I am not a woman of many talents. Never really excelled at sport or school, average cook and hopeless teammate at trivia nights. But there is one particular skill that I have developed over the past 3 years and that's the ability to hold an engaging conversation while also supervising my toddlers impressive ability to scale any surface that even a gecko would have trouble gripping.
Don't act like you're not impressed.......
I've been in many conversations with my team and clients where I can hear the kids in the background watching Postman Pat on TV or begging mum for a bickie because they are dying from hunger, only to have the conversation picked up with 1,000 sorry's.
Let's just get one thing clear, there is nothing to apologise for. EVER!
I know that it's not ideal having a child vying for your attention while you are trying to listen but hey, that's life. Kids don't care about our schedules or how important the conversation is. They have their own simple needs that for some reason, all need to be met as soon as you pick up the phone.
So here's what I propose to all of you parents out there trying to make work and kids a successful relationship.
The obvious one - try to arrange the chat around nap times or during times when someone else can kid wrangle while you are on the phone.
Test the waters - if this is a phone call with someone you haven't spoken with before, get a feel for your audience first. Not everyone wants to hear a child screaming in the background while they are trying to talk. A good way to do this is say "I can do Monday but my child will be home, otherwise I can do Thursday"
Set expectations - when you start the call, just remind them that the kids are with you and explain that you may need to stop the conversation with them.
Distract the kids like a boss - my favourite (and often frowned upon) distractions include the TV, foods that take them ages to eat or creating an activity outside.
Being a working parent isn't the easiest gig so if you are trying to converse with some poor soul who is trying to balance everything, have a bit of empathy and try to see the funny side of life with kids.