Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Out of balance again

I talk a good game about letting go of what I can’t control, making time for me and for creativity, but the fact of the matter is that for a while now, I haven’t been writing what I need to write: big edits on my manuscript.

I’m getting very frustrated with not having any independent time. Most days look like this for me:

6-9am get everyone up and off to school and work and exercise classes.

9-12ish: Toddler duty sans my live-in mother-in-law while she goes out for her own things most mornings. And that’s fine, because it is important to her to keep fit. While on toddler duty, I can usually focus enough to write a short blog post and garden, thank goodness for gardening. A couple of days a week, do load after load of laundry. Family of six, you know.

12-2ish: maybe Toots goes down for nap on the early side, but typically it’s later now, and she is wound up and I have been trying to feed her, myself and get her down for a nap while she alternately squeals and clings or runs around like a maniac, getting into everything, and my mother-in-law arrives back home and sits at her computer to play Farmville and the like. Sometimes we talk well, sometimes she has to get something off her chest after spending the morning out with her sister and friends, and that’s usually when I really start to feel frustrated because I have been here, unable to work on what I really want to focus on: the manuscript, and Toots is out of whack and won’t logically take her nap the way she should. Because her nap is all about me you know. ;)

2pm: Eldest , Mr. Cynic arrives home from high school, checks in, walks dog, maybe unloads dishwasher then goes to hang out around the neighborhood. It’s a good neighborhood, he has good friends here. Maybe Toots is down for her nap or we’re still struggling to get her to take one, but I’ve largely given up by then and am just trying to tune her out, hoping she’ll do like one of the boys did when they were her age, and she’ll wear herself out, pass out on the floor with her butt up in the air. This is not how she works. I don’t know why I persist in putting hope into this fallacy. More Farmville from the neighboring computer. Or Grandma lies down with Toots on the guest bed, because Toots needs to hold someone’s belly while sucking two fingers on her other hand, in order to fall asleep, which she still heartily resists. Or maybe I give up, and take the lay down with Toots duty.

I’m exhausted by now, unfocussed, can’t think straight, and usually can find some housework to do, etc.

3:15pm: Captain Comic, my 11 year old son with Asperger’s Syndrome comes home and starts buzzing around the house, has to be micromanaged to wash his hands and get a snack, check in about school day, and then he gets 30 minutes of videogames if it’s a good day. He is typically a constant stream of noise. All writing is completely out the window by now. And my evening is filled with lessons that start at 5:00 for boys, getting dinner together, which is an a la carte challenge with differing dietary needs and wants across the board from basic pickiness, to vegetarian, to soy and lactose intolerance, to ‘I’m so sick of pasta with red sauce’ to just griping to gripe about it.

So by evening, I am completely tapped out. And then micromanaging re: homework, shower, bedtime rituals, etc.

A while back I was invited to join a children’s authors writer’s group that meets on two Tuesdays a month during midday. We write and critique, Usually focussing on one or two people’s work per session. This was a godsend. I asked my mother-in-law if she would watch Toots on those days. It worked for a while, but now she has a particular class that meets during my critique time. And I’m SOL.

So as of this morning, while the discussion has occurred between Honey and me in the past, I have made the decision, that I don’t care what it costs, because it’s either going to be financial support or logistical family support, I need to write. I am getting on the horn with daycare centers and plunking my daughter into strangers hands a couple of days a week.

It’s that or I go completely and utterly, frustratingly insane. And my book will never get finished and sold.

So there.  I will make the balance, because it obviously won't happen any other way.


  1. Your actions were my exact suggestions. It sounds like Toots is ready to get out and explore the world. If you put her in daycare from 9-12 two-three days a week it will be the highlight of the week rather than the drudgery. She will love being with her new friends. Now, that doesn't mean that she won't cry as soon as you walk in the daycare door, that is what kids do...they go about their day trying to behave and play right and that costs a lot of energy. When someone safe walks in they will be very happy to take all that pent in energy and dump it right at your feet and they do this by crying. Give it a minute and the energy is released and they will stop. In the end keeping yourself healthy is the best way to keep your kids healthy.

  2. thanks for your suggestions, Millie!

    i am well aware form my old experience in day care and in having my older kids the challenges of hello and goodbyes. lol!

    i ended up venting on the phone to a friend after posting, and she said, well, you know, i'm free tuesdays, and i want you to tutor my 13 yo! why don't we barter? I couldn't believe how easily that turned out for in the meantime. but i think i will be doing the halfday, 2 days a week either in the summer or for next fall.

  3. oh, for the elusive balance..... may it settle out soon for you! the barter situation sounds ideal!

  4. thanks, jen. i did write the post in a less than stellar mom moment. i'm working on the balancing act. and yes, my friend was a goddess for suggesting the barter!


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