Thursday, February 28, 2008

Writer Moms & Dads

Not long ago, several of my writer friends were chatting via e-mail about various writing things, including finding time to write.

One woman quipped, "You know, I could really use a wife around here. I'd be able to write a lot more."

We all got a chuckle out of that, and I made the remark that I wondered if the male writers on the e-mail list fully appreciated just how much their wives do that allowed them to write at nights and on weekends.

At least one of them took umbrage with that comment, saying that there's no reason a husband couldn't help out to let his wife write.

Well, sure. I guess. In theory. But that's not how life, at least as a mother, works.

No matter how well-meaning the husband is, stuff happens. Here's a scene that's been replayed many times in my house:

Me: Honey, I'd love to get some writing in tonight. Could you put the kids to bed? DS12 still has to finish his piano practicing, and DD10 has math homework.

DH: No problem. I'll take care of it. Kids, make sure you clean up your dishes after dinner. And don't bug your mom. She's writing tonight.

Ten minutes later, I sit down at the computer and poise my fingers over the keyboard.

Meanwhile, DD8 stands at the top of the stairs and yells so loudly you can hear it in somewhere in Bangkok, "MOM!!!! Can I have a brownie??!!!!"

DH, who is standing ten feet away from her, says, "I'm right here. You can ask me for permission."

DD8: "Oh yeah."

Five minutes later, my office door swings open. DD5 comes in, crying.

DD5: "I fell off the rocking chair and hurt my arm."

I stop writing, thinking that it would have been much simpler for her to walk to the next room to see her dad about this instead of treking all the way to the basement.

I inspect the arm and give her hugs and kisses.

Meanwhile, DH tracks her down.

DH to DD5: "Let Mom write. I'll take care of your owie. Come upstairs and watch some TV with me."

He leads the reluctant girl out of the room, throws me an apologetic look, and closes the office door. Again I turn to the computer.

Two minutes later, DD8 bursts into the room.

DD8: "DD10 won't share her DS game with me, and it's my turn! She promised!"

DD10: "I never promised. And it's my game. It's not fair. Besides, I let her play it yesterday for like, hours."

DD8: "When I tried to take it, she hit me!"

DD10: "Did not. I just tapped you like this." (She "taps." Hard.)

Me, sighing: "Girls, go out, please. This is supposed to be my writing time. Have Dad deal with it."

Both DD: "But, MOM!"

Me: "Go."

DH, coming into the basement. "Girls, get out of there."

At this point I've managed to write, oh, about a paragraph. And that was during the relative silence when, right above my head, the piano blared as my son banged out his concerto.

Moms, for better or worse (usually better), tend to be the nucleus of the home. Things revolve around Mom. Even when well-meaning Dad steps in to help out, the kids somehow manage to go right around him and straight to Mom anyway.

Which is why, a few weeks ago, when my critique group was canceled last minute, I told my husband that since the family had planned on me not being home that night anyway, I'd like to go to the library and write for the evening.

His first response: "Why don't you just stay home and write?"

I laughed and gave him a brief reminder of previous such attempts.

This was followed immediately by a smile. "You're right. Go have fun. When will you be back?"

See, now that is a supportive spouse.

12 comments:

Marcia Mickelson said...

So, that kind of stuff doesn't just happen at my house--the go right around Dad straight to Mom stuff. I always wonder if I would miss that if it was the other way around? Probably.

Kimberly said...

Can he give my guy lessons?

Tamra Norton said...

This is why I go to Whataburger to write. I've even been kown to sit in the grocery store parking lot in my mini-van to write. Hey, ya do what works...

Tirzah said...

That reminds me of an old "Cosby" episode where they built Claire her own office with insulated walls and a lock so the kids couldn't get in and she couldn't hear what was going on.

Oh, I read and loved "Spires of Stone". That's how I found your blog!!

Amber said...

I think you need a lock on the basement door. Preferably at the top. Congrats on your best of state!

Luisa Perkins said...

I do get SO much more writing done at the library or at Panera than at home.

Michele Holmes said...

So funny and so true, Annette! Since my "office" is right next to the Lego table in the family room, I have to go to the library to get much done. Thank goodness for a husband who understands and supports.

Janette Rallison said...

Oh yes. I have been there and done that so many times until I am yelling at my kids when they come in. Then I feel guilty for being a bad mom. It's much nicer now that they're all in school.

Josi said...

But then if you had a wife you'd still be the mother so it wouldn't help anyway. :-)

I love that my youngest is finally in kindergarten. It's fabulous to be able to actually focus for a period of time. Kudos to your hunny though, it's wonderful he tries so hard.

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

hi annette,

i'm for you getting a lock on the top of the door (and also soundproof walls).

it will get better.
happy Sabbath today,
kathleen :)

Dapoppins said...

And you have deadlines too, don't you?

Alison Palmer said...

Love it, Annette! Every writer mom needs a get away place to steal writing time. I call it the "mommy pheromone syndrome". I'm convinced that mom give out a mommy scent that allows their kids and husbands to track them down the minute they sneak off to do anything alone.

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