Thursday, January 13, 2011

What do you DO all day? A Day in the Life of a Writer Mom

There is no such thing as typical day for a mom or a writer, but here’s my attempt to capture a typical day in mine and how the two roles overlap and interact… For all those who ask moms and/or writers: what do you DO all day?

7:00 Kids wake. I’m pulled from the depths of sleep where I’ve been (finally!) near my plot epiphany.

7:02 Break