I hear Lola stir in her crib upstairs just as I’m half way through an article on the Today Parents Website. She’s cooing and talking joyfully at first and then her pleads became more urgent.
I know as I climb the stairs to her room I’ll never finish the article. I’ll never get back to any of the tabs open on my laptop. At least not today. I’m excited to see my baby as she has been napping for over an hour and we can now take our daily walk and play and look at books together but I’m also dismayed that the quiet me time I had been enjoying for the last 90 minutes is now over. I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I had hoped. Damn it! Why didn’t I spend more time writing?!
One of the things I have tried to instill in Lucas is this mantra:
Chores before play, put away one game before setting up another, errands before park, etc.
I first heard it two years before I became a mother in the 2007 movie, The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington. I liked it then and love it now that I have children. I’ve also tried to follow it myself and it seems to work (most of the time) with my son.
My days are long and start the second my feet hit the floor. Full of tasks I have to do…
Make breakfasts, lunch, snacks, bottles.
Care for the dog.
Lay out clothes.
Change the baby.
Pick up stray socks, dirty bibs, Lego.
Assist Lucas as he packs his backpack.
Load the car.
It’s no different in your house.
Mornings are particularly and notoriously busy for households with children, trying to get everyone what they need to start the day.
A mom’s “have to do’s” last All. Day. Long. As soon as one need is met, it is followed up with another and another and another. And even our free time is not our own because when the kids are in school or napping is when the real work happens. I mean, who can sweep the floor with an adorable seven-month-old scooting around or an anxious Kindergartener ready to play another round of UNO? I certainly can’t.
So, alas… the things I want to do fall by the wayside. I make sure to exercise five days a week because if I don’t, I start to get twitchy. But apart from that, all I want to do lately is write. Writing is tricky, I can’t just sit down at my desk and write, I have to first peruse the Internet, respond to an e-mail, pay a bill, place a Diapers.com order, take a Buzz Feed quiz, get lost in the vortex that is Facebook.
I must tell myself every morning: After the kids are in bed and dinner is cleaned up and put away, I’ll stay up late and write.
And every night I crash within minutes of my children or I fall into bed too exhausted to do anything but exchange a few words with my husband and watch another episode of Chopped while I play Words With Friends.
Sigh! It’s the great debate in my head these days… when to write. Not what to write, just when?!?!
I was on a roll the other day and considered giving Lola a piece of paper to keep her occupied for a few minutes. And then I thought better and got down on the floor with her and worked on spit bubbles and mouth noises. It was time better spent, but my head is on overdrive and I must find some hours in the day to devote to writing.
Do you struggle with this too? When do you find the time to do the things you’re passionate about?