I’m learning to manage a 3-year-old, an infant and a career — a juggling act that women in the workplace have been practicing in the U.S. for the last 60 years. With my first book on the Afghan poppy trade about to launch, marketing is a full-time job. But my motherly duties come first. Just when I think I have a system in place, it all falls apart. So if you’re a mother and professional, let me know your successful system.
I have help from a friend and sometimes from my husband. I also work from home so it shouldn’t be that hard to get things done, but I’m often in slow motion. Here’s a day in the life:
After I pick up my oldest from pre-school, I sit Andisha, my 6-month-old darling daughter, in her green Bumbo chair while Bonoo, my devlish 3-year-old, plays with her toys in her room. Great time to get some work done. Laptop is opened to my email. Three sentences, then there’s a big noise – in the family, we call it an explosion. The baby is smiling wide and wagging her arms in sheer relief. The Bumbo chair somehow causes these big bowel movements that need immediate attention. I stop working to attend to diaper duty.
Bonoo skips downstairs to where we are and I ask her to help me. She brings a diaper, the cream and wet wipes and I find some clean clothes for Andisha. Then I sit the baby in my lap, holding her with one hand while I type with the other. Bonoo puts on a Bollywood CD and Andisha grabs at my chest. Baby wants to nurse, toddler wants me to clap while she dances. I shut the laptop. Maybe during naptime I can write that email.
Bonoo’s asleep on our bed after 30 minutes of intense conversation with her imaginary friends. It’s time for Andisha to nap too so I should be able to get those emails done. I put her down, but she’s being fussy. Let her cry it out. I turn on the laptop and continue that email. Then I hear a coughing sound from Andisha, she’s turning red. I quickly pick her up and the next thing I feel is wetness on my shoulder — my NYU sweatshirt soaked in milky projectile. It came so speedily that there was no escape. No problem. I’ll write that email after they’re both asleep at night. Now I have to change my clothes and the baby’s.
Dinner is done, both girls are down for the night and I’m sitting in front of my laptop with a cup of green tea. Yes, now I can finish that email. “Dear (bookstore events coordinator)” … my eyes are closing, my brain is shutting down, my back is aching. There’s always tomorrow. Now it’s time for this tired career woman to get some sleep. Good night all.