Working from Home with Child: Smart or Just Plain Insane?

People are always asking me how I manage to consistently work as much as I do with a toddler in the house. It makes me feel great that I have somehow made this near-impossible feat look easy, but I can assure you that it’s anything but.

I’d liken it to nailing jello to the wall.

I made the choice to work from home when my daughter was a few months shy of her first birthday. I didn’t have the help of a full-time nanny, and my day to day life became, well, a circus. The juggling act between meeting client deadlines, developing creative content, answering a daily onslaught of emails, taking care of my home, and most importantly, taking care of my family has been a learning process like no other.
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As with anything, this routine took a little time to ease in to. There are days that go off without a hitch, and days where I’d like to hide in my closet with my laptop and a giant vat of espresso. There are days I feel more capable than superwoman, and then days where I repeatedly ask myself if I’m crazy to have launched my own writing business with a now super-active toddler running circles around me all day, every day.
I hate to sound cliche, but the truth is, if I can do it, so can the rest of you amazing women of the world. Here are a few tips for working from home while parenting.

Do Not Put that Phone in the Toilet: And Other Truths About Toddler Life

My little angel turned 14 months the other day – and I’d like to pause for a moment and reflect on all that has transpired since we celebrated turning one.

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14 months old. I never thought I’d be one of those people celebrating in months until forever, but, c’est la vie – I promise to stop when she’s 2. Maybe.

Since I was still deep in 1st-birthday-party-recovery-mode last month when this nugget turned 13 months, I forgot to take a pause and reflect on all the changes that have come about since my daughter propelled herself out of infancy and into another stratosphere of growing, learning, loving … and exerting her independence/destroying my house.

It’s true – I have loved motherhood more deeply than I have ever imagined. I have cherished each moment, become infatuated with each milestone and smile and learning experience. But if I had to sum up my feelings about toddler life, a stage I know I have only just recenly entered, the expression would be:

“Holy Shit.”

As in, “Holy sh$%. Bella! Don’t touch that!”

or

“Holy shhhhhhh-OMG Bella, DO NOT put Daddy’s iPhone in the toilet!”

and sometimes

“Holy shhh-aww – these hugs are better than anything in the world.”

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But really – this whole time since someone sent the memo to my daughter that she has passed the innocent, cooperative, infant stage and started wreaking havoc on my home and the rate at which my hair turns gray, has felt like someone hit the target on the dunk tank – and I was the one on the plank.

Sure, I knew that once this princess was on two feet I’d need a bit a more energy.

Of course, I was aware of the rapidly-fluctuating emotions.

No, I had no clue, my home would become Ground Zero for my toddler tornado and I would need to contemplate purchasing a crash helmet for my child. But it has, so here I am, in my unmade bed covered in baby socks and puzzle pieces telling you all about it.

This weekend, instead of posting the typical, “Aw, my daughter is 14-months-old post and loves to give high-fives and say lots of words” post, I decided to keep it real.

So yes, while she’s smart (she already says over 10 words!), engaging (she smiles at, says “Hi!” to, and waves at everyone she sees), and extremely loving (the hugs are strong, intentional, and filled with gratitude) – she is inevitably, a toddler on a mission.

Here is what is really going on in this toddler world of mine, and all of the toddler homes around you – quite possibly with details no one else is sharing:

My Toilets are Now Entertainment

Yes, we put on toilet locks once we discovered our daughter’s penchant for splashing toilet water about, but fear not, she’s figured them out. She not only sticks her hands in there, she’ll throw anything in her sight into the bowl, including, but not limited to, expensive shampoos, makeup brushes, shoes, and an entire trashcan.

My Beautiful Coffee Tables and Couches are Now a Jungle Gym

Hell, so is my bed, my dining chairs, and the dryer. Now that she’s walking more steadily, climbing has become her party trick. I turn my back for 20 seconds only to find she’s made her way to the top of the coffee table, TV remotes in hand, and ready to cause serious harm. She’ll leverage a dining chair and battle her way to the top of the dining room table, knocking over flower vases and stopping my heart. My couches need cleaning, since these are her new trampolines, my bed has led to the need for multiple ice packs, and taking clothes out of the dryer turns into an all-out battle to try and remove chickadee from inside the machine.

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Food is the Enemy

And so is the high chair. I have been kicked in my stomach, a boob, and my lip trying to prevent this little monster from weaseling her way out of the chair – which is so shocking considering how much she loved this damn thing 3 months ago. All food that I try to feed her ends up on the floor or in my hair, since we’re currently on a quest to feed ourselves. I waste countless hours and endless amounts of money on food she’ll eat one day but not the next, and my dog has gained 15 pounds.

Car Rides are also the Enemy

Which sucks considering this used to be a time of peace and quiet, back when each car ride produced the miracle of sleep and a break for me to answer calls, listen to voicemails, or listen to anything other than Elmo. Yea, this is no longer the case. Cue Elmo’s songs and bring along a baggie full of goldfish because this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Independence is her middle name

If she can’t do it herself, she’s not doing it at all. This goes for much more than just meal time. This goes for putting shoes on and taking them off, washing her hair in the tub, pushing elevator buttons, removing diapers, and oh so much more. Who needs a mom when you have a control-freak for a kid and a weak personality.

