I am not a parent. I love kids, especially my nieces and nephews, but in small doses. I’ve always believed in the importance of extended family, so I make myself as available as I can to them and take my role as the Weird Aunt seriously. So this year when looking at budgets and the four nieces and two nephews who would be expecting something awesome from me and my husband, we decided the best thing we could do would be to invite them for a sleep over (two at a time to keep the adult to kid ratio reasonable). So far so good. It would be relatively cheep, just some extra groceries. And awesome in that I tend to be much looser about certain rules than my brother and sister-in-law. I can do that – they go home. So we proposed this to the parents and came to an agreement. No bed time and no limits on computer or TV time. And they would come one pair after another.
Okay, that last part is where the problem came in.
I had plans for the week between Christmas and New Years. Plans to get some writing done, my office organized, etc. I’ve had the kids over with similar goals in the past, just not for sleep overs with unlimited TV/computer time. Needless to say, my plans for my own work ended up on hold – but the kids had a great time.
What I learned in this experience is that parent writers are some of the most awesome people in the universe. Somehow you manage to get to your writing computer regularly while still maintaining the health and well being of your kids. That is a talent I don’t have. It is one that needs to be admired. How do you do it?
I tried to set things up so that I would have time to work while the kids played with themselves and the Xbox. And they did play with the Xbox for hours at a time, yet somehow I just couldn’t make the words happen. Figuring that I was just distracted, listening for problems I turned to organizing and that didn’t work either. The “no bed time” part meant that I didn’t have a guaranteed time when I could stop listening, and maybe that was it. Or it could have been that the WIP was a high heat level romance that was difficult to think about with kids present. Whatever the reason, with the kids in the house my mind was everywhere except my novel or even my office.
There is no scenario that I can think of where I will become a parent, so I don’t have to worry too much about this lack of skill on my part. For those of you who have it, I bow down to you.