by Allison Pang
The thing I've noticed about writing schedules? Neither kids nor cats are particularly good about keeping them. (Or paying much attention to them.)
I've mentioned in the past that I only tend to write at night these days. If I work it right, that's one or two solid hours of uninterrupted time after the kids have gone to bed - and sometimes a little longer depending on my energy level and if I really feel like staying up until 2, knowing I have to get up in a few hours for the regular day job.
I've tried doing the "Mom is writing thing" with the shut door and the timer, but in the toddler days that was laughable anyway. It just led to a massive amount of frustration on my part, because I could never quite get in the zone. Even if I HAD the time, there's one ear that's always open. I need quiet! Why won't they be quiet? Hmmm. That's TOO quiet.... And quite frankly, kids need family interaction - not to mention there's dinner and homework, piano lessons and ADHD counseling that needs to be attended to, let alone plain old quality time.
If I'm under deadline, that'e one thing...but I can't just set the kids in front of the TV for six hours on Saturday while I work.
So compromise is the thing.
I do the late night thing as I can. On weekends, I give one full day to the family - we do whatever it is we're going to do...and then the other day is mine. (As much as this can happen, anyway. Grandma got a new puppy last week - I suspect I'm going to be given rather short shrift for a bit and that's just fine with me.)
But the thing is? Schedules or not, kids have this way of upending them. Case in point? Last Friday evening, I was settling down to what would be a solid 3 hours of work. It was about 11:30 PM and I was in the zone. The DH had left for OT, and the kids were in bed and woo hoo!
Only the boy sprog came downstairs complaining of an itchy head about 10 minutes later.
Yup. Head lice.
So...my scheduled 3 hours of writing? Out the window as I shoved him in the shower, ran to the 24 hour drug store to buy the meds and then spent 2 hours picking nits out of his hair and washing all the bedding. ALL THE BEDDING.
(Yes, I've drawn back the curtains of the glamorous life of the author-mother. Exciting, eh?)
So I guess this week's topic is a bit of a bust for me. At the moment, the kids have to come before the writing. In a few years, that will change as they get older and more independent, but for now I just focus on what I can and try not to stress out about the rest of it.