Friday, July 28, 2017

Staying motivated, part 1

Looking back to those early years in which I had one book contract and two very small children...

Imagine having one baby who’s barely weaned and her ten months older sibling who is walking and whose main interest in life is destroying the interloper. Imagine being an aging mother who, to be honest, enjoys kids much more after they learn to talk, coping with sleep deprivation, mopping up orange juice, and picking up little bodies all day.

You can’t write “while the baby naps” because the Murphy Twins from Hell don’t even nap at the same time.

You don’t write after they go to bed because by that time you’re asleep at the dinner table with your face in your plate.

It’s a pretty clear choice: either you bring in absolutely no income by writing, or you bring in some income minus whatever it costs to hire a sitter for four hours a day.

So the morning goes like this:

The baby wakes up screaming. Feed her while prying your eyes open.

The toddler wakes up jealous because you’re holding That Other One. Placate her with Cheerios.

Your husband brings coffee. Put the baby back in her crib and skedaddle to throw some clothes on before the sitter arrives.

Return to find that both infants are throwing a fit because Mommy disappeared. Your husband, bless him, brings more coffee. Feed, console, and distract the offspring until –

Hallelujah! The sitter is here!

Retreat to study with a third cup of coffee. Close door. Put on music to drown out noises from outside.

Consider the fact that what you really want is to lie down on the floor and go back to sleep. Or read something light and undemanding. Or go to sleep sitting up in front of the computer.

Time for the motivational speech.

“You’re a writer. If you don’t write, you’re not a writer. If you’re not a writer, you don’t need and can’t pay a sitter, so you can jolly well go out there and resume taking care of your own children twenty-four hours a day.”

Begin typing like a bat out of hell.


  1. And just think...when/if grands come around you could be doing this all over again!

  2. No effing way! My role as grandmother is to spoil the kid, overexcite it, feed it sugar... and hand it back!


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