When your kid is sick, everything else falls apart. Whatever you were planning to do that day? It’s probably not happening. That meeting you scheduled? You get to re-schedule it. So fun! And if you’re really lucky, you get to have a terse conversation with your partner about who has the fuller schedule today and can’t possibly hang out at home with a snotty child.
Having a sick kid just isn’t any fun at all. Especially when you realize that they’re generously passing on their germs to you, with every sneeze, cough and demand to be held. This happened to me recently, in fact. Last Wednesday, Hannah was home sick from school. And then, right on schedule, on Friday I was felled with some kind of superbug, strengthened by the refining fire of my daughter’s immune system, and ready to do battle with me.
Hannah, resting on the couch on her sick day
Jacob, considering whether or not he should join his big sister
Being sick yourself is every bit as not-fun as having a sick kid. But fortunately for me, on Friday morning I had Wonder Nanny. She came for her usual morning of playing with my kids while I head to the cafÃ©, only I wasn’t up to heading to the cafÃ©. So instead, I took to my bed in dramatic Victorian style, and she played with my kids downstairs. I could hear them down there, making crafts and building towers and dancing to music and playing make-believe. And it struck me: Wonder Nanny is really present with my kids in a way that I rarely am.
Now, in fairness, when Wonder Nanny is at my house I’m paying her to be present with my kids. It’s her job, and she doesn’t have anything else that’s on her to-do list for those few hours. I, on the other hand, am trying to be the best mom I can while simultaneously living a life of my own. When I worked outside the home, I focused on work while I was at work, and I focused on home while I was at home. As a work at home mom, the two are never truly separate for me now.
It’s not that I don’t do stuff with my kids, you understand. We visit the park and bake chocolate chip cookies and read lots and lots of books. But I’m often thinking about work, or trying to fit something in, around that time. My mind is in several places at once.
I made my kids milk and cookies, I’m not all bad
I’m still not totally sure how I feel about the way that my time and attention is always divided. Maybe a little bit of it is inevitable. Having interests outside my kids certainly isn’t a bad thing. And being present in the house with them a majority of the time isn’t bad either. And yet, I do wish that I were better at focusing on what’s happening, instead of always being in 15 different places at once.
How do you do it? Do you feel that your attentions are constantly divided? Or are you focused completely on your children when you’re with them? What feels like the best balance for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PS – Every month I do a monthly review of things I learned. Some are serious, some are funny, and all are hard-won. I will be running it on Wednesday, March 2. If you want to play along, there will be a link-up, so write a post on or before the link-up date and come back here to include it.