I'm an excellent multi-tasker. When I listen to people complain about how hard it is to work at home with a child in the house and they need to hire a babysitter to be there so they can do their jobs, it perplexes me. That is my world and my reality. Do they work in an office with eight other people requiring computer assistance from them in order to do their job? Do they also have a job that they themselves need to get done? Do they do it with a baby attached to their hip, pulling out handfuls of hair the entire time? Do they cringe when on the phone every time that baby makes a noise, lest the person on the other end of the phone hear and declare you "unprofessional"? Oh and do they do it on four, non-consecutive hours of sleep? Well, pshaw then!

On the days when I work from home, it should be easier, but it's not because it just adds loads of laundry, putting away dishes and cleaning up after the rest of my family to the list of things to do while trying to work on the computer and answer email at the same time. I know, I know, I could let stuff go, but it's difficult to let a baby crawl around on the floor when there's a slew of dropped food, toys and hair balls (the cat's, not mine) for her to eat. So I end up spending a good portion of my day just getting the house into a state when I can sit down and work. I finally canceled the cleaning service I'd hired because I realized that I was spending an entire day just picking up stuff so they could clean and then the house only stayed clean during the two hours I was home before my husband and daughter walked through the door. I feel guilty that I'm not putting in a full day of work so I end up stretching my workday out from four in the morning 'til I go to bed at night. Don't even think about getting a shower.

I'm not saying other people don't have it harder. I love that I get to go to work and have an adult conversation every now and then. I don't know how stay at home moms do it - and I totally and completely admire them for it. I'm just saying that every once in awhile it'd be nice to have that adult conversation without tiny fingers being inserted into my mouth or answer an email with two hands instead of one. Sometimes, I'd just enjoy going to the bathroom by myself.

I love my girls. I love that I get to bring them to work with me. I love that I don't have to miss whole portions of their lives and that I can still pay the mortgage and the utilities and maybe contribute something to a school fund for them in a couple of decades when gas will be $69 a gallon and it will cost them all their savings just to get to college. I don't regret my decisions for a minute.

I'm just saying I'm tired.

As a consequence to this ability to multi-task, I rarely give my full attention to anything I do. When I'm cooking dinner, I'm also cleaning up the kitchen, putting away dishes, making sure the Small One doesn't fall down the stairs, the Large One doesn't drop the Small One down the stairs, and checking email to make sure I didn't miss anything that needs to be dealt with today that I'll get chewed out tomorrow for missing. When I'm up at three am feeding the baby, I'm also editing that one last chapter that needs to get done before the week's end. And all the while, I'm feeling guilty because I often don't give my full attention to motherhood.

Yesterday, I finished a project early and put away the computer, work, phone, turned off the tv and got on the ground and played with my daughter. For an hour. And at some point in building a city of blocks and watching her knock them down like Godzilla on a bender for the forty-fifth time, I realized that this may very well have been the first time I've spent an uninterrupted hour just playing with The Caterpillar in a very long time.... maybe since she was born. That is unacceptable.

This morning I dropped The Dormouse off at preschool and as she walked through the door, she immediately remembered it was "bike day" and they were all supposed to bring their bicycles to school so they could do some outside riding. She hadn't told me and I didn't hear it from anyone else. By the time I get to her preschool, I'm a third of the way to work and it's a waste of time and gasoline to turn around and go back. So I said, "Well, honey, you didn't tell me - what am I supposed to do? Plus, we haven't put the training wheels on your new bike yet, so you couldn't ride it anyway."

She looked at all the other kids with their fancy bikes parked in the classroom and back up at me and started to wail. And that's when my heart broke. This, in her four year old mind, was The Worst Thing To Happen In The World and all I had do to was take twenty minutes out of my day and get her a damn bike to ride with her friends and I could be the hero and I wasn't willing to do that for her because it'd make me late for work.

So that's why I was late for work today.

It's nice to have some perspective sometimes.