Monday, September 17, 2007

Time on my side?

Today over at Working Stiffs, guest blogger Victoria Thompson writes, "The ideas just come, but the time sure doesn’t. It just flies. Away." How true, how true.

I write about transitions at the beginning and end of every school year, because every transition brings new challenges. This year, Boris is mobile. And not just innocuously crawling. The child is the reason baby-proofing was invented. He deliberately targets the things he shouldn't have, and he knows he shouldn't have them. He laughs when he hears "no" and crawls faster.

At the same time, Hamlet, now in his second year of preschool, has lots of new things knocking about his little noggin. As a result, he has difficulty falling asleep about every other night or two. Result (since he needs company): evenings have a way of slipping away.

I couldn't help thinking about Victoria's post and the comments thereafter while this particular evening slipped away. We commenters talked about the criticality of making time for writing, but very often in such conversations, I get the feeling that folks think in terms of giving up niceties - like nightly Law & Order reruns, or blog time, or what have you. Very few people talk about that old Economics 101 bugaboo: opportunity cost.

Rain Dog and I have had trouble reconciling time in the past. This year, because my business has been so shaken up with the new baby and various jobs coming and going, I chose to devote my time to the kids while he prepared for the new year. It worked out for a few weeks, but I find now that I'm itching to get back to my work. There isn't much of it, but dealing with these two strong little personalities leaves me drained by the end of the day. And when I'm spending that end with the same people I've spent the last 12 hours with? Oh, I get a mite frustrated. It doesn't help that to recoup some of that time lost, I keep late night hours, even though the boys often get me up at 7am.

It's clear that Rain Dog and I must share bedtime responsibilities more evenly, because right now, I feel like business has all but ground to a halt. I may not be able to do much to build it right now, not to the level it was once at, but I need to feel I'm accomplishing more than a few sentences a day. And although the mommy guilt niggles at me, telling me that in just a few short years I'll actually miss laying down with the boys, even she must know that it would be better for all of us if I could feel more productive - and thus, less prone to snap.


Blogger Chris said...

I don't envy you, trying to find the time to write while raising kids. It's difficult enough to juggle a job and writing, and even then, my head gets filled with enough practical junk that sometimes the words won't come. And God knows my mood is directly dependent on how the WIP is faring. God and everybody within snapping distance, that is...

18/9/07 11:18 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

Time is on *nobody's* side.

Yes, you and Rain Dog need to split up the bedtime chores. BTW, this *is* why "bedtime" was invented -- so that, at the end of the day, parents could remember that there's a human being knocking around inside there somewhere. (Deep, deep inside.)

18/9/07 12:28 PM  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

And the kids will be better for having "Daddy" time every night. On that basis alone, it's worth pushing.

21/9/07 1:59 PM  
Blogger Christa M. Miller said...

Chris, yeah, the "practical junk" is just it. Thanks.

Patti, the boys do get "Daddy" time every night - we split bedtime *almost* evenly in that we each take one bath. Then Rain Dog reads stories to Hamlet while I nurse Boris down. By default, I stay in bed while Hamlet goes to sleep. And this hasn't been a problem till the last month or so.

It's so tough, too, because Rain Dog's day is filled with so many meetings that he has virtually no prep time. He comes home needing to do his grading, lesson planning, etc. here at home. That's what happened tonight: I'm on deadline but his stuff really has to come first.

Finally, when he does lay down with them, he's as likely as not to fall asleep too! Then I get an evening to work, but no company while I do it....

25/9/07 9:50 PM  
Blogger Mary Louisa said...

Bedtime. AAAACK!

Great post, Christa. Again.

29/9/07 10:19 PM  

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