Distractions!

Disclaimer: This is merely an exaggerated, humorous look at the distractions a writer-mom faces. My kids are in no way mistreated or neglected, so don’t go calling the cops on me. I’m from a small town where everyone knows each other, and everyone knows what a fabulous mom I am. 😉

Writing has ruined me.

I know, I know. Why would anyone say something like that about themselves, right? But really, it has. My kids will gladly attest.

I’ve always been a daydreamer, but I kept it in check, taking pride in my work, taking good care of my kids and home, keeping on top of bills and meetings and all the constant pulls and pushes.

But that all changed.

I’m not saying I don’t do all those things anymore, but God knows it’s a struggle for me these days.

My excuse? Writing.

Since the epiphany shone down on me that I needed to begin writing, my mind has gleefully frolicked through the sunny meadows of LaLa Land, singing to the smiling butterflies and birds that it’s okay. That I have every right to daydream, because it’s my job.

The old great-great-great grandmother cow, grazing over there in the pasture, chews her cud and nods at me in agreement. “That’s right, girl,” she says. “You just go ahead and do your thing. Ain’t nobody gonna say nothin’ to you if you’re workin’.”

I curtsy to her and continue on my merry way, thinking up my next soul-wrenching confrontation and betrayal.

But then my youngest son comes into my meadow (office) and interrupts. We’ll call him Kid 4.

“Mom,” he says, a hint of annoyance in his voice. “I’m hungry. When are you gonna make supper?”

I quirk my brow at him.

I hate anything to do with food. Cooking or eating, I just don’t enjoy it. It’s a nuisance. And on top of it, you have to get it, somehow. Whether you grow it, feed it and slaughter it, go to the grocery store, whatever. It’s a huge pain in the rump. And after you go to all the trouble of cooking it, then you have a huge mess to clean up. Ugh! It’s never ending.

“How about a cookie or a bowl of cereal?”

“Mom, I’m hungry,” he groans.

I sigh as my fingers itch to get to work. “Fine. I’ll get to it soon.”

“Okay. Will you help me with my homework?”

I roll my eyes. I just want to write. His homework isn’t my homework. I lived that life years ago, and I don’t want to do it again.

“Greatest common factors,” he says.

“Yea. My favorite.” My voice is flat. GCFs could be tricky, so yeah, I’d better help him.

“And then I have science. We’re learning about gravitational pull and how it’s different on each planet.”

My eyes glaze over. “Honey, you’re not going to another planet any time soon. How about we talk about that this weekend?”

He scrunches his nose. “It’s my homework.”

I shake my head and grumble under my breath. Damn responsible kid. “Fine. Let’s do this.”

We work each problem, all the while I’m composing a firestorm argument between my two main characters. Kid 4 calls me out several times for my lack of focus.

Kid 3 comes in and joins us. “What’s for supper?”

“Nothing,” I say quickly. “Go make a sandwich if you’re hungry.”

“I need help with diagramming sentences.”

I smack my palm to my forehead and rest my elbow on the table top. I was so close to finishing Kid 4’s homework and getting back to the climax of my argument. I must record it, before it slips away in the midst of gravity and greatest common factors. “Honey, I don’t know a single person who diagrams in real life. I don’t, and I’m a writer!”

He looks at me as if I’d grown two heads.

My motherly instincts tell me I should put him first and shove my characters aside. “Fine. Have a seat.”

My phone buzzes and my husband’s face lights up the screen.

“Hello?”

“What are you making for supper?”

Ugh! What is this? “I just made supper last night. Do you seriously expect it tonight, too?”

“Uhhhhh… yeah?”

I throw my hands up. “This is getting entirely out of control. Every single day, you people want to eat. Ridiculous.”

“Umm…”

“I’ve gotta go. I’m analyzing intransitive verb paraphrase noun adverbial clause agreements right now.”

“What?”

“I have no idea. I’ll see you later.”

