If you are a parent and you also happen to be a writer, then you profoundly understand what it is like to get through your day red eyed, yawning, and probably cranky. Even just one of these two lends itself to an exhaustive new normal-but both? Yeah, the last REM you saw–Michael Stipe had hair.
I find myself writing in the margins of a bigger picture, busier life. Sneaking it into the crevices of a nap, the downtime of cooking dinner. When my husband and son are tucked away in bed, if I have the strength and will to resist curling up next to them, I sneak out to the computer and get to work. The silence of our loud and busy house hushed to just the sound of my weary thoughts and clacking keys. I’ve “trained” by baby to wake up as late as I do. At least 9:30. And, also like me, he does so slowly and grumpily. He needs food, he needs Elmo, and THEN, THENNNN we can talk. While he nibbles away on blackberries and cheerios and bounces to his favorite Sesame Street songs, I quietly retreat to my computer to get a few more words in. This usually buys me a half hour and if I’m lucky an hour. I push the guilt I feel about my television baby sitter out of my head and pray that some silver thread of inspiration will hit me in the short time allotted. If I’m really lucky, my husband wakes me up with coffee, jolting my synapses to the fast lane.
I blame my son. I blame my work. I blame my husbands snoring. But the truth is I have always been a late night, sneak writer. If I had known the life that awaited me I may have been more productive with my time when it was still just my own!
But I have accepted this beautiful, fleeting, soft time in my life of building a home and raising children. So just as I cherish my time with my family, I cherish ANY amount of time I get at my desk.
We can all sleep when we’re dead.