Tricks to Being Productive with a Toddler Around


I have read books, blogs, and articles written by mothers who divulge their secret ways of managing to get work done. Some take their kids to fast food restaurants with big plastic play places… where $3 of overly processed fried food (Wait… McDonald’s has apples now.. so that’s good… right?) and germ infested equipment will entertain their offspring for hours, while Mom/Dad catch up on emails, writing, paying bills, filling their Amazon carts, etc.

Other parents have admitted to ditching their kiddo(s) at IKEA’s Smaland for an hour of silence, while they hide out in the cafe and catch up on their reading, eat a hot meal in peace, or whatever child-free activity their heart desires. Downside? Spawn must be 4-10 years old and potty trained… also… we don’t have an IKEA that is close enough to justify 60 minutes of free “me” time.

In addition to IKEA, some grocery stores offer a free childcare service (genius)… but again, kids have to be potty trained and of a certain age to participate. Oh… and some gyms and fitness centers have childcare, too… but that would require me paying a membership fee and (even worse) going to the gym. No gracias.

Now people are dying to know, “So, Momma Bish… how do you get things done with Munchie trying to jump down the stairs, climb up your body, ride the dog, scream at the top of his lungs, and swing from the chandeliers, etc?” Well, usually… I don’t. Getting things done with a toddler around is nearly impossible, at best.

BUT, when I really really really need to get something done (like take a shower, make a phone call, or Facebook stalk my child-free and still single friends to live vicariously through them) I can pick from a list of options.

1. Self Play – Sometimes, Munchie is rather independent. Like, right now… he is throwing a ball around the house and chasing it. Fabulous. This only works until he figures out I’m doing something important and begins demanding my attention.

2. Apples – Yes, apples are my go-to distraction. If i need a minute, he is throwing a fit, etc… I just hand him an apple. Generally, this tactic will keep him busy for a good 30 minutes. I just have to keep an eye out for him to get close to the seeds. Oh, how we LOVE apples.

3. Television – “OMG, she lets her kid watch television! What a horrible mother! We must report her at once!” Holy apple turnovers… calm yourself down. First of all… my kid… not yours. Second of all… I swore I would NEVER use my television as a babysitter (but then I learned to never say never). Third… it’s (usually) educational television. Fourth… it’s on for like 30 minutes… so get over it.

4. Step Outside – The first floor is pretty well childproofed at this point (though children can always find a way to prove you wrong), so stepping outside to take an important call (like the doctor calling to tell me I need to reduce the amount of stress in my life, sleep more, and stop eating Goldfish I find on the floor) or talk to a neighbor for a moment is a safe option. This doesn’t eliminate the screaming toddler that is watching me through the glass door, freaking out… but it does reduce the noise.

5. Naptime – But hurry, because you never know how long that kid is going to sleep!

So, there you have it. Most of the day, I’m consumed… but if I need a moment to get things done… you now know my secret(s)!

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