“Can we do a puzzle now, Mommy?” my little girl inquires as I read and rapidly type responses to emails from students and try to read a few papers too. I assure her, “Just give me five more minutes, honey.” We’re in the last couple of weeks in the spring semester, and it’s busier than ever. My attention has become more divided between all of the work-related tasks and the attention my daughter requires and deserves. I’m surprised I was able to get all of the preparations done for her birthday party this past Saturday. Lately, five minutes turns into ten or fifteen minutes after I told her I’d be able to play with her.
Last week, while I was typing emails and even grumbling a little as I received an inquiry about something I discussed in class at length, my daughter gets my iPod from the table and starts snapping pictures like she’s a little photographer. She giggles, “I took your picture sending emails, Mommy!” I stopped what I was doing and said, “Let me take a look!” When I viewed the picture, I looked so consumed and then felt so guilty because I was physically present but mentally focused on my work, not Quinn.
She’s usually patient and is now at the age where she can enjoy her own company, but seeing the picture made me take a step back and try to figure out a new schedule for these next couple of weeks that will allow me to get my work done and not feel like I’m being inattentive towards my sweet little girl. I already wake up around 4 am to exercise and meditate, so I’ve been making a sacrifice this week to read a few more papers and emails during this time while she is sleep. While I love my job, I truly am looking forward to the summer break so that we can have even more time together with no distractions. It’s amazing what I’m learning by seeing myself through my daughter’s lens.
All the best,