Need a laugh? Here are ten things I never thought would keep me from writing…until I had kids:
1) Laundry. What the hell? I used to pile laundry to the ceiling of my dorm room. I used to buy new underwear rather than washing my clothes. Now? I am stuck on how to get a character out of a diner and into a conversation with a cousin in a forest, so I run a delicates cycle and actually bother to air-dry the stupid things. Pathetic. And who are all these people in my house that need clean clothes all the time? You’re just going to wipe pizza on them. Sigh.
2) Eating. Gone are the days when I would look up from typing having missed two meals. Now, I’ve just finished a salad and already considering a dinner menu. Yes, this has to do with how long it will take me to cook for myself, my picky husband and our two kids, but still. Gaack.
3) Shame. Hello! I once published a piece of erotic fiction from the point of view of a stalker! I won an international horror competition about adults gouging out kid eyes on playdates! So why am I all of a sudden squeamish when I see a post-it note that says the next scene will be “Mason kills a small animal out of curiosity.” What am I afraid of? Prophecy? No: every time I write a scene where a kid acts horrific, I have a brief flash of fear that my own kids will wave the passage as justification for their own horrific actions. Repeat after me: just because I wrote it doesn’t make it right.
4) The clock. Oh crud. School ends in four minutes. Guess that’s the end of that scene until tomorrow. Sound familiar?
5) Other people’s vomit. The crazy stomach-flu that’s been going around for three weeks and has hit hard. Maybe I can manage a sentence between cleanups and carrying pedialyte to the sick room.
6) Whining. Yes. This is a big one. It’s not that my kids are whining AT me. It’s that they’re whining NEAR me. It’s very hard to get a thought onto the page when someone is telling someone else how unfair life is. How do lawyers ever get any work done?
7) Social Media (okay this isn’t a parenting thing) but really? I am somehow able to tell my friends I’m too busy to go to a quick lunch with them, but unable to keep myself from checking out the photos they told me they just posted on FB of our kids playing together on the beach. That’s just…sad. Just wait until the kids are old enough that I have to check up on THEIR statuses. Yeah, that’s going to be productive.
8) Field trips. Why why why do I keep chaperoning these things? Five hours of which three are spent on a school bus trying to get kids to stop throwing paper. One more hour is spent in various lines, moving kids from a door where we will patiently wait for a teacher to do the requisite paperwork, and then, finally, one half hour is spent on learning something about pilgrims or birds. Plus half an hour of bagged lunch. Why?
9) Exhaustion. Expected the baby years to be rough, but shouldn’t I have caught up on sleep by now? Why is it so physically and mentally draining to say “guys, can you keep it down” sixty times a day? Shouldn’t I be on autopilot by now, just breezing through discipline? Not. They are finally in bed, tears dried, and teeth brushed, and instead of productive time, I stare at my writing and wonder if the mom in the story shouldn’t be a little bit nicer every once in a while, maybe take the kid out for ice cream.
10) And finally: Parasites. Really – school is like a third world country. Lice, pinworms, hoof-and-mouth or is it hand-and-mouth disease…random contagions I’d never even heard of until the green Xerox came back from the school warning me a kid in my kid’s class has __(insert creepy sounding condition)___. And each condition becomes a pandemic that sweeps every grade and every kid in every class. And requires hours and hours of medication, care, and probably…laundry.
So there it is. That’s my list. What’s yours?