If you are a mom, you can already relate to this story by the title alone. There is something about taking a phone call that instantaneously turns our kids into incapable, whiney, and loud little souls. In the world of texting, most of my phone calls are quick passages of information, booking appointments, or passive chit chats with friends and family.
However, there are times when a phone call is serious business and when you are a work from home parent, you have no choice but to wing it and book calls when you can. Because I have a two-year-old and a five-year-old, I am careful with booking phone calls with potential clients and meetings to time when my children will be the most cooperative. With one child in school full-time and one still at home, I am never at a place where there is complete silence.
My latest encounter with an important work call left me, prisoner, in my room with screaming kids on the other side of the door. First, we live in a small two-bedroom home, and my room doubles as my “private office” when I need to lock the door to ensure a quiet(er) phone call. When I booked this phone call with a potential client, I tried to schedule it during “after school relaxing” (i.e. screen time). Which in theory, should be the closest time to absolute silence a work at home mom will ever have (that or during the three seconds it takes them to scarf down their desert). Either way, this was my best bet.
The phone call had been set up for a few weeks and I was as prepared (or so I thought) as I could have been. Of course, unforeseeable “mom life” madness ensued. The first clue my plan was going to fall apart? When I realized my daughter’s extracurricular class was scheduled for that day, therefore cutting the hour I gave myself to get the kids home and settled from school, down to only 15 minutes. I hesitated about whether I should move the appointment back, but I did not want to come across as flakey or unorganized, so I opted to keep it and hoped for the best.
Attempting to be prepared, I had readied a plate of afternoon snacks and had them waiting for our return home. At pick up, I rushed them to the car, but we were on track and everyone seemed in good spirits! While driving home, I prepped them on the importance of the phone call, what I needed from them, what they would do, and where I would be. We made it home with one minute to spare, just enough time to unlock the door and give the remotes to my oldest—who can very well operate the tv without my help. When the phone rang, I reminded them about my phone call and asked her to turn the tv on as I skipped to the bedroom, greeted my client, and tried to make witty jokes to set a good tone.
The conversation began and within one minute my littlest one was banging on my door and screaming about the tv. Figuring it would all sort itself out once my daughter got a show on, I did not pause the phone call. Well, this continued for several minutes. By this time, I was hoping my potential client could not hear what was happening in the background. There was nothing I could do. If I opened the bedroom door to see what was going on, the screams would have been louder, and it would have taken several minutes to try and negotiate between the two kids; I was trapped in the room and tried to hurry the phone call along.
But it gets worse. On the other side of the door, unbeknownst to me, my son threw down a large house plant, spilling wet soil all over our carpet. My daughter, being five, thinks she needs to inform me right away (trumping the important phone call I asked her to stay quiet for). She then screams “mmmmoooooooooooooooooooooooommm” for about 20-second-long intervals for the remainder of the phone call. By now, I am literally crawling in my skin of embarrassment and trying to wrap up the phone call once and for all. And if I was wondering whether my client could hear the chaos in the background? Yeah, that all ended when she said: “Um, sounds like there is a lot going on, do you need to go?!” Trying for some comedic relief, I laughed and commented on, the life of a mom, and completed the phone call.
When I came out of the room, my kids took one look at my face and knew. Yes, I spent more time than necessary stewing and replaying the phone call back several times in my mind, allowing myself to fall trap to unnecessary stress. It is funny to think about how different this all would have gone down had it been my husband versus me. With my husband, my kids are much more self-sufficient, first-time listeners, and all around-complain less. But when mom enters the equation, it means everything is just more extreme. These are the moments I will look back on and laugh—I already have several times writing this article. Life is hard. Life as a mom is hard. Life as a work from home mom is hard. Even though yesterday I probably gave myself a few new gray hairs and added some wrinkles to my face, the minute I put those kids to bed and look at their sweet slumbering faces it all fades away and spend my evening looking at photos of them from Facebook memories. Let this be a reminder to give ourselves a break when “mom life” happens; because no matter how prepared we think we are for life, it will still happen, in the way we least expect it!