Tips to entertain a child for a day (or two)

Imagine this. Your largest client pulls the trigger on the software that you have been working with a team to implement for three and a half years — literally the same amount of time that your child has been alive. It’s not a low stress point of any project and pre wiggle man (my 3.5 year old), it would have been a week that I worked 70+ hours and didn’t blink.  As a working mom and only parent in the house, that isn’t an option.  To add to that, this little guy got strep from daycare.  It’s part of the daycare life. Timing… Not optimal.

For the last 48 hours (Monday and Tuesday), I have had my 3.5 year old full time with the exception of 2 hours where I went to ensure that I didn’t have strep as well.  On top of that, today we got our three month old puppy spayed. Long story short, she doesn’t like to take pills so I am practically certified in crushing pills and powdering dog treats.


All in all, the last two days have allowed me a little more time with a sick toddler who wants nothing more than to snuggle with his mom while he is sick.  It’s reminded me of the value of my planner to keep up with everything from how many doses of medicine Eli has had and the dog has had plus meetings for work. Lastly, it’s brings such an appreciate to all the moms that have their kids full time – whether they work from home or are stay at home moms. I work from home, but trust me, I couldn’t do it with E at home.

So what made the last two days not a living hell? What were the brightest moments and the ways that it wasn’t Eli sitting in front of the TV all day?


Eli has set times that he normally watches TV. Don’t get me wrong, I think moms do whatever they need to do and often, that requires a solid distraction. But he doesn’t expect to watch TV except in the morning and lately when I work out in the morning, Eli knows that he needs to find something to play with.

Granted we watched three movies today… by we, I mean, he only was okay if I was within arms reach. So I was on the couch.


This isn’t the number of toys that matters. It’s about having things in a spot that your child can get to them on their own and play.  For us, this was a Christmas gift.  Santa brought a new table with two bins underneath.  One contains Playdoh and Legos. The other has all things coloring. It’s organized this way because these are the things that Eli loves to play with most.

Trust me. It was no where near this clean today.


I would be lying through my teeth if I said that the two days went perfectly. Somewhere between the spilled milk, Legos falling on the floor that the dog tried to eat and the millionth time hearing “MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY”, I lost it at least twice. Which me losing it and raising my voice just resulted in the sick child crying because I raised my voice (not a normal thing). At some point, all you can do is stop and breathe.

In our case, we decided to end the day with edible cookie dough. Sometimes you have to give a little.

Being reasonable

Expectations for Eli were set, but I also had to know that I wasn’t going to work a nonstop eight hour day with a 3.5 year old in the room. This isn’t the norm for me and I let coworkers know that it was going to be a spotty two days. It looked like taking breaks and playing Legos for 5 minutes.  Who else is going to be the bad guy in the Lego group??  If you look at those baby blue eyes, you can’t tell me you would keep saying no to a sweet “Mommy, can you play with me?”

Long story short, it’s not easy and I have so much respect for anyone who does full time childcare — for their own kids or others. Thank goodness tomorrow should mean a “normal” day. Well, with a dog that was spayed today and a large backlog for work. At least it’s halfway through the week!

Eli ended the night calling me on the camera in his room with “Come in, Iron Man” to get that one last hug. 🥰


Published by Hackingtheworkingmom

Helping moms find joy in chaos. Instagram: @hackingtheworkingmom

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