I’ve been having a hard time keeping on task lately so we had a family meeting to try to get back on track with our work schedule. I am the children’s primary caregiver in the mornings and Richard takes over in the afternoons. One problem we’ve always had is that, even when Richard’s on kid-duty, the children still come in and ask me for things – i.e. “Mom, can you take us to the pool?”; “Mom, have you seen my robot?”; “Mom, do you think my favorite jeans are in the washing machine?” “Mom! Frank flushed my eye shadow down the toilet!” and “Mom, Max is giving Percy a haircut!”
If you’re the mom in your house, I’m sure you can relate. Even when Daddy takes over, Mom seems to be the errand-runner, know-it-all, crisis-control-center and disciplinarian.
So, we took the children out for dinner the other night to discuss these issues and remind them how hard it is for a writer to get back on track after she’s had to plunge the toilet for eye shadow or sweep Percy’s hair off the bathroom floor. We reminded the children about our schedules and reinforced the message that Daddy is just as good at refereeing arguments, finding lost toys and saving helpless pets.
So, the following day, at 1:00 p.m., when I started writing and editing, I put on my headphones…but I forgot to turn on my i-tunes.
It was a pretty quiet afternoon. The children were coming in our room, looking at me, and then going to Daddy for their needs. I was happy that things were working out and I was getting a lot done. I got up to go to the bathroom awhile later and, when I returned, I didn’t put my headphones on because I wasn’t listening to the music anyway. Within minutes, Ali, Frank and Max had all come to me to ask or tell me something.
What had changed between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. that was gone now? No, it wasn’t that they’d remembered but then suddenly forgot our family meeting. Far from it. They’d come in here earlier and assumed that, since I had on my headphones, I couldn’t hear them. When the headphones came off, I was once again on the kid clock.
I tested my theory the next day and I was right! I put on my headphones and, even with my music off, everybody went to Daddy. Heh…
So, headphones are my new daily afternoon accessory…whether I’m listening to music or not.
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