Can I talk honestly for a moment here? By now, we are—what—6 months?—into this global pandemic and the shock of having our lives suddenly shuttered to the confines of our living rooms has worn off.
We have gotten used to living in sweatpants, to managing screen time for our kids and for those of us newly-remote employees, to hearing all the working from home tips. And while all the tips about how to work from home with kids or tips from working from home effectively are all well and good in theory, the hard truth to hear is this:
My toddler has other ideas.
Frankly, my one-year-old just doesn’t seem to care how many work-from-home articles I read or what remote success strategies I put into place. In fact, most days, it almost feels as if she is deliberately intent on thwarting any and all efforts I have to be productive. The nerve, am I right? Of course, as a work-from-home mom of 5 kids now, I am fully aware that toddlers are actually known to be extremely calm, cooperative, and willing to follow along with any schedule I set for the day in a smooth, orderly fashion.
Hahaha, just kidding. Toddlers are basically villains in a Disney movie. So let’s stop pretending that there’s any “real” way to get through working from home with a toddler in any other way than “survive any way possible” and instead, let our toddlers call the shots with tips, shall we? I mean, after all, they’re the real ones in charge around here.
So, without further ado, may I present, 10 working from home tips, straight from the devious minds (and adorably chubby) hands of toddlers:
Only Boycott Naps on Extremely Busy Work Days
The rule of the thumb is this: the busier your mom’s work day, the less you will nap during the day. It’s just the way it has to be.
Also, bonus points will be awarded if you are able to trick your mom into thinking that you actually fell asleep and wait until just that precise moment that she’s stepping outside of the door—exhilarated that she managed to escape and dreaming of kid-free work time—before standing up and screaming loudly in your crib.
Poop Any and Every Time She is On an Important Call
The minute—and I cannot stress this enough—the minute she is deep in the call and absolutely needs to be present and engaged is the exact minute you need to fill your diaper like you’ve never done before. This is crucial.
Then, Poop Again
Did she manage to successfully change your diaper one-handedly while making pointed use of the mute button on said conference call with her very much child-free boss who would be horrified to know what was happening on the other end of that phone? Perfect—it’s go time. Fill that diaper up again, fellow toddlers!
Refuse to Play with Any of Your Actual Toys
Yes, the humans who think they’re in charge of this place spent hundreds of dollars outfitting the perfect nursery for you with plenty of hands-on, engaging, and educational toys. But those are a strict no-go. Preferred play items include (but are not excluded to): phone chargers, computer cords, wall outlets, knives of any kind you can get your hands on, the dog’s water and food bowls, indoor planters, and of course, the toilet.
Demand to Be Held at All Times (Until It’s Convenient For You to Be Held, Obv)
Times you should demand to be held by your mom:
- When she’s trying to type an email
- When she’s trying to prepare you food
- When she’s trying to get you to eat food
- When she’s literally trying to do anything, ever
Times you should demand to be put down:
- When she’s trying to carry you to the car
- When she’s trying to hold you while walking across the room
- When she’s trying to put you in the car seat
- Any and all times she wants you to be held for your own safety and well-being
Cry for Seemingly No Reason at All
It’s best if you can keep the grown-ups in the house on their toes (it’s good for their aging brains). One useful strategy to engage their gray matter? Keep them guessing with a well-placed temper tantrum.
Are you hungry? Do you need a diaper change? Want to go outside? Or are you just whining for absolutely no reason other than to make that new wrinkle on your mom’s face deepen just an inch more? Only you will know the truth.
Ensure Lunch is as Messy as Humanly Possible
Sure, you may have loved those diced avocados yesterday, but today is a whole new day, so instead, smear `em in your hair, toss `em on the floor, and stuff them in that tiny crack in the high chair that she’ll never be able to reach to clean. Everyone needs a productive lunch break to recharge, so really, you’re just doing your mom a favor here.
Make at Least One Embarrassing Phone Call from Her Phone Per Day
FaceTime her boss while she’s in the bathroom? Check. Call that one contact she’s been pointedly ignoring texts from? Can do! Leave a 10-minute heavy breathing voicemail to the PTA president and text a picture meant for Daddy to your family group chat? Done and done. All in a day’s work, my friends!
Computers = Find, Search, and Destroy
Listen, if it has a keyboard, it must be smashed. We don’t make the rules of toddlerhood, we just live by them, OK?
Fall Asleep Sweetly in Her Arms
Just when your mom is exhausted, at her wits’ ends, and contemplating running away, be sure to fall unexpectedly and adorably asleep in her arms. Because just when she least expects it, you want to be there to mind of her how sweet and innocent you really are.
And for whatever reason, even though you’re finally asleep and she finally has the short-lived freedom she’s been longing for, without a doubt, she will snuggle you just a little bit longer than she has to because she just doesn’t want to let you go.
Moms are so weird, am I right? Well, it’s been another productive day the office, see you tomorrow, fellow toddlers!