In the 5 minutes it took me to write 300 words my 3 year old son had found a way to get all the water out of the toilet and onto the bathroom floor without making a sound. ?Did I mention there where wet bits of toilet paper covering his dark spiky hair? ?How did that happen, you ask. ?Well, let me start by saying that if you are a parent who spends any time with your own child you know exactly how it happened.
I had just started his favorite movie as per his insistence. ?He sat in the?miniature?rocking chair to watch. ?I sat down at the kitchen table with him in eyesight to start writing a little. ?I kept an ear out for the movie. ?I turned my head and he slipped past me. ?I wrote for a bit, but as the mommy radar goes off periodically (mine being about every 2-5 minutes) I looked over to see him gone. ?I called and he came running out of the bathroom naked and wet with toilet paper in his hair. ?The?ensuing?investigation revealed his?mischievous?deed. ?I ended up cleaning while he was plopped in the shower. ?And that is just a typical moment in my days as a writing mommy.
My kids provide me with plenty of laughs, headaches, and things to write about. ?The problem is that I don’t want to spend my time writing about them all the time, nor do I want to spend every moment cleaning after them. ?There are actually other ideas in my head that demand to be written about. ?Some are just musings on life, but I actually have manuscripts of fiction I’m working on–slowly. ?I have other writing projects, blogs, and jobs. ?That means I’m all over the place, and not everything I touch results in a byline.
I only have two kids, one in school, but I know some writing mommies with multiples. ?Those women are truly amazing, but even in my amazement I wonder how they cope with those bouts of overwhelming chaos that lead to the temporary insanity that punctuates motherhood. ?I mean sometimes I feel like I’m going to lose it, like when incidents like the one I mentioned above happen. ?It’s pretty to think that a good mother would never allow anything like that to happen, but we ALL have our stories. ?Kids act in less time than it takes us to blink.
Once when I was 2 years old I managed to catch on fire while my mom went to the bathroom to pee with the bathroom door open. ?In that two minutes I brushed up against a heater and my winter coat lacking the proper flame?retardation?caught on fire. ?My mother beat the flames out with her hands. ?She is one of the most?vigilant women I know who just took a two minute pee break before taking her daughter out to the park.
Sometimes I can’t do anything, but keep after my kids. ?My mind becomes cluttered with all the things I have to keep in it because I don’t have time to write. ?I literally feel my sanity slipping away, and become extremely anxious and agitated. ?I need to write. ?It is a compulsion, an escape, and my therapy. ?Not everything I write can or should be shared, but I find that when I go too long without doing it my ability to cope is stressed beyond belief. ?Unfortunately, being first and for most a mother, the writing must be put on hold.
I write when I can, in little tidbits and snatches. ?Post-Its are like little flares to signal that I may be lost in the jumble of my thoughts, but I know how to find myself in the chaos. ?The bathroom floor can be cleaned, and thanks to the liberal use of Clorox the likely hood of?E coli?is fairly low for my son. ?One day there will be time to write without?interruption. ?Until then, this is how I work.
*Photo: My actual hallway/kids’ bathroom.