Every Thursday morning I have a conference call for approximately an hour with my boss and 6 or 7 coworkers. I’m a stay-at-home mom working part-time from home, so my phone calls are from home–where my three little kids are, too.
Fortunately, my role in this company is relatively small, so much of the conversation doesn’t pertain to me. I can keep the phone on mute most of the time. When it’s my turn to speak, I usually hide in the garage or bathroom, hoping the acoustics don’t give me away. Otherwise, I can just sit at the computer working on something (or not) while I keep an ear out for my name or a topic that involves me.
One Thursday, as I was typing away but also listening, I put the phone on speaker (still on mute) and hooked it over the top of my shirt for easy access but also so I could keep both hands free. Probably attracted by the noise from the speaker, like moths to light, the children swarmed.
The two oldest brought with them a video game on the Game Boy. The youngest, 18 months, was fascinated by the source of the noise–the pink Motorola hanging near my neck. The oldest was complaining because she wanted a Yoshi. (She was playing Super Mario Brothers.) To try to keep her happy and quiet so I could listen, I took her to a level at the very beginning of the game where I knew there was an easily-attainable Yoshi, and told her to do that one.
For some reason, instead of just doing that level, she kept moving Mario to a different level and then complaining that she couldn’t find a Yoshi. In the meantime, my youngest had successfully gotten the phone off my shirt and was playing with it, unbeknownst to me, as I was still trying to finish my typing task and appease the little gamer. But, when she thrust the game in my face one more time, still not doing the prescribed level, I lost it.
“Do the level at the beginning like I showed you, if you want a Yoshi! Quit going to the castle!” I yelled.
After a brief silence I heard my boss say, “Uh, Betsy, you need to mute your phone.”
I managed to stifle the “Oh, crap!” that came to my lips, as I knew it would be heard not only by my children, but also my boss and coworkers, as I grabbed the phone back from the baby and hit the mute button again.
The conversation carried on as normal, but I could tell my boss was not in the least bit amused!
I just hide completely from my children during these calls now.