Every so often, I work from home during the day to give the wife a break from watching both kids.
Now, I know, obviously I’m a software engineer and I therefore am not “that busy”, since I’m somewhat settled in a single spot while I’m working. And more so since I was recently promoted to being the software development manager for my team.
The hardest part is keeping the kids productively occupied while I’m working so that I’m not interrupted.
The biggest tool in my arsenal is the baby gate – locking the kids into one room with me so they can’t roam the house and wreck havoc is perhaps the most major step I can do towards limiting the damage when I’m on daddy duty. Most of the time that means we’re down in the media/play room where the toys are, and where I have an electric outlet near where I can perch myself to keep an eye on things.
For the baby, the plethora (yes, it is a plethora) of toys is sufficient usually to keep him engaged for a while and away from destroying everything. When that fails, there’s all of the drawers in the media center and the book shelves for him to disassemble, but we usually hope he doesn’t get that far.
The Monster… is ironically more of a help here than he is in other circumstances. The Monster is not tolerant of the baby making a mess – he tends to take toys away from him and put them back where they belong, not that he usually cleans his own messes up – and so he’s a good big brother in these situations. Otherwise, he’s settled behind his iPad and being relatively quiet (or begging for Sesame Street)…
Granted, I’m not sure that either one really is “productive”. While the baby’s perhaps exploring his environment and learning, I can’t necessarily keep the Monster on educational games on the iPad… and I’m still not sure that it’s really productive on my part to try to coax him into what I want him doing. Hmmm, decisions, decisions…