"Boys! I'm writing, so please be quiet, OK?" It's 7:30 p.m., and they are sitting at the kitchen bar doing homework and watching TV. I know, it's all wrong – but nominations for Mother of the Year 2007 don't go in until October.
Finally, my three sons look toward me and nod in unison. I walk past them and open the two-door cabinet my computer calls home. I keep it in our living room/kitchen area so I can stay part of the action.
With my computer warming up, it starts: "Mom, what's 387 plus half of 148?"
My standard reply to math questions I don't know the answer to rolls out: "I passed Grade 4. You figure it out." The blank screen stares at me. This week I'm writing about balancing self-employment with being a mom.
"Hey, Mom? Mom?" says one son.
"Yes?" I answer. He's the kind of kid who will keep saying "Hey, Mom" until he has my full attention. Then he'll pose the actual question.
"I really like blueberries," he says.
Sigh. Not even a question. He just pulled this statement out of thin air.
"Well, that's good news," I say. "Now I have to get at this, OK?"
He's made his way to the fridge with a cup by now. "Mom, I don't know why this is called orange juice. It doesn't even taste like oranges. Do you think it tastes like oranges, Mom?" I spin around in my chair, about to snap.
"Mom, what's 25 percent of 100 times 6?"
All eyes are on me. "Please! I need some quiet, guys!" A moment of silence falls.
"When is Dad getting home, Mom?"
"Not for a few hours," I reply. "Fellas, please, let me get my mind around this."
They give me the "our mom doesn't love us" look and then they're back watching TV.
All right. I'm in the zone. I'm a modern woman having it all: I'm running a business. I'm raising a family. I chose self-employment so I could work my own hours, and I'm ...
"Mom, where's the remote?" The youngest tugs at my sleeve. "I want 'Treehouse' and...."
I hear a call from the cupboard: "Do we have any food?"
"Don't forget karate tomorrow, Mom."
"Hey, there's the remote!"
"I want 'Treehouse.' "
"When's Dad home?"
"Can we have a dog?"
I turn off the computer, push back my chair, and close the cabinet. It's not about balance. It's about timing.