Productivity and Parenting: Take Your Time

I’m the very proud mommy of a 6 month old baby girl. She is the first child for me and my husband, and in the past week, she has gone from the sweetest/cutest colleague in the whole world to my number one distraction from working.

Like so many of you, my husband and I are working from home with our baby and trying to get used to this new normal as day care drop-off and going into the office are no longer an option.

Luckily for me, I have worked remotely for the past 7 years. Unlucky for me, my husband has taken over my sacred workspace and turned it into 50 shades of yucky! Our beautiful home that we renovated for the spacious open floor plan is now a complete waste because I can literally hear him talking from every room in our house.

Thankfully, we are not in the boat of having to educate our child … I can’t even begin to fathom what that looks like, but if it’s anything like distracting/occupying a six-month-old to hopefully give yourself 20 minutes to check your email or jump on a phone call, I feel your pain.

Before the pandemic, my normal routine started around 8:00 a.m. (after having dropped the baby at school):

  1. Poured a cup of coffee
  2. Scoured the news/LinkedIn
  3. Prioritized my day and meetings
  4. Then off and running by around 8:30 a.m.

Today my day is quite different:

  1. Pour a cup of coffee
  2. Baby just puked, pooped or did a combination of the two; gotta clean her up
  3. Warm that cup of coffee up
  4. Baby is fussing; tried to distract her with stuffed animals, teether toys, a very large water bottle, a vibrating bouncy chair … today our dog Lola was her cup of tea
  5. Looked down to check the news on my phone … got through half an article and started to hear the grunting
  6. Changed the diaper again, sat her in her swing while watching Mickey Mouse (OH TOODLES anyone?!)
  7. Time for her nap … YESSSSS, sleeping baby, soooo nice!!!
  8. Warm the coffee for the third time and ask myself “Why didn’t I invest in the Yeti before this?”
  9. Now finally prioritizing my day and meetings

Did I mention it’s only 8 a.m. by now? I started the day even earlier (can I get a “what what winning”) but I wouldn’t exactly say I was spending my time productively!

For my husband and I, productivity is a team effort – unless we help each other out it’s just not going to happen for either of us. Our best effort looks something like the Rock N Sock Connection in SmackDown, he’s The Rock and cool under fire, I’m Mick Foley the sweaty mess! We juggle entertaining her while on video conference calls, while trying to answer the millions of emails/chats in a day, while trying to finish out our to do lists, while trying to hit deadlines, and so much more! But the most important thing is keeping the baby on her timed schedule, one wrong move and that 2 hour napping window turns into a 15 minute cat nap and we are all screwed!

But as I sit here writing this, I know my productivity looks a little different and we (my husband and I) won’t ever get this time back to be here with our family all under one roof together, every day, for the foreseeable future.

I find myself throwing productivity out the door (opting for late nights after her bedtime and early mornings before she gets up to do things) in favor of spending time watching her smile, giggle at her daddy when he wakes her up in the morning, playing peekaboo with her burp cloth, and listening to her blow bubbles while laughing.

For me I want to take time for all those little moments right now.

I want to take TIME to read her books.

I want to take time to go on family walks. 

I want to take time to simply be together. 

During this season of life our jobs can become the center of everything. If this pandemic has taught me anything it’s that it’s ok to look at productivity a little different. It’s ok to give yourself some grace and not treat email like instant messenger (am I dating myself with that one?). It’s ok to be someone’s everything for the next few days/weeks/months because we won’t ever get this much time to be with our families again. So, shut off that switch in your head making you feel guilty that your productivity has gone down and embrace the time you have to just be present.

Lastly, to all the people out there in the world working, educating, disciplining, parenting, supporting, friending, loving and so much more, you are doing an incredibly stellar job!

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