The Writer's Life

No Time to Write?

As you may have noticed, I have hit a stalemate regarding my writings. Many have asked for new materials, and I continue to ask for more sleep. But how do mothers maintain a writing career while raising children? They are either brilliant individuals or seriously lacking in some other area as a wife and mother.

Day in and day out, it is the same old routine; up with the kids at six o’clock. They are teenagers now, and one would hope that they have evolved into self-sufficient human beings. But, unfortunately, that is not the case with my two. A reminder is required to get them out of bed, eat breakfast, and brush their hair and teeth before hurrying to school. Sometimes a swift kick in the rear (or, in my case, raising my voice) is needed to get them out the door on time to meet their bus.

Once they are out the door, I have one hour before my husband arrives from his midnight shift job. So what do I do with this hour? Dishes, laundry, self-employment work, and the occasional extra hour of sleep from my insomniac nights! Very rarely am I inspired enough to write at this hour.

A friend of mine proclaims that I have three children and not two. After some consideration, I must concur. Hubby demands 100% of my attention. His ADHD commands me to pay attention to every single thing he says. If I do not ask questions like the good active-listening wife that I am, he will get upset because I am not following his train of thought. This, in turn, makes me upset because he is upset. Ugh!

So, to keep the peace, I must listen and actively participate in the conversation for an indeterminate amount of time. Or, I continue to sleep until he crawls into bed.

That said, most of my morning is gone when the nine o’clock hour rolls in. I still have plenty of self-employment work. After all, a family of four cannot survive on a writer’s salary and a factory worker’s income alone these days. So I have from nine until three to squeeze in every item on my agenda and any additional housework. In addition to the credentialing work and clients, I am still developing my documents, databases, and cheat sheets. Who knew there would be this much work behind the scenes?

Somehow, I have to figure in breakfast and lunch into the mix. This is probably the main reason why I haven’t been losing weight. Where is the time to consider healthy food choices and exercising, let alone writing? Simply put, when my mind is so full of other priorities, I tend to put the healthy lifestyle on the back burner. Big no, no!

The rest of my afternoons and evenings play out as follows:

3:00 pm

Pick up nephew from school and take him home (or a doctor’s appointment for one of the girls). I double-check that I have my cell phone in case clients call.

3:05 pm

Thinking about the prescription I have to pick up and the bills I have to pay, I take the wrong turn and must turn the car around to pick up my nephew.

3:45 pm

My nephew takes his time exiting my car; his excuse is to continue to talk to me about his games. When, in fact, I know it’s because he wants to spend more time with his Aunt Stacy. Finally, watching him walk into his home, I exit the driveway to get my errands done, only to find that he left a token of his presence behind.

4:00 pm

Stop at the grocery store, post office, gas station, or any other necessary errand that needs to get done (also, the time is utilized for doctor appointments).

5:00 pm

Pick up the eldest child from an after-school program.

5:30 pm

I am officially off the clock from self-employment and will proceed with family talk time as soon as I arrive home. The youngest insists that I ask about her day EVERY day after school; this also involves the oldest. I then nudge the girls to finish their chores, stating T.V. as their reward.

6:30 pm

Cook dinner. I get a break on Mondays and Tuesdays when the girls cook, but I still have to be present since their cooking skills have yet to evolve.

7:00 pm         

Dinner time.

8:00 pm         

Family time, insisted by oldest daughter and approved by our therapist.

9:00 pm         

The bedtime ritual begins. Hubby scrambles to get ready for work, the youngest procrastinates her bedtime, and the oldest insists that she is not tired. She wants to stay up until her given hour even though her eyes are bloodshot, and she falls asleep on the floor.

10:00 pm       

Oldest finally starts for bed, and Hubby has not left for work.

10:10 pm       

Hubby’s ADHD kicks in, and he starts pacing while complaining about his ride never being on time. I ask him why he bothers, but he never seems to have an answer (this happens EVERY SINGLE night)

10:20 pm      

Hubby’s ride finally arrives, and I have peace and quiet…***Breathe***

10:30 pm       

Me time and I get to catch up on Facebook, maybe enjoy a game, and hope inspiration strikes.

11:30 pm       

I begin to consider writing something… anything… I need to write!

11:45 pm       

I finally punch out the first sentence, and the cats begin to wrestle and play downstairs.

12:00 am        

Cats have taken their game to the stairs and outside the girls’ bedroom door. And one of the cats is a screamer!

12:01 am        

The cats wake the girls, and screaming ensues behind their door; must calm down the girls.

1:00 am          

After running around with the squirt bottle, chasing the cats back down the stairs, and turning on night lights to help the teenagers get back to sleep, I resume my position at the keyboard. I can finally continue writing.

1:02 am          

I begin to feel sleepy.

1:05 am          

I start nodding off.

1:08 am          

I finally concede and turn off the computer.

1:15 am          

The exertion to get up from the computer, get dressed in my pajamas, and walk to my bed has given me a boost of energy, and I feel wide awake.

1:16 am          

I grab a book and begin to read.

2:38 am          

Finally, I begin to nod off. Sweet, peaceful sleep!

Most every day looks like this, and I wonder. How in the world do I manage on only 3 ½ hours of sleep? Apparently, there are five hours allotted to spend with the family each and every night! I could juggle the schedule to include valuable writing time, but wouldn’t that entail sacrificing family time or my personal quality time? How can I say no to a child in need of a mother?

I don’t know how to answer these questions. I know my passion for writing still exists, and I continue to write My Beautiful Letters to My Beautiful Daughters. I think about my novel that needs critiquing and submission letters that need drafting. I even considered another periodical for ThumbPrint News. Still, my thoughts are consumed with family activities and obligations that no ideas grace my keyboard. For once, I would like to shuck my responsibilities and let my inner child run free… naked!

Eww… me, naked? Jiggley flesh? Maybe not.

All in all, I am not giving up. I love to write, and I will write. However, it may take me longer than I had hoped. Soon, summer will be here, and the children will be out of school, bickering with each other and getting on my nerves. So I am planning a new schedule and hoping for less time running around and more time writing. In fact, Mommy will have a new “Do Not Disturb – Writing in Progress” sign on her door. Let’s hope the natives will comply!