childhood, family, motherhood

Attention Grabbers

It’s been one of those days. For one thing, I usually try to post in the morning. Well, for one reason or another I didn’t get to it, and about mid-morning my day started to act like a pack of toddlers. You know what I mean, if you have spent any time around small children. Or not-so-small, at times. They want your attention. They want it now. And if you’re giving too much attention to one of them, another who was playing happily and quietly by themselves is going to have the urge to come tug on your sleeve until you share your attention with them, too.

Today, none of this was particularly bad. It was just one thing after another, cropping up, demanding my attention, and sometimes two things at once needed me. The end result is that stuff got done. Just not as the same stuff as I had planned. For one thing, the website – this one – is now switched to a different hosting plan. There may have been some down time today on the site, and sorry about that, but it was meant to be minimal and I couldn’t check up on it (or hurry it, for that matter) while it was happening. Hopefully this will take care of some of the issues I’ve had for the last year with the site crashing under heavy traffic, and being slow to load. It’s also costing me considerably less, since I shut down two websites and am only running one. I was talking with my daughter today about business expenses, and what I once-upon-a-time paid out for having a site built, hosted, maintained (ok, that part’s a joke. Updates to material were never done in a timely fashion) and a newsletter database supported. Now? Well, you can do all of that for free, and you don’t have to know how to code. I pay for the website hosting happily, it’s part of doing business, but I could settle for free and have it be nearly as effective. And newsletters? Mail Chimp is the bomb. And they’re free. Highly recommend them to anyone who wants to send information to subscribers on a semi-regular or irregular basis and doesn’t want the up-keep of a blog.

But I digress. The rest of the interruptions were a mixture of personal and business, and it was all good. It just got me thinking about life, and how working from home is a perpetual challenge. I’ve done it forever, it seems – since 2000, which isn’t an age, but certainly an era. There’s been a few years in there where I worked outside of the house full time, and it’s easier. Really. I’m not joking around. Reporting in to a routine, orderly job is far better than having to manage your own time, constantly triage the to-do list, and juggle all the attention grabbers. In every job interview, they ask you ‘what do you do if your day’s plans change?’ and I look at them, thinking what I cannot say. I’ve run a home office for a successful small business, creating nearly everything about it from scratch (ever wonder how I got into graphic design?) while managing three toddlers and an infant. I know how to remain professional and on track under conditions that would turn your hair white. A client decides they need something different in the afternoon than what they said in the morning? I’ve got this. Motherhood is like that. But you’re not supposed to talk about your kids in an interview, so I just explain what triage is to them.

Sometimes triage is an unpleasant choice. Today, it meant I didn’t get any writing done. I may, this evening, but I may not, since there is laundry to fold and dinner to be finished.  it’s ok. The long-term plans show me that I didn’t waste today. I can bump things down the list a notch, not off it. Sometimes I have to bump things off it, but writing isn’t that. Taking a daughter shopping did get bumped.

And I’m going to have to wrap this up. Something about a family who want my attention. They’ll get it, too!