Monday, September 7, 2009

The Wee Small Hours of the Morning

I've never been much of a night person. I'm not really a morning person either. I've always been more of a middle-of-the day person. Or perhaps just a stick-to-a-regular-schedule person. I'm definitely an eight-hours-of-sleep-a-night person. None of which bode well for being a writer/mom.

Anyone who has small children can tell you that you absolutely, positively cannot get anything productive done at the same time you are watching/feeding/bathing/otherwise taking care of said children. Which basically leaves you no time to do anything besides Take Care Of Your Kid. Forget about doing (or folding, or ironing) laundry. Forget about cleaning the bathroom. And certainly forget about Writing The Great American Novel---let alone 10 of them, like I've done in the two years since my kid was born.

How did I do it, you may ask? By not sleeping. Ever.

The only time I can get anything productive done is when my kid is sleeping. I reserve my child's morning and midday naptimes (which can range anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours, totally unpredictable) for doing dishes, checking email, cooking, and other must-do chores. Any real writing (or anything else that requires time and concentration, like paying bills, or reading a book, or doing my taxes) has to be done after my son is in bed for the night. And since getting his needy little toddler self to bed each night has become a long, drawn-out, two-hour chore in and of itself, that means my prime work times are between the hours of 10:30 pm and 3:00 am. Working this late several nights a week is the only way I can meet my contract deadlines, balance my checkbook, or do basically anything else that involves being an adult.

I still have to get up by 6 am every day, mind you. My son still wakes up at 6 am on the dot every day, and does not understand that Mommy Is Still Very, Very Tired. I still have to cook his meals, clean the house, bathe him (and myself) and basically run a 24-7 nursery school every single day on less than 5 hours' sleep. My body runs on a combo of Cheerios and Diet Coke.

Don't let anyone tell you that stay-at-home moms don't actually work. Come spend a day on my schedule sometime. I'll show you work.


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