Well, here I am. I’ve managed to drag myself out of bed before the kids are up so that maybe I’ll have enough quiet to get some writing in.
This is harder than it sounds. I’m a big fan of sleep. I also have trouble making myself go to bed at a decent hour, because once everyone else goes to bed, it’s so… quiet. I finally have time to myself to just unwind, and I want to get every second’s worth.
But I usually can’t write in the time after everyone else goes to bed, because I’m too tired to think. So the rare moments of early morning alone time it is.
I have friends who are both writers and homeschoolers (more than a few of them write here), and I can’t for the life of me figure out how it’s done. I always figured I’d be pretty good at homeschooling from a curriculum standpoint: I’m a librarian, non-classroom-based learning is what I do (GeekMom Caitlin recently linked to a post about this on her own blog. When I saw “The ONLY thing you need for Homeschooling and it’s Free,” I told her, “Well, I had to click just to make sure you had the right answer.” It’s okay, she did. Also, here’s one of my own related posts).
But that much time with my kids? Summer vacation drives me batty enough as is. To keep that up all year long, let alone get them to stick to a schedule and accomplish anything? I would outright lose my mind. And the thought of writing anything of my own while that’s going on is laughable.
Maybe I shouldn’t compare my own family experiences to other people’s. Maybe they don’t live in a household where every last person has ADHD. Maybe their little girl isn’t noisy and always in need of attention, and their boy isn’t highly sensitive with emotional regulation issues (which is always fun to combine with a sibling who’s noisy and attention-needy), and their dad is home more or at least spends the time at home not wrapped up in his own interests except when he’s yelling about the state of the house, and the mom… I mean, maybe she actually has the ability to focus. Even with all the rest of it.
Footsteps. Super Mario music starting up. He’s alone, he’s occupied, I can continue. He’s a video game addict, though; we’ve had to put a limit on screen time for summer vacation just so he doesn’t go into a rage every time he can’t be on them. He’s definitely healthier when he takes running-around time. “Listen to them,” his dad said yesterday as he and his sister chased each other around the house, “they’re so much better when they’re off the electronics.” It was true, they sounded like healthy kids. But he hadn’t been listening to them sound like healthy kids all afternoon.
Sometimes I need that babysitting screen.
I used to write all the time. Ever since I was seven, I’d keep a packet of paper with me at all times just to jot down stories in spare moments (and often not-so-spare ones). I drafted most of a book on the back of many daily schedules during downtime working at the Children’s Museum. I belonged to SCBWI then. I was actively seeking publication. Then ten years ago it all but stopped. My FLOW was gone. I had a small person sapping all my attention.
I can’t say I regret my two favorite people in the world. I just haven’t worked out my Emotional Boundary issues, and it’s draining. I need lots of quiet time to myself (or loud-but-good music-blasting time to myself) or I will MAKE quiet time to myself by going catatonic and neglecting everything but my daydreams. In order to be a decent mother, I need regular time off from mothering, or I’m no good to anybody.
More footsteps, now voices. “If you get up before me, wake me up,” the family extrovert scolds her brother. Now the music changes to Minecraft as they decide to work on the world they’re building together. This is more distracting. The girl runs through my “office” (wouldn’t it be nice to have a room of my own? It’s very much not) on the way to the bathroom, stops short. “YOU’RE up?” she says. “Why are you so quiet? If I knew you were up I would have made you be loud!”
“Why… do I need to be loud?” I try to parse out.
“So you can talk. I would make you talk.”
Sigh. I guess I’m done writing for today.
Hang in there, quiet GeekMoms. It’s only three months.