Working From Home With a Toddler: An Hour-By-Hour Case Study in Futility

by ParentCo. April 14, 2017

Toddler is crying

6:15 AM: I get up two hours before my daughter Emma’s usual wake time to get some work done. All I need to do today is send a few emails, write one article, and edit a little bit of copy. This shouldn’t take me too long, I think.

6:17 AM: Son of a bitch! The beast has risen early. Why the hell is she awake? Maybe she’ll go back to sleep if I just ignore her.

6:31 AM: I open the door, and the smell hits me before I even enter the room. "Poop!" Emma exclaims and waves a hand in the general direction of her nose. Looks like my daughter was awoken by a sleep-interrupting bowel movement; mystery solved.

7:09 AM: While I’m shoving my Boston Terrier, Judith, off Emma’s high chair, my daughter takes advantage of the situation. She grabs the bowl heaping with soggy Cheerios and throws it to the ground, creating a milk and mush explosion everywhere. As I try to keep Judith away from the milk mess, Emma takes the cap off her cup and dumps orange juice on her head.

8:15 AM: With Emma freshly bathed, I start over. In a desperate attempt to send a few emails, I throw on Sesame Street. Cookie Monster appears on the TV and Emma is instantly mesmerized.

(Emma loves Cookie Monster. I hate him. He acts like every non-compliant diabetic I’ve ever met – devouring cookie after cookie until his belly hurts, his sugar spikes, and everybody needs to talk him out of doing something stupid. Plus, he can’t even do his one stupid job: Keeping The Crumb out. Really, Cookie Monster? Some dude rolls into a party looking exactly like The Crumb except for an obviously fake mustache and you don’t do anything to stop it? What are you even good for?)

10: 27 AM: Emma is fully distracted by the army of contraband items her mother would be very pissed to learn I gave her as I dial in to the scheduled conference call with my boss and a few upper-level managers.

10:38 AM: While I'm busy jotting down notes, Emma sneaks over undetected and rips my cell phone away from me. Of the six words she can speak clearly, Emma chooses "SHIT!" to yell into the phone over and over again before hanging up on my boss and the execs. She also sends her first tweet: Esazwescawcr a rrdu#rreeees c – a tweet she's somehow linked to an Animal Planet article.

12:16 PM: Emma’s inconsolable because the cat won’t let her yank viciously on its tail. I decide it’s nap time, scoop Emma up and promptly get slapped in the face by a wildly flailing toddler.

12:30 PM: With Emma asleep, I have around three hours to get my work done. It shouldn’t take me more than two.

1:05 PM: The sound of a screeching eagle pours in through the baby monitor and rips me out of my short-lived work rhythm. What the hell is wrong with this kid today? I think for at least the 10th time since waking up.

1:19 PM: When I enter Emma’s room, she’s upright, holding the crib posts like an agitated prisoner and screaming, "DaDa!" at the monitor. The moment she notices me, Emma breaks into her patented Jack-o-Lantern smile and stretches her little arms toward me. I love this kid so much, I think for at least the 10th time since waking up.

3:44 PM: Giving up on my aspirations to be Dad of the Year, I plop Emma in front of the TV for another round of Sesame Street. Elmo’s voice sounds like a metal rake on pavement to me, but Emma seems occupied. I sneak off to send a few emails.

3:47 PM: Outraged at my refusal to watch her watching Sesame Street, Emma is standing in front of me doing her whiny cry. Her arms are outstretched, but it’s not cute this time.

4:10 PM: While chopping an onion from the Blue Apron dinner I promised to cook, I’m distracted by Emma, who’s supposed to be sitting peacefully in her Emma chair watching TV, again yanking mercilessly on the cat’s tail. The lack of focus causes me to chop into my finger. "SHIT!" I scream. "SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!"

Emma the Parrot repeats, mimicking her defeated dad.

4:46 PM: I pay for my food at Chick-fil-A and tell the awkward teen behind the register that, although I will never support his employer's abhorrent views on gays, the restaurant's chicken is one of the few things my pregnant wife enjoys these days (I secretly love it, too). He tells me to have a wonderful day in a puberty voice that cracks as he utters the word "day." Emma screams, "Buh!" and blows the kid an air kiss.

7:15 PM: I’ve squeezed myself into Emma’s tiny chair. She’s snuggled up on my lap, clutching her favorite blanket and zoning out while I read the underrated Seuss classic, “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” When the front door opens, she jumps up and abandons the guy who took care of her all day. Mom’s home.

10:47 PM: All I need to do today is send a few emails, write one article, and edit a little bit of copy. This shouldn’t take me too long.



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