Friday, December 03, 2010

This is Just Like Painting the Guest Room.

I feel sorry for Genevieve.

The past few days I've been spending every second I can working on book stuff, and that means she's been pretty neglected. I feel badly about it; but then again, there is nothing I can do about it right now. I have an important deadline, I've been fortunate enough to be given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show my book proposal to a literary agency that I got connected with strictly because I happen to know someone who knows someone, and when a big chance lands in your lap, you just don't turn it down. And I don't have either of my kids' grandmas in town who I can bring her to for a few hours here and there because I suddenly have a major opportunity regarding my book and I HAVE TO get some work done on it, RIGHT NOW. And honestly, Genevieve wouldn't want me to hire a babysitter so I could get work done, either; she hates sitters and has serious separation anxiety and trying that would just be worse, I'm convinced.

But in the meantime, I've been reminded just how hard it is to do any sort of work while you're also caring for a small child. I mean, it's next to impossible. It reminds me of last May when I was painting the guest bedroom and, even though it's a very small room, it took me FOUR WEEKENDS (it may have been five, actually) to get it painted. Four weekends, people! Keep in mind that when I hired professionals to paint the entire interior common area of our two-story house, it took them TWO DAYS. To do the whole house. Not even full days, either; more like 10 to 3 or something. I realize they are pros and there were three of them, but still.

Working on this book proposal while also taking care of kids all day (who don't nap anymore) is just like that. I do five minutes here, five minutes there; one e-mail to someone here, one question to someone else there, and every few minutes I'm interrupted (validly so, too) by a little person asking for help, attention, something to do, food, water, me to read her a story or do a puzzle with her. I've had to say "just a minute" or even "I can't right now" an awful lot in the past few days, and I feel awful about that. It's even worse, and rather ironic, that the project keeping me from caring for my child is a book about, well, caring for children.

(In case you're wondering why I can't just work in the evenings, when my husband is home and the kids are in bed--I'm doing that, too. But I'm also doing my freelance writing job to earn money to pay the bills, and I'm doing school stuff and holiday stuff and cooking stuff and I'm running at night, too, and I consider exercise a mandatory health behavior much like brushing one's teeth, so I'm not going to stop running so I can get more work done. Maybe in a total pinch at the last minute, but not for days and weeks at a time.)

I hope one day my book gets published and my daughters can see that I had a real reason for working this hard and neglecting them now and then for a few days or weeks. (Let's be honest: if the book gets published I'll probably be neglecting them a heck of a lot more in order to surf that tide; but if that happens I will get more serious about lining up alternate childcare or grandparent visits.)

And I hope they understand that sometimes if you want to write a book about being an imperfect mom, you have to be an imperfect mom.


Rita said...

Oh wait, *I'm* an imperfect mom and *I* don't even have the excuse of writing a book.

See there? You could be worse!

Mnmom said...

Even on your absolute WORST day as a mother, you're still fabulous for your kids. She will totally survive. Sometimes a little benign neglect is good for kids.