Scene setter: senior management teleconference with 15 people discussing my project.
Meeting preparation: After three other calls that morning, the kids were getting angst-y, angry and feeling generally cooped up. We went outside and rode bikes for 20 minutes; I set them up with breakfast and the “Just Dance” video game. Should buy me 20 (?) minutes?
How the Call went: Otherwise on mute, I made small interjections and made one comment about communication.
What really happened in that hour:
- Just Dance: 5 minutes into said call, Gretchen LOST her mind because she wanted the blue controller and Sweetpea needed it as it was the controlling—controller. At this point locked doors are pointless. Everyone knows to get a butter knife and unlock the door (even the toddler safety door handle thing fails me…everyone can take them off). So I ran out of my “office” with laptop in hand in hopes of hearing something that was said…Informed Sweetpea to give Gretchen the blue controller.
- Competing Zoom Session: At this point, Sweetpea can log into her own Zoom sessions. However, today her session immediately went south as she couldn’t find her black marker. And by south — I mean she was in tears and distraught. With tears welling in her eyes, I asked her teacher if Sweetpea could use a dark blue marker instead…yes this was fine. Crisis averted.
- People Deprived Kids: Both Elle and Gretchen are dying for people. Sweetpea seems genuinely okay 90% of the time. After resolving the marker, I returned to being able to listen. Maybe 5 more minutes and I could hear Sweetpea losing her mind and Gretchen yelling about how she couldn’t see. G had positioned herself in front of Sweetpea so she could see all the people on Zoom. Ellie was happily coloring like the kids on the Zoom session and feeling included from what I could see. I grabbed Gretchen and brought her to my “office” (which in this case was Gretchen’s room to be farthest from noise).
- Marco Polo: With Gretchen in my “office” I could hear nothing of what a senior manager was saying. I guessed the general question based off of what my boss said. I so should have been the one to talk but literally would have come from left field. I was sad. I’m new to this work group and speaking up is important. But nope. Not going to happen as G was still screaming angrily. I asked G…Would you like to call Aunt M? Instant yes. I opened the Marco Polo app and G listened to pre-recorded videos from Aunt M and 2 yr old cousin K. G ran off.
- Moment of Quiet: Grateful that Sweetpea’s zoom session was going well, Ellie happily coloring, and Gretchen was “talking” to Aunt M…I was able to make one statement during the entirety of the pivotal meeting. Sadness.
So yes at the end of my call I put on a bright and happy pink-red lipstick. I will pretend to be put together.
There are so many articles about parents not being okay or how-to guides on working from home with kids. Though not all the components of these articles are entirely true for me — the point is right now is just beyond rough and I am usually melting. (George is physically going into work and working longer hours than usual).
I’m trying all the tricks. We’re getting tired said tricks. I should take the second linked article to heart. Elle really needs a schedule as much as I do. Someone reminded me recently that this is the season for tablets and TV. I really needed to hear that. We’re just trying to survive over here. Maybe one day I will get to thriving but for now it’s definitely not that.