Where Did My Day Go?

Otherwise known as, A Day in the Life of a Writer Mom:

coffee6 AM: Wake up and stumble out to the kitchen for that important first cup of coffee. No matter how quietly I slip down the hall, little ears are tuned to my whereabouts. There is no school today. But who cares? Let’s do this!

Could start my writing day now, if it weren’t for the fact that Kid #2 is playing laser tag with the dog…at my feet. Nope, not distracting at all.

paperwork9 AM: Sent Kid #1 in to clean and organize her room. Looks like a bomb went off in there. She’s 11, so she doesn’t need my help.

Could start my writing day at this point, but now I’m feeling guilty that the kiddo is cleaning/organizing when I have just as many of those type of projects to tackle. So I start on Mt. Paperwork in the dining room. Two trips to the recycle bin later and the kids are whining for lunch. Where did my morning go?

chuckecheeseOne PM: I promised the kids I’d take them to Chuck E Cheese after lunch. I am either a hell of a great mom, or a certified lunatic. Kinda leaning toward the second option.

Driving down the freeway, my brain starts editing my current WIP. With no possible way to write down these new ideas, I am chanting them out loud to keep from forgetting them. Kids are looking at me weird. What?

6 PM: We got home with enough time to throw a quick dinner together and rush off to basketball practice for Kid #2. Where did my afternoon go?

I’m trying to read a book on writing craft while keeping one eye on Kid #2, reminding him to guard his guy, listen to his coach, take his hands out of his shorts and quit goofing off. I think I read a paragraph.

7:30 PM: We’ve moved on to piano lessons for Kid #1, with a quick stop at the nearest Starbucks for a skinny latte for me and pastries for the kids. Because I can’t *not* get them something when we’re stopping there solely to keep ME awake. Besides, sugar before bed couldn’t possibly be a bad idea, right? Ha.

Moving back to the book I’m trying to absorb. Only now I’m reading while simultaneously being serenaded by piano from room 1, guitar from room 2 (Smoke on the Water, anyone?) and clarinet from room 3. I think my brain is going to explode.

falling asleep8:30 PM: Kids are in bed and I have moved on to a glass of wine to celebrate getting through a no-school day.

Could I get started on my writing day now? Heck no! I am not a night owl. Nights are for winding down, and usually for falling asleep by 9:30 or ten o’clock. I’ve moved on to reading for pleasure. And I’ll probably fall asleep after a chapter or so. Where did my day go? zzz…

Giving Myself Permission To Be A Kid

300003aLast summer I was under deadline to finish a book. This past fall I signed a new contract that kept me busy through April. Then in May I got the bright idea to submit a story for a collection whose deadline was ridiculously too close for comfort. Deadlines = stress. They also create a crazy writer mom – just ask my kids. Sure, they love when I order pizza for dinner. But they prefer to eat that pizza with a loving, snuggling mother, not a distracted animal who may or may not bite.

I had planned to write a Christmas anthology over the summer. A self-imposed deadline this time. I also have three different series at various stages of plotting, inside my head. It can wait. It can all wait. My ideas aren’t going anywhere. In fact, the longer I wait, the more insistent they will become to jump out of my head and onto the screen. Anticipation can be a good thing.3000038

Instead of writing this summer, I am giving myself permission to take these precious few weeks off. I’m going to spend time with my kiddos. I’m going to look at life through their eyes. Yeah, I’ll still do laundry and cook dinner. Can’t get away from some adult responsibilities. And I’ll take advantage of other adult perks–like being able to drive us to our next adventure.WP_20150621_003

I think we’ve gotten off to a great start. We’ve created fairy gardens for the front yard. We built a sand castle and discovered a hermit crab and some freaky gelatinous substance that may or may not have been alive. We’ve charted new trails at the park that must be explored. We rode the Ferris Wheel on the Seattle waterfront. And we went out for ice cream.icecream

The kids are signed up for some summer camps. Last year I would have used this time to hole up in a coffee shop and write my heart out. This year I’m recharging my creative batteries. I have no idea WHAT I’ll do with my free time. But it will be relaxing and fun and something that I can look back on once I’m in my writing groove with fond memories, knowing I made great use of my time. A blanket, my Kindle and a quiet trail in the woods – perfect! Watching the dog stick her head out the car window in absolute bliss while we go for a summer drive – even better!

When the kids go back to school and I go back to work, the creative juices will be flowing. I’ll have all kinds of new memories to be able to use in one of my books someday. And maybe I won’t take on quite so many writing projects for the following school year. Because, like my children, I’m not a big fan of Crazy Writer Mom either.

How about you? What are your big plans for this summer? Anything that is making your inner child jump up and down with glee?

Counting Down To Summer Vacation-Can We Stop The Clock?

Help Button“Mommy, how many days until we get out of school for the summer?”

Pshhh, ages and ages. I check the calendar. Less than six weeks. Okay, don’t panic. Don’t let them see you’re scared. Where the heck did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was doing the ‘back-to-school’ dance all through my blissfully empty house.

