Working With a Toddler on Your Lap

Cynthia Dermody
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Inevitably, sometime this winter, I will be writing this blog with a snuffly-nosed toddler on my lap. Conducting business and being mommy at the exact same moment in time is a common and often impossible problem for many working moms, both those who work in and out of the house.

The nanny or babysitter can't make it. Schools are closed due to inclement weather. She's too sick for day care, but you absolutely cannot miss that conference call. The possibilities are endless, but the fact is work must go on.

As I see it, other than taking a day off, there are two solutions.

First, try to find someone who can help you in a pinch -- check out these alternatives for cheap child care.

But here's another idea that falls into the "how to distract them as long as possible" category -- set up a workstation near yours. Stock it with workbooks, coloring books, pens, paints, stickers, play-dough, gak — whatever you like, just make sure they’re all projects or activities your child can do with little or no supervision, and try to include items that they only get to use while you’re working.

An old computer keyboard makes it especially appealing for little kids, and consider giving her some old cell phones, a play laptop, assorted pens, stamps, rulers, and scraps of paper. I don't expect I'd get a full day out of it, but even a half-hour here and there would really help.

I'm curious how other working moms earn a paycheck with their youngins under foot all day? Any more survival tips?

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