Obstacle Course

I want to be writing a post right now, but a dark cloud has settled over both children and they are taking turns waking and crying. There was only a half an hour during which they were both quiet today. It involved one taking a really late nap and the other building heroes and monsters.

So I summon up patience reserves and ask softly what they need. I don’t want them to need right now. I want to write. I put off what I want all day to do what they need, and now I want to write a blog post.

I want to be writing a chapter right now, but the house is a mess and the lunches aren’t made. I did a darned fine job making three nice meals and two snacks today.

But there are no milestones. There is no “done.” Relentless. It’s not back-breaking or war-torn or subsistence-level. But it’s relentless.

Now I summon up the will to tidy, clean, and slather protein goop onto bread for lunches tomorrow. I don’t want to think about other people’s food right now. I want to write. I’ve been putting it off all day, mindful of what my two small creatures need, and now I want to write a chapter.

I want to be reading a book right now, but I’m unfocused and can’t give the words the time they deserve. I try twice and give up. I hear another crying child, see a pile of clothes for the laundry, and smell leftovers waiting to be tucked into the fridge.

Now I try to summon the maturity to give up for the night. I don’t want to call it a day. I want to write and read and create and marvel and think. I put all of those aside today, promising myself “later” while I enjoyed the play and resented the battles and joined in the lives of other people. I’ve been answering requests for 22 hours. And now I want to be me.

The day started at midnight when the littlest one woke crying for water. He chases away my REM cycles every hour or so after the night is enumerated in single digits. The older one woke before dawn and started whistling the joyful chorus of those without front teeth. They both pushed hard all day, trying to fill every moment with fun and beauty and learning. I tried to keep up. And be responsible and tidy and mindful and nice. I tried to feed them and teach them what they need to know to be decent humans. I did a fine job considering how little I sleep each night and how mad I get when Elvis Costello tauntingly reminds me that every day he writes the book. Every day. The book I’m neither writing nor reading.

So if I quit and go to bed, Elvis Costello wins. And I can’t have that.

Consider the post written and the lunches done. Next: draft a chapter. Then: read one sentence and fall asleep.

Win-win-win-win. Take that, Elvis.

19 thoughts on “Obstacle Course

  1. Ha! You said it Naptime. There is no “done.” At least, not until they go to college, and then, it’s a sort of done. And you’ll still (possibly) find yourself desperately wanting to give yourself that writing time for you.

    And find yourself doing it at 2 in the morning, tra la…

    But hey. There are far worse things in life. And sleep is overrated.

    • On days like today I loudly proclaim sleep is for the weak.

      Tomorrow I will announce that sleep is for the emotionally stable as I fight the urge to cry, scream, and guilt anything that moves.

    • And the cheerful reminders from the uber-talented MR. Costello of how he gets to do creative work every day. Every. Day.

      I used to write every hour. Now it’s twice a week if I’m lucky. It causes pain to my soul. Good thing for the cuteness because otherwise those kids would rue the day. Or I would. Every day, every day, every day I rue the day?

    • Oh dear gawd now I’m going to think that. Pushing a fathermucking rock. I guess feeding kids and telling them repeatedly and calmly to use their words is slightly less uphill than Sisyphus’s gig.



    • Said the professional chef.

      But those people paid you in compliments and cash, right? Yeah. That would really help. The yucky faces after I buckled down and cooked for two hours yesterday were payment enough.

      Enough to make me homicidal, that is.

  2. I recently took a blog hiatus for almost two weeks because I was getting so frustrated by my inability to ever complete something, and was tired of trying. I’m not saying this is the answer. Sadly I don’t think there is an easy answer. But on the upside can I tell you it’s sort of comforting to know others who blog more regularly also suffer from this? I was starting to think I must be doing something wrong since I can never finish anything. Including this comment. Baby started crying midway through and now I’m back and don’t even know what the hell my point was.

    • Trying not to laugh at the part where you can’t even finish a freaking comment without being interrupted.

      Most of us blog to find a community of likeminded creatures. And to vent. That doesn’t mean I have a point it just means…I don’t know…we’ll read when you have ideas or rants, and you can read or not and write or not as your day allows.

      I used to blog every day. For years I blogged five times a week. Now that I’m down to once or twice a week it’s even harder to find something to say.

      One tip that might help: when you find an hour or two one night, write several posts. Schedule them to post every other day or so. Whole week taken care in one evening.

      • The community aspect has been my favorite unexpected aspect. Sometimes that makes it even harder when there’s no time. C’mon kids – mommy already gave up all her real world friends for you. Give me 5 mins to talk to interweb friends.
        Thx for the tips – I just started falling into a write-a-bunch-in-one-sitting rhythm and it definitely helps.

  3. Loved your post, Nap. It is lyrical. Makes what we’re slogging through sound somehow worthwhile and brave. :)

    • Thanks, chickadee. If I were a poet, I’d find a way to show that all of this frustration exists as a clunking trochee amidst the gorgeous iambic heartbeat of wonderful small people. But I am not a poet and I can’t actually represent the adrenaline as a stilted obstacle in the path of satisfying and rhythmic running.

      Goddess I hope what we’re working at is worthwhile and brave. Otherwise…shudder.

      • Of COURSE it’s worthwhile, and most definitely brave!! Lions and tigers and bears are nothing, compared to parenting.

  4. I swear we are living the same life. Especially when it comes to the oh-so-appreciative faces of our young after we spend the day grocery-shopping, recipe planning, and cooking yummy foods that any normal human would devour with joy and compliments.

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