There’s a problem with being a writer, with a family, and no way to generate an office that is an inviolate personal space.
Namely, visions of being an axe-murderer flit through your head.
I have 6 year old twins. I have a husband. I have a desk wedged behind a couch in the T.V. room, because that’s the only space available.
I can say it 12 different ways and I have. When the kids go to school, that is the only time I have to work. The T.V. being on distracts the shit out of me. The wrong music playing distracts the shit out of me. When my kids are home, they distract the shit out of me – if I can get through a paragraph without being summoned by my children, I’m worried – that means they’re both unconscious for some reason.
When he’s home, my husband routinely does not understand why I get upset because watching T.V. is how he relaxes. “I hope I didn’t chase you out of the T.V. room,” he always says about an hour or two after I’ve fled the area to a different part of the house to work on a different something-or-other (The wi-fi is weird in our house – no amount of signal boosting while allow the laptop to connect to it except in my husband’s office, the dining room or the T.V. room.)
“You did chase me out,” I’ll tell him. “You have a T.V. in your office, you can watch it in there while the kids are at school, and yet, you come upstairs and turn it on for almost 2 hours while you lunch and it kills my ability to work on my stuff.”
“I have nowhere else I can go in this house to work and you know that. This is not news,” I’ll snap at him.
“Yeah,” he agrees.
Two days later, it happens all over again.
Even without the kids’ physical presence, there is the mental presence of the family. My husband has a traveling job, therefore, it falls to me to play both halves something like 70% – 80% of the time. On the plus side, I don’t have to “work a real job” *grumble, mutter, grumble* to get the bills paid, but I do have to be aware of things. Housework does occasionally have to be done. Laundry, toy and clothing repairs, that fuzzy thing in the fridge really should be addressed before it gains sentience. Doctors appointments, school appointments, recitals, after school activities.
Sara has dance class once a week. Daniel has been consistently asking for a martial arts class for the last 2 months or so. How can I add that to the schedule and keep everything balanced and still have time for homework without stressing out the kids? If I get Daniel a martial arts class, they all meet twice a week, so I’ll have to add a dance class to Sara’s schedule to keep everything fair between them. But that will mean no swim class, and I really want them to know how to swim. I don’t care about league and all that – I just want to know if they fall into a pool, they can fish themselves out. On the other side of the coin, making a child do a sport they don’t want to do is one of those things that I always told myself I would never do.
I have notebooks of my own to scribble in – one in my purse, another in an activity backpack, another in the gym bag. I’ve become pretty good at grabbing a small notepad and stuffing it in a jacket pocket to take with me when I walk to the park or the school for the kids. They’re supposed to be my own, anyway.
It’s a little hard to tell a child, “No, you can’t write a story in my book while we wait for X.” As a Mom, I’m supposed to be encouraging the whole literacy thing and being there for the kidlets and all that. I’ve tried bringing their own books to write in, but so far, they haven’t been nearly as interested in that idea. Mommy’s book must be magic.
My children will be home full-time for summer, soon, and my husband is violently opposed to the notion of day-care. They’re old enough that I can theoretically take them places on my own and they will listen and I won’t have to worry quite so much about losing them in a crowd. However, renting a pair of hands for a day while we hit a children’s museum or the zoo does make life easier. Do I have the budget to rent a tweenager and hit a place like that? Maybe. What about… And then… Don’t forget…
My husband doesn’t understand why it takes me 2 years to write a book. He thinks I’m selling myself short and that I could work faster if I wanted to or believed in myself more or something.
Oh, yes – more than one blog says the serious writer will commit every day and guard their space and time like a rabid squirrel on crack intent on protecting his nuts. Yeah, that’s nice. Let me give you a week in my shoes and we’ll see how long you can hold up.