Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mommy Meltdown

I am now officially on our third week of the kids being back in school, and I have to be honest: I thought I'd have a lot more time.

Over the summer, the kids were an ever-present pull on my time, and I got nearly no writing done. I juggled the guilt of not writing with the guilt of not entertaining the kids and spending time with them, and the kids won. They won in part because they are just so darn fun, and in part because I know they are growing so fast, and there won't be many summers left when they want to spend time with me.

But when school started, I thought things would change. They'd magically disappear onto the school bus every morning and I'd magically have five full hours to edit and revise my current book.

That was the plan, anyway.

What really happened was more something like this:

1. One child needed books from the library which necessitated a four hour cross-county, multiple branch scavenger hunt.

2. One child needed swim lessons scheduled and another needed evaluations for swim team placement.

3. Orthodontia appointments. Enough said.

4. Groceries. Clean Laundry. Apparently people need that stuff.

5. Friends that I'd neglected long summer months wanted coffee. I wanted adult interaction.

6. Car brakes were recalled, oil change needed, and sliding van door broke.

7. My running shoes fell apart. Literally. I had to hit five stores to find decent replacements I could still afford.

8. The bathroom scale said I desperately needed to hit the gym on a more regular basis.

After school, there's been a barrage of homework, piano practices and lessons, swim team practices, paperwork, choir, Bible studies.... in short... barely time to scrounge dinner and get everyone off to bed.

The nights have been late, the morning early. For the one hour I've gotten to sit and actually write, I looked like that picture up there. I'm exhausted. I fall asleep at the computer.

I've started getting cranky when things pop up to keep me from writing. I threw a pencil across the room yesterday when someone demanded something of me right when I sat to write. I yelled. "I give up trying to make writing a career. I can't have a career. I don't know why you think I should have a full time job when I can't even make a part time job of writing when everyone still just thinks of me as a full time mom with nothing more to do than get everyone else's stuff done!"

It wasn't my finest moment.

I still wrestle with how to get everything done. My stuff and their stuff.

Today I didn't shower, I didn't go to the gym, I didn't do my morning Bible study. I put the kids on the bus, threw my hair in a ponytail, made a huge pot of coffee and sat down to write. Writing first today.

And it's gone really well. I added over 1000 words to a scene I've been writing in my head since summer, and I'm ready now to move on to editing the next chapter. I think things are shaping up really well for this book.

My plan was to go to the gym once I finished that one scene, but now I'm thinking I might just keep writing. The gym will wait. My butt will still be just as big and need just the same workout tomorrow.

Today, no one is home. No appointments are scheduled (until after school). The dog is happy outside in the fall-like weather. And I'm getting stuff done.

Somewhere in here I'll have to fit in the shower, but for now, my computer doesn't care.


  1. I feel your pain!!! But I still have a kid at home, so even though there's not two kids demanding my attention all day, the one still needs me! I hoped once we were back in a normal routine, he would go back to his normal afternoon nap...no such luck. So I do what I can when I can.

    I think the hardest part about being a mom and a writer is we always feel guilt for what we're not doing. But I agree...the kids are only young once!

  2. Yes! I feel like that far too often. And Stephanie is right - whatever we ARE doing requires guilt for what we AREN'T doing. LOL. :-)

  3. It will be okay, Heidi...You'll get back into a groove before too long. All of those things that have piled up will get done and then you can set up a schedule for the next 8 months...Take a deep breath, make a list of what has to be done, break it down into days until it's completed and then get your schedule up and running...

    YOU CAN DO THIS...it will be okay. :)

  4. Time is a funny thing, that's for sure.

    How was your trip to Penn State? You can email me if you want. I'm curious how it went.


  5. I know what you mean!! Those school hours go FAST!
    I've been trying to devote 2 to 3 hours of my morning to writing four days a week. (we'll see how that goes) :)

  6. There will always be something that pulls you away from your work, so embrace the time you have.

  7. AWESOME! Sounds like the perfect day you were in need of and I'm glad you gave yourself that gift!

  8. My son has preschool 3 days a week for three hours in the morning. Nine extra hours of writing, right? Yeah, not so much. Between taking showers, feeding my baby...and everything else baby, and grocery shopping-my nine hours whittles down to almost nothing. Good luck. I'm totally there with you.

  9. Heidi, I completely relate to every single thing you wrote! I whine every fall, and my hubs pointed out that this same thing happens every September. It takes a solid month to get back into a regular groove once the kids are back in school. But we'll get there!

    I did the same thing you did. I put on my workout clothes, then decided to start writing. By the time my son came home from school I was still in my workout clothes, unshowered, but several thousand words "richer." ;o)

  10. Yessss...

    I'm still wondering where my time goes. The first week back, I always sort of just float and readjust. Now I'm trying to get on my horse every day and thinking, what the heck??? I love riding my horse. Why can I only get a half hour every couple of days? Waht's going on here?

    I think writer/ mothers have to learn to let up on the guilt. We'll always get pulled in every direction by all the loved ones. It's amazing we can get anything done.

    That's what I tell myself.

    Sooner or later all the words in my head will build up and I will be forced to type/ write something so I'm not too overly worried. Yet.

  11. Happy to hear you got a good writing day in!

    Been there when it comes to grumpiness, when everyone elses schedules meant more than mine. Now it's changing where I'm trying to get my kids to fit ME into their schedule.

    Funny thing...life!

  12. I got worn out reading this! Whew--you are one busy mom. Soon your family will have to realize that you DO have another job-- as a writer and everone will have to pitch in and help you with that process.