Don’t Make Eye Contact…

Having children teaches you things. And I’m not talking about goopy, heartwarming things like how to change dirty diapers or get blueberry barf stains out of LLF’s favorite pjs. I’m talking about things like how to get a little work done when you are home with your precious bundles of energy joy.

The most important survival skill I’ve learned is: don’t make eye contact. If you look your children in the eye and make the mistake of thinking your day will be productive? I can guarantee that you will spend it cleaning up avocado/mango barf, explaining three hundred times in a row that you love both your darling babies, and attempting to clean supposedly washable crayon off the TV. Which means that not only have you gotten no work done, you also want to buy your kids one-way tickets to their grandparents’ house. Or sell them to the military to help them practice guerrilla warfare on our enemies. Whichever.

So I’m trying a different tactic. I set modest goals for the day (and I mean modest.) Like: edit one page of my book. Then, I try to sidle up to work like a dog sidling up to the coffee table when the hors d’oeuvres are left unattended. Hopefully, like a hostess who has had one too many glasses of champers, your children won’t notice.

Yesterday, for example, I got three new pages written by pretending I was taking the Captain grocery shopping. The baby was lulled into taking a nap in the stroller, sure that I had no intention of ignoring him for work… and then, like the dog seeing a lonely cheese plate… I pounced.  I had cunningly chosen a grocery store within a larger marketplace, so I bought myself a cappuccino and scribbled out three pages using my knees as a desk. By the time Captain Jack woke up to check on me, I was innocently perusing canned tomatoes in aisle two.

I have not yet figured out how to do work that requires my laptop and creative writing at the same time (I can type up stuff already written one-handed while I nurse, but not much else). But I’ll let you know if I figure it out.  After I patent it.

Am I practicing asymmetrical warfare on my children?  Possibly.  Don’t tell the Hague.

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