This is what working from home looks like without a nanny.
That is a white shirt I had on yesterday that was stained with strawberry juice and I just pulled it off to soak it but clearly, that never happened.
Zakariyya is on his tablet even though screen time is allowed from lunch onwards (its only 10am now).
Anas has to roam around on all fours while I watch him to make sure he isn’t chewing random shoes laying around and simultaneously attending to numerous emails or messages in MS teams.
Those are Lego pieces I keep promising Zakariyya I will build with him.
Other times it means I take Anas “with me” to a meeting and check the camera about fifteen times to make sure I am not flashing someone saucer boobs.
Sometimes I am not quick enough to mute myself and the people on the other side hear little giggles or worse, loud screams because he wants to nurse yet again.
Then there is the constant need to try and squeeze in time for schoolwork or crafts or anything. I gave up months ago when Zakariyya told me he was tired of my colours and my numbers and he wanted to play on his own. After months of forcing him to sit still and rattle off things that I thought he needed to know, it was such a relief to just stop and let him learn through play. Adding part-time teacher to my already #workfromhomemom title was just too much. And to be honest I sucked at it; like big time.
Most times, either Faeez or I lock ourselves in the office (previously Zakariyyas’ bedroom) and he knocks on the door and turns the door handle frantically almost as if he has dogs at his heels; “Let me in, please Daddy, let me into the office”. So awks in the middle of the meeting; “Errr sorry guys, that’s my kid and he wants to come inside”. God forbid someone says “Shame, let him come say hi”…Are. You. Freaking. Nuts. And how the hell do you think I am going to get him back outside the room without kicking and screaming and demands for snacks? So you politely decline, and laugh awkwardly and exclaim, “Okay let’s move on guys” trying to ignore the ““Let me in, please Daddy, let me into the office” loud and clear from your side.
My absolute worst and grates on my nerves like nothing else is the classic line “Mommy, I want to show you!” On a normal day with no audience I really don’t care and don’t want to see (yes you judgy parent you can judge me); I don’t care if Peppa has snorted and rolled in mud; I don’t care if your tyrannosaurus rex is about to eat your brothers foot; I don’t care that the cat is sitting on your chair. However, as a parent you show interest because that is what you do. Even with an irritated eyebrow-raised semi screamed, “Yes I see man!” you do it.
But during work hours…..Ahhhhh that’s a new ball game. You have to be fast enough to mute your microphone as you see the kid walking or running or dinosaur stomping towards you. If you are lucky enough to mute it quickly enough then you have to mouth, “Yes my boy, mommy sees, well done!” But wait, you did not realise that your kid was not actually doing something that needed praise, he wanted you to see the funny part and you missed it. So he searches for the remote and goes back to that scene until you get it right and say “Ha Ha Ha” at the exact moment he thinks is funny. And if your kid is anything like Zakariyya, he is watching you like a hawk to see that I am watching this damn pig man. Urrrrrgh it works on my %$#%^&
With Anas there isn’t less stress but it is a different type of worry. As long as he has snacks (which mostly mean my boob) then he is happy. So many a time I have gone to meetings where I have fed him on my lap, laying sideways in bed, walking and nursing or sitting at an angle on the couch and he can help himself and once in our Ubuntu baby-carrier.
With working virtually and having MS Teams on my phone, it is amazing what you can do and the level of multi-tasking that is capable. Sometimes I am hanging washing in a meeting, cooking food, getting snacks for the boys for the umpteenth time, eating lunch or cleaning.
Working from home is chaotic and messy but it works, kind of. It works because Faeez and I lower our expectations (we know that we won’t have a spotless house for a few days), we have a very very very flexible routine and we communicate often (aka scream from one room to the other “Get the kids my meeting is about to starrrrrrrrrtttt!”
It also works because I have an understanding boss and team that know sometimes they will hear little voices in the background or get shown a dinosaur if my camera is on.
It doesn’t work because there is no way I can commit 8.5 hours to work and not get distracted by kids that need breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, entertainment, more snacks, hugs with snacks, a band aid and then more snacks. After cooking and eating supper comes bath time, prayers, bedtime and then back to work to make up for those hours I lost. After that its picking up the toys that Zakariyya might have missed or put in the wrong container (I am Type A and I need the right toy in the right box for my own sanity). Then perhaps after that there is time to watch my latest favorite Netflix series. Inevitably, by this time, I am so exhausted that five minutes in and I am gone to dream land. Before you know it, with some night-feeds in between, morning is here. Then we start the same routine knowing that it will be wild and crazy but we will be okay! This is our life in the time of Covid19.
CAll me Nuz
Disclaimer: As a family, we are very fortunate to have a nanny that supports us on most days. My experience above is for those days where she is home to tend to her own family needs and we are left to our own devices. Our nanny is an integral part of our family and without her, everyday would be madness multiplied by ten!