I got stressed with the kids today.
I’ve been meaning to finish my work and I need a few hours of uninterrupted time with my laptop. I can’t seem to do it in the office because there are just too many distractions and people wanting to talk to me about something. I can’t seem to do it at home because Alex the Lion and Gloria the Hippo are saying something on the TV and the kids keep asking me to watch and listen because “it’s really really really interesting, Mommy.” I tried to cordone myself to a quiet corner and start doing work but I think it’s just a mother’s guilt that she just can’t shake off – when your kids are crying or wanting you, it just breaks your heart to do other things and ignore them. Even if you want to focus and you’ve got people helping you, there’s always that little guilt that pangs your heart. In 10 minutes, you’ll be on the couch with them watching King Julian sing a song in the forest.
Today, I told myself I’m going to do work and finish it because I have a deadline for myself. I need to be strong and know when to separate certain things and stick with it. It’s a public holiday today so I have no choice but to work at home so I can finish my pending work quickly.
But this has been my activity today:
Put laptop on table in front of me. Check and ready to work!
Scream at the kids for not finishing their lunch. Check.
Feed them myself because that’s the only way they’ll eat. Check.
Scold Mariam for putting her hands in her cup and spraying Milo all over the table. Check.
Wipe the table. Check.
Stop Daniel from putting blocks into his mouth. Check.
Console Daniel while he cries because he said he was just pretending to be a lion who is eating other animals. Check.
Find Mariam behind the curtains arranging raisins along the floor. Check.
Stop Mariam from eating those exact raisins. Check.
Help the kids wash their hands because they might fall from the stool they put in front of the sink. Check.
Stop the kids from fighting with one another about who found this one torchlight first. Check.
Take the torchlight away. Check.
Give the torchlight back to Mariam because she’s crying and screaming. Check.
Look around the house for another goddamn torchlight because now Daniel’s crying. Check.
Ahhhhh I’ll never get anything done like this! I’ve scolded them so many times, and they’ve said sorry so many times. And then other things happen and I’ve got to attend to those too. On my screen, I’ve written two lines. An idea came. The key to this is to keep the kids busy. I went out to buy art blocks, water colour paint, brushes… Ok, I’m going to keep them busy with arts and crafts. While they do that, I can do my work! Finally!
I set up the little table for them and told them they were going to paint for me. Oh boy were they excited! Big smiles on their faces, Daniel jumping up and down going yayyyy! and Mariam pulling up a chair eagerly grinning. I prepared everything on the table and told them to draw and paint a house for Mommy to see. They said ok and started wetting their brushes in the cups. I walked away smiling thinking I was a genius.
“Mommy where are you going?!” Daniel asked.
“Mommy paint with Mariam,” Mariam pleaded.
“Sorry guys, Mommy needs to finish something really quickly. You guys paint and tell me when you’re done.”
NOOOOOOO! They both started getting upset.
I sighed and was feeling very tired already. I just needed to do something of my own and I have been attending to them nonstop since morning so it’s not like I haven’t given them attention. Like seriously guys, yes I work, but every single morning, evening, night, and whole weekends, I am with them kissing them constantly and taking them out for family outings so I know my kids can never give the excuse that they are “neglected” by working parents. We love our kids a lot and we show a lot of love to them, so I knew it was ok for me to have this time to do my own thing. Another idea popped up.
“Ok, Mommy will show you how to do one house. And then you guys have to do your own ok?”
I did one house (it was gorgeous, guys, I’m so talented) with them and told them it was their turn.
“Noooo. Mommy stay here with us.” Awww they really love meeeeee. But no Vivy, now you gotta do your work just for a while. An idea again.
“No, no guys. You know why… because it has to be a surprise! I can’t watch you do it because it’s a surprise for Mommy at the end!”
Oh yeah! It totally worked. The kids got even more excited because it was a surprise and they ignored me when I left to the other table. Ahhhhh, I immersed myself in my work and let them paint happily. After half hour or so, I was making progress but I decided to check on them just to give them a quick kiss and tell them their painting was gorgeous (lies moms make even when the thing looks horrible).
My jaw dropped. My heart raced. I could feel my blood boiling.
Paint was everywhere, guys. There were streaks on the table, chairs, on the cabinets, brushes were wet and left dripping, all the cover tops of the paint were scattered on the floor. Blue was in one corner, red was under the table, green was on the chair, yellow was squirted on their Tshirts.
Oh boy was I angry because I told them to paint ONLY on the art blocks.
I spent the rest of the hour scrubbing every surface (I made them do it too) and by then, I was just emotionally exhausted. How do you even continue working on your thing after feeling so frustrated the entire day trying to handle your kids. So I’ve double confirmed what I have always told people – you can never do work with kids around. Even if you have a private study in the house and you lock the door with chains, it won’t work.
I’ve always been a chill working mom and I think I handle the juggling pretty well, but I must say – sometimes you just have those days, days you want to just scream because your kids are driving you mad. And then, your kids go to sleep that night and when you kiss them, all of that disappears. Motherhood is a crazy rollercoaster I tell you!