So how am I handling parenting during this writing season?
Pretty well, actually.
I have learned to pace myself a little bit more on this fifth novel, and to forgive myself if I don’t get as much done in a day as I’d wanted. I make a scene a goal for a sitting, instead of a certain word or page count. This way, if I need to take care of something for one of my sons, at least I accomplished a goal before I walked away from the computer.
It’s helpful that my older son is seventeen, and very independent. There are certain things I need to do for him, but on the whole he can carry on very well. My younger son is in middle school – a place where they had to expand the lost and found into the rear of the auditorium because they have so many unclaimed items. In other words, he needs guidance to stay on track.
In the past, my biggest problem was freaking out about everything.
I've realized, if I just relax, I can get everything done.
And I’m doing it!
I’ve even been going to the gym – rare when I’m deep in a novel. My older son goes religiously, and I go with him. A parenting perk! I keep having thoughts on the elliptical. Sometimes I halt and head to the front desk for a scrap to write them down. Other times I run the lines over and over in my head like Jack Nicholson typing in The Shining so I can get through my two miles without forgetting them.
I've been to hockey games. I've dealt with stomach aches and doctor visits. I didn't flip when my younger son got in my car with a surprise gift of eight fish swimming in a Chinese soup container from a friend's mom. I’ve even done some food shopping with relatively good humor!
It’s all about state of mind. Serenity, baby.
Don’t ask me how I got it, but it’s here. Maybe it has something to do with time served. Having parented for so many years, and completed four novels, perhaps I’ve become convinced that I can in fact do both those things well.
Or maybe something inside me realized that all that angst was taking moments from the writing and parenting. I have so much more time now!
Remember “The Redbook Juggler?” The woman who can handle career, parenting, housekeeping and romancing her man? (Kind of like the woman in the old Enjoli perfume commercial – bringing home the bacon, frying it in a pan, and never, ever letting her husband forget he’s a man.) I always thought I’d drop the balls – not just one, but all of them. It’s no fun juggling in constant fear! Now, I feel great. I’m doing it! I’m juggling!!!
It may be my writing season – but parenting is always in season.