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I wouldn’t have it any other way

Yes, with all of this, my very-involved job and mamapreneur goals, and a husband and dog to care for, I am exhausted. Yes, I find myself wondering what the hell I did with all my free time when this kid spend 90% of her days on a tummy time mat staring at the ceiling and kicking her feet. But yes, with every “Mama!!!!!,” big strong hug, hilarious kiss on the cheek/mouth/arm, and giggle that touches my soul, it is all so, so worth it. My toddler boss is my best friend, and I too, am learning everyday right along with her – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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4 Things EVERY Father Should be Doing for his Daughter

The Father/Daughter relationship can make or break a young girls’ confidence and self-esteem, and inevitably set the stage for all of her future relationships with men.

It’s time to take this relationship very, very seriously.

In Creative Child Magazine, I list the 4 Things EVERY Father Should Be Doing for his Daughter.

http://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/4-things-every-father-should-be-doing-for-his-daughter

Because THIS Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

Until this year, all those “I’m thankful for my family” Facebook posts clung to my Facebook feed like white noise. I understood the concept, clearly, as I’ve always been thankful for my family- but I never truly understood the meaning, until this year.
It’s not just because I’m a mother. It’s not just because I have a daughter so-freakin’-delicious and sweet that I melt 400x a day.

I am thankful for my family because I am in a place in my life that I NEVER thought I’d get to. In a million years, I never imagined I’d be all wifed-up, so happily, in south Florida, in a house that we bought ourselves, with a beautiful child to call our own.
Never.
Because the odds of someone with my upbringing- my past, my childhood, my pain and my struggle – were just not in my favor. The odds screamed “not able to love”.

But screw it. I got lucky. Or I made it happen- or a little of both.

So I truly, truly get it now.
I get what all those people will mean today when they say “I am thankful for my family.”
It’s because I pull into my driveway each afternoon full of the same butterflies and excitement I felt the day I got married, and the day I met my Bella.
It’s because when my husband arrives soon after, our home is complete, and the love is overwhelming. And the time passes too quickly.
It’s because when my daughter smiles and claps at our arrival, our hearts burst, and we look at each other with the same grateful look and we just know – we are so damn lucky.
It’s because when we’ve had stressful days at work, the warmth of our home instantly melts away the stress of the day – like cold butter on a warm baked potato, soaking into each other and making everything right again.
It’s because when I need ANYTHING – a hug, a piece of advice, a laugh or a package of paper towels at Costco, my mom is right there – literally, to be the best damn mother and Nonna there is.
It’s because when I see the happiness in my mother’s face, I know it’s from where we BOTH are in our lives now. Where we both struggled to get to, and how lucky we are to be here.
It’s because of my incredible stepdad, Bella’s AMAZING Papa, and the love he continues to give.

For my little brother – who is really my big brother and my rock.
It’s because I was blessed with a child while my grandparents, the most special people in the world, are still around to enjoy her. It’s because my grandma LIVES to see my child, hear her laugh, and give her kisses.
I am so thankful for this family, for every minute on this earth that I get with them.
I am thankful for the look on Bella’s face when I appear in her room each morning.
I am thankful for the way she squeals in delight from Daddy’s kisses. I am thankful for the way he gives them to her.
I am also thankful for Daddy’s kisses. His hugs, his direction and know-it-all advice. Because he DOES know it all, at least when it comes to me, and I can’t get through a day without him.
I am thankful for the fact that he fills the coffee machine each night with water before he comes to bed, because I always forget.
I am thankful for coffee.
I am thankful for the conversations I overhear him having with his own parents and grandparents, because that loyalty and respect that he shows to his family makes him the amazing man that he is.
I am thankful for the mess he leaves in the kitchen because I know he enjoyed whatever I cooked, or whatever treats I brought home.
I am thankful for our bed, Netflix, and popcorners, because it’s how we spend 99% of our free time together.
I am thankful for my daughters ability to light up a room. Her spunk, adventurous nature and her love for people.
I am thankful for the way my daughter chews her food, on one side, with her two teeth, because I am watching her do it now and it’s pretty flipping cute.
I am also thankful for our dog baby, Blue, and the joy he brings to ALL of us- especially our baby. She has no clue that he is different from her, and he treats her like his own child, and they spend their time together as if they were always meant to.
I am thankful that Blue helps me clean the floor under Bella’s high chair.
I am thankful, so thankful, for the friends that have become my family. For the way we understand each other, look out for one another and love as if the relation came from blood.
I am thankful for today. For yesterday and tomorrow, and for the fact that in this very moment, I have everything I’ve ever, ever needed.
Dreams do come true- I am thankful for never giving up.
Happy Thanksgiving.