Kid 3 and I work for at least a half hour. I keep having to re-read and re-focus, because now, my characters are seeing the errors of their ways and they’re about to make up. It’s a sweet moment that I really need to type out soon.

“Done,” Kid 3 announces, flipping his book closed. “I don’t want a sandwich. Can you cook something?”

“Who do you think I am? Your mother?”

He rolls his eyes and walks out.

Finally, I have a little peace and quiet. Back to frolicking in the meadow…

“Men,” Old Bessie says, smacking her green slimed lips. “I always said they ain’t no good for nothin’ but makin’ babies. They always just strut around here like they own the place, takin’ whatever woman they want, whenever they want ’em.”

I roll my eyes. She means well, but she has the wrong idea about this Romance novel thing. “Bessie, that might be true in your world, but men aren’t bulls. I don’t think that’s going to help me with my characters.”

She gently shakes her head and lowers her face to the lush, green grass.

“Hey, Mom,” my daughter, Kid 2, says from the doorway. “You know how Hitler did experiments on his prisoners?”

My daughter is sharp as a tack; I don’t ever help her with homework, and I know she’s just here to chitchat. But I have an argument to transcribe. “Of course, honey. Everyone knows that.” I wave my hand toward the doorway. “I love you and you’ll forever be my favorite daughter, (she’s my only daughter) but please shut up and go away.”

She plops in the chair at my side, setting her iPad on the table in front of me. “Love you, too. We’re studying his not-so-well-known experiments. Look at this.”

She opens a picture of a skeletal human, naked, in a metal tub filled with ice and water. “They wanted to find the best ways to treat hypothermia for their soldiers. They froze the prisoners, then they’d do things like make them drink scalding hot water, or give them hot water enemas. Others had really bright lights shone on them. Those people usually ended up with third degree burns.” She shrugs. “Most of them died.”

I stare at the ghoulish figure, nothing but his bony chest, shoulders, and head visible above the ice. Every God-awful story I’d ever heard, read, or seen comes crashing down.

Those haunting eyes. Those forsaken souls.

I blink.

Bessie looks at me before wandering away. The butterflies and birds flitter off into the unknown, taking my characters with them.

I swallow the lump in my throat and close my laptop. “Guess I’ll go make supper now.”

12 Comments

  1. Lol, love your disclaimer. I do wonder when writing about my kids if someone is going to get way overboard in the serious department and be like, “YOU’RE EVIL!!!”

    My daughter is in the go potty every 5 minutes stage. I’m like, “You just went!!!! Stop pestering me!” (She’s perfectly capable of going potty by herself, but she likes for me to say, “yes you can go” every time and then she sneaks off to raid goodies from somewhere after she goes. Which, this isn’t an issue when I’m not busy, but if I’m trying to get the baby to sleep I’m doing the stage whisper from the other room going, “Shhh, just go and don’t take anything off the counters!”

  2. Love this. I think we’ve all been there with “distractions” and writing. I don’t have kids, but I have 4 cats and a husband. Cats who like to sit on my keyboard or block the monitor or force their way into my lap when I’m trying to work. 😉

  3. Those are difficult days–but sweet. Everyone always says “Get your work done when the baby’s sleeping.” Yeah, that never happened for me. And then when there’s a toddler in the mix, too. Just…no. Nothing productive will be accomplished.
    I’ll let you know if anyone has a problem with my “harsh” words, but I hope readers would realize it’s all in jest. 🙂

  4. The disclaimer made me chuckle! I can’t imagine juggling four kids and writing… One job and writing is difficult enough at times. I don’t suppose any of your kids are old enough to cook without supervision and enjoy cooking? I never minded when I was growing up. Then again, I had a lot more free time on my hands since I didn’t have homework, and I enjoyed cooking different meals.

  5. I keep telling myself that when I’m a stay at home mom, I’ll probably be able to get more work done on my book than I am now … but the more I find out, the more unlikely that seems, lol!

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