Back in September I had just submitted a book proposal to my publisher. I had a clear cut schedule of the days I would write, my day to volunteer in the kids’ classrooms and a day to run errands. I had everything neatly written in a calendar. I had a system. I had a plan.But once the kids get out of school for the summer, my plan gets turned on its ear and I need to push myself that much harder to get my word count in each day.summermeme

Now don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my kids. I’m a little obsessive about getting out of the house with them and making memories that they’ll be able to share with their own children some day. My own mother suffered from agoraphobia while I was growing up. This meant that she preferred to remain in the safety and comfort of her own home. It meant my sisters and I had to look for things to occupy us within our neighborhood. We couldn’t afford summer camps. One week out of the summer, our friends’ mom would drive us each morning to bible camp. So when my kids start to utter a whiny “I’m bored”, I probably take it a little too personally.

Last year I spent a lot of time tweaking and scheduling so that I had camps lined up for both littles–at exactly the same time. Makes sense, right? I actually got a decent amount of writing in that summer. This year I went with a different approach. I consulted the kids and let them choose the summer camps they wanted to attend, not giving a flip whose landed on what week. So, while most weeks are filled with some sort of camp (mostly of the three hour variety), only one week has them going at the same time. Which means that I’ll drop one child off for a fun day or afternoon filled with activities, socialization and some sort of take home craft to display, and one child will remain with me…bored.kidsbeingbored

Which brings me back to the ‘pushing myself’ bit. And the obsessive mom trying to make sure her kids are having fun. I wish I could say that I am flexible enough to write whenever. Midnight, and the rest of the house is asleep? No problem! But my creative brain turns on about six AM and turns off about…aw heck, five PM. So yeah, I’ll be the dork mom on the playground, sitting at the picnic table with my laptop, hoping that if my child falls off the equipment, they can drag themselves over and somehow pull me out of my scene in order to let me know we need to pack up and head to the emergency room. I’ll get hateful looks from the involved moms who remembered to pack snacks, apply sunscreen and actually chat among themselves. But the alternative is forcing my kid to find something to do at home, which gives me mommy-guilt hives that I refuse to deal with. It’s a trade off.

Will I do this every single weekday during the summer months? Heck no! They’re only young once. Just as I get obsessed about needing to fulfill my word count, I also dig in my heels and find excuses not to write. If the weather is gorgeous, I’ll pack ’em up and head to the beach. Maybe take a ferry ride across the sound. Ice cream is always a great way to make summer memories, especially if we’ve had to drive a bit to get to someplace we’ve never tried before. The zoo is always a favorite destination. All work and no play makes a dull mom. And I may come out of it with another book, but I’ll have lost the memories my kids spent making with everyone else. It’s all about striking a balance. I’m trying to let the kiddos take the reins this year and hoping that we all get what we want out of this summer vacation. And trying not to panic.

I need to embrace this quote, this summer.

I need to embrace this quote, this summer.

 

A Writer Mom’s Special Day

momsdayI was told to bring a book to bed last night, to read in the morning. I was not allowed to get up until I was served breakfast in bed. Now given that the kids know chocolate is my favorite food in the world, I was a little nervous about what to expect on my breakfast tray this morning. However, the actual menu was a lot tamer than the one I had imagined. Toast, marionberry jam and strawberries. And they figured out how to use my Keurig machine! I wish I’d had a camera to capture their expressions as they carried it in. They were so proud! I’m choosing to ignore that they put four packets of sweetener in, when I use half of one. I carried on like it was the best coffee I’d ever had. Because seeing those little faces grinning so big, it WAS the best coffee I’d ever experienced.

Nope. This was not their actual creation. ;)

Nope. This was not their actual creation. 😉

Little Guy couldn’t wait until Mother’s Day to give me my gift. At school they’d made seed paper hearts that could be planted in the soil and would grow all sorts of wildflowers. He also couldn’t wait for ME to plant my own seeds. He did it for himself yesterday, when I wasn’t looking. And then set up his own fairy garden–right.on.top. Sigh. Gotta love his enthusiasm.

Hubby thinks my restaurant choice for Mother’s Day was a bit odd. But hey, he’s a last-minute-reservations kind of guy and he was shocked that no one else had made reservations yet for this place. It’s an Irish pub in downtown Seattle, very close to Pike’s Place Market. The best part? It’s supposedly haunted! How cool is that? We’ve never been. I’m dying (is that an insensitive choice of words?) to check it out. Spirits, you’ve got a believer in your midst, come out, come out, wherever you are!

Doesn't look so scary, huh?

Doesn’t look so scary, huh?

So while today promises to be chaotic and full of adventure, I treated myself to a blissfully quiet lunch at a garden cafe yesterday, followed by a stroll through the local nursery. I snagged a Star Blooming Jasmine and a dwarf raspberry bush for my ever-growing collection of plants that may or may not live to see this time next year. And while I spent some quality time by myself (not writing!), Hubby took the kids to the mall – a place he avoids like the plague – because Big Sis told him exactly what I wanted for Mother’s Day and was able to guide him to just the right stores. God bless this 10 year old – she KNOWS how to shop! Even hubby was impressed.

Did I mention the weather was absolutely perfect?

Did I mention the weather was absolutely perfect?

All you moms out there… birth moms, adoptive moms, grandmoms, fur baby moms, moms of the heart and dads filling in as moms AND dads… all of you, enjoy your special day. Heck, enjoy every day with your loved ones. Make memories and show them all how much you love them. And now I’m weepy…again. I’m a walking Hallmark commercial today. And I’m off to have cuppa number two (with a bit less sweetener).

Procrastinators Unite — Some Day.

procrastination

Are you a doer…or a procrastinator? It’s okay to admit you’re the latter. In fact, I hope you will — because that’s what I am. There are levels, and limits, don’t get me wrong. I don’t sit around playing Candy Crush all day. I’m the type that will do all sorts of productive things to get myself out of the things I really SHOULD be doing. I can go on a marathon laundry spree, if it gets me out of the phone calls I am supposed to be making.

If I can put it off indefinitely, I will. The cats have destroyed the couch and love seat downstairs. To the point where they live INSIDE the couch. It’s done. Time to haul them to the dump. I’ve been saying that for the last three years. This will be the year. Yup. Uh huh.

I’ve been getting notices for years that we don’t have enough coverage on our house. If it burned down tomorrow, we’d be screwed. But unless that letter from the insurance company is tacked to my forehead, I won’t remember to call and update that.panic

Now there are things with deadlines that I don’t have a choice but to address. Taxes? Just a few days ago I gathered all the paperwork we have in the house into a file. Now it’s hubby’s turn. Oh, did you think I procrastinated alone? Nope. It’s a family thing. 😀

Summer camp forms. Medical release forms. Pulling out my credit card and typing all that info in again and again. Why?!? To give the kids some semblance of a summer vacation that they’ll be able to look back on with somewhat fond memories. To give me a brief respite from the needling and bickering that would otherwise be driving me toward a Mommy ‘time out’. And as worthy as this is, Holy Mother of God, I’d rather have a root canal!lazymeme

I’ve been meaning to get the mortgage refinanced. Again, been saying this for years. But it means gathering all the right materials and making a (potentially long) phone call. Maybe I just have a phobia of talking to people on the phone. Could it be that simple? Nah. I’m just lazy.

How about you? Please tell me I’m not alone in this. What would you rather put off? And what do you instead? (Hey, I could be missing out on some valuable procrastination fun!) We’re all in this crazy thing called life together. 😀

Throwback Thursday – Big Sis Edition

I bought a journal a couple of weeks ago that you’re supposed to take turns filling out with your daughter. It’s an amazing way to open up, to share thoughts and feelings without any of the awkwardness. Yesterday I was filling out the page on “firsts”. So since today is already a dedicated theme day on most social media sites, I thought I’d use this blog post to reminisce about my baby girl.

I highly recommend this journal to mothers of daughters.

I highly recommend this journal to mothers of daughters.

So where to start down memory lane? Have I ever mentioned she was a preemie? Five weeks early, anxious to get a jump start on Christmas, was our only guess. And she was such a little scrapper that she only spent four hours in the NICU. I’m here. I’m ready. Now take me home.

She was so tiny I dressed her in a costume from Build-a-Bear Workshop.

She was so tiny I dressed her in a costume from Build-a-Bear Workshop.

In looking through photos, I realize I have a lot more memories I want to share than I really have room to blather on about. Not sure what blog layout protocol is, but I’m going to use the photo captions to tell the story. My blog – my style. ;P Here we go:

Ever the resourceful child, she turned the back of a chair into an art easel.

Ever the resourceful child, she turned the back of a chair into an art easel.

Last formal portrait before her brother was born? I was terrible at having those done.

Last formal portrait before her brother was born? I was terrible at having those done.

Dance class. One of many extracurriculars that didn't stick.

Dance class. One of many extracurriculars that didn’t stick.

This was Chimp. Her first best friend. Came with girl clothes that she quickly ditched because SHE was really a HE.

This was Chimp. Her first best friend. Came with girl clothes that she quickly ditched because SHE was really a HE.

One of the only girls in her pre-K class, she insisted on being a bride for Halloween. She had the boys fighting over her that year.

One of the only girls in her pre-K class, she insisted on being a bride for Halloween. She had the boys fighting over her that year.

Ah, the graffiti artist stage. Her furniture, her clothes... I do NOT miss this stage. ;)

Ah, the graffiti artist stage. Her furniture, her clothes… I do NOT miss this stage. 😉

1st day of kindergarten. My brave little baby was growing up.

1st day of kindergarten. My brave little baby was growing up.

One and only basketball season. Spent most of her time on the court hugging her teammates.

One and only basketball season. Spent most of her time on the court hugging her teammates.

Dressing up for the renaissance faire. One of the things I miss most about her growing up is no more dress up time.

Dressing up for the renaissance faire. One of the things I miss most about her growing up is no more dress up time.

Crazy cat ladies have to start somewhere, right? She loves ours and they love her right back.

Crazy cat ladies have to start somewhere, right? She loves ours and they love her right back.