, I open the tab with my email. I notice the barely started draft sitting there from that first email I opened early this morning. The kids realize I’ve left the kitchen and am not immediately coming back. This sends them into a tizz. In between interruptions from my girls, I reread what was sent and decide I can’t reply without checking out the website the company wants me to promote.
[We can go downstairs and watch TV! you need to come with us! You can work on the tablet. While we all do Bo on the Go!]
The kettle is beeping and my kids are reminding me that I’m supposed to be making lunch so I head back to the kitchen. I empty and refill the dish washer as the kids dance around the room describing in detail just how hungry, hungry, horribly hungry to death they are. I pull leftover chicken out of the fridge, debone it and split it into two portions. I pile it on two little plates with some cubed cheese, cherry tomatoes and a couple of leftover waffle fries. I refill the juice cups. I eye the cheerio infested rice that my daughter has left for me and decide to pass. Instead I eat two waffle fries and a hunk of chicken as I’m plating the kids lunches.
[You kids both need to get your hands out of my hair. You are pulling my hair. It hurts. STOP]
The girls are still sitting quietly, chatting and eating. I head back into the computer room. Pretty much the moment my butt hits the computer room chair the kids materialize. I notice the big kid is still in her PJs and again send her off to get changed. I open the tab with my email. I see a second message from hubby wondering where the heck I am. He tells me he’ll be coming home late, and asks me to call his mom. I end up texting back and forth with him for a bit. I take another look at the first email I opened early this morning. I remember I wanted to check out the website they are asking me to promo. In between settling a disagreement between my girls, I open the website. At this point the four year old shows me how instead of tidying a spot in the play room she has ferried a very large pile of Duplo bricks into the computer room.
[Keep the toys off the keyboard!]
Beep,beep. A direct message pops up on Facebook. It’s a friend asking me to share an inspirational quote with a blogger group I’m part of. I go grab one of the Monday musings quote images off of my blog and upload it. Hubby messages me a few more times. In between replying to him, I am browsing through this potential sponsor’s website. It’s a cool topic and the site looks legit. I decide to write back a positive reply, but the kid interruption level is ramping back up to the 15-30 second mark. I tell my girls that if they will leave me alone long enough to answer this one email I will come and read books with them. I may have begged. They still somehow manage to interrupt me another sixteen times. I am really close to losing my cool. The three sentence reply I am writing, which should take me two minutes tops to compose instead takes something more like ten times that long.
[Hey mom. I just realized I can eat an apple now and it doesn’t even hurt. Watch!]
I finally head to the front room with the kids. We snuggle and read books. I fill juice cups again, make more snacks. The girls are now playing together quietly, so I make my way back to the computer room. I remember I am supposed to call my mother-in-law. I call her and make arrangements to meet for dinner. The kids hear me talking and immediately pop into the room. The big one needs to share her exciting tooth loss news. The little one needs to get on the phone and say hi because the big one did. Phone conversation over, I manage to get the kids settled again and head back to the computer. I notice my draft email still sitting there. I thought I had sent it. I guess I didn’t actually hit send. I notice it has a spelling mistake in it anyway. I correct the mistake and finally send the email off. It is 12:20. I have now officially been “working” for almost 5 hours and have answered two emails.
[Please don’t try and hug me while I’m typing. Just let me finish this… Nevermind.]
I feel like screaming. I notice a Facebook message pop up from a friend. I start to write a short paragraph to explain how I am ready to throw in the towel. My reply starts with, “I am ready to give up on ever getting anything productive done. It just took me over five hours to answer an email.” As I start to write, I randomly decide to instead turn my rant into a post. As I’m writing this post my children interrupt approximately three billion times.
[Hey mom. I am still so so happy I lost this tooth!]
At some point I remember it’s Tuesday and realize that I haven’t posted the Instragram party for Travelling Maple. I stop writing and instead scramble around to find a travel photo to share, which ends up getting posted at two in the afternoon.
[Loudy thumpy bangs and giggles.]
My husband gets home early. He looks around the house and says, “It’s a mess in here. What did you DO all day? why aren’t you ready to go?” The kids are dressed, but I am still in my PJs. I take a shower. Go out and shop for groceries. Have dinner with my inlaws. Get home, put the groceries away. Put the kids to bed. Put on a load of laundry. Watch my husband browse the internet. He heads to bed, I stay up. Swap the laundry. Play tooth fairy. And finish writing this post, look at the clock and realize it’s now one in the morning.
At this point I realize how much time I just wasted writing this post, and I feel guilty because it wasn’t even on my to do list. But having already put this much into it I decide to go ahead and finish the thing up. Add some photos and hit publish.
The thing is, this day was no different then any other. If it wasn’t the tooth fairy drama it would have been something else. Each day I start the morning thinking, “Today Is The Day! I am going to get so much done!” Each day I get progressively grumpier as the day goes on and and it becomes more and more apparent that I am never ever going to get anything done. By the time my husband walks in the door at the end of the day, and promptly takes over the computer, I am ready to scream. By the time I am done making dinner and putting the kids to bed, I am so tired and frustrated that I no longer care.
This is me and my attempt at working from home over the summer. What’s your reality?