Awhile ago, I transitioned this blog to mostly focus on my writing, and then the blog became pretty quiet! It’s become even quieter of late, and that’s because, well, I haven’t been doing a ton of work lately. I’ve stopped actively seeking new clients at this point and am working with my existing clients. My work and writing life have come to a slow simmer. I think that’s ok.
I hear other people talk about how they work from home with kids around, and I am truly baffled by this concept. The only thing I can think is that these people either work opposite shifts from their partner, have kids who sleep a lot (or at least more than my alert, dairy-farmer children), or have kids with calm temperaments.
I have part-time childcare right now, and those are the ONLY moments when I am able to get work done. Not only the actual writing work, but even sending emails or making phone calls to confirm appointments or interviews. I literally cannot send a confirmation email while I am responsible for keeping my children alive.
Here’s an example: the other day, Miles asked me to help him unstick his arm from a too-small sleeve. In the few moments I was turned away to do that, Felix got his toothbrush and dunked it into the toilet before using it to scrub his teeth.
Here’s another example: I paused to butter some toast for Miles and turned back around to find Felix greedily slurping up water from the dishwasher door–dirty water tinged with barbecue sauce and mustard drippings–as if it were ambrosia.
My reality is simply that my kids require constant monitoring, relentless supervision. It’s not because I’m a helicopter parent. It’s not because I’ve failed to impose limits. It’s because they are feisty and curious with little concept of safety awareness. They’re always a heartbeat away from stabbing each other in the eye with an icicle.
Sure, I could hire more childcare and plan to work more hours. But often, there are things that pop up during my work time and I’m the only appropriate person to respond. Like last week, Felix got an infected body part (I’ll spare you the details) and I had to rush his feverish, prurient little body to the pediatrician the very same day Miles had to be picked up from school for an asthma attack.
Plus, I spend a LOT of time managing Miles’ various behavior services every week. It’s important to me that I am the one to manage these services and make sure my son is getting the support he needs. Just yesterday, I was on the phone for an entire half hour trying to arrange his transition to kindergarten meeting. During that half hour, I had to buckle the kids in their carseats and give them cups of animal crackers. (Don’t worry–I turned the heat on for them)
Every now and then, I get sad when I see a potential story I know I could be writing. Right now, my family is fascinated by the shortage of road salt throughout the Midwest and East Coast. We learned there’s one lone salt mine in upstate New York frantically working to provide salt for 12 states who need it for the winter that won’t stop pounding us in the face. If I were working more, I’d be locating a salt miner and writing a profile about him or her. Wouldn’t that be fascinating to read? Wouldn’t you love that?
I remind myself that one day, my kids will know how to, generally, keep themselves alive. Or at least they’ll be at school during the day and someone else will be in charge of keeping them from licking up black market road salt. So I’ll be able to work more and these sorts of stories will always exist. I’ll always have the ability to write them. So I’m ok with the slow simmer for now.
Because it also means I get to be there to watch Felix torment his brother with a feather duster. It means I get to be the one to sneak the word “fart” into song lyrics and make Mils snarf milk out of his nose. And then I get to read them Charlotte’s Web. It’s good stuff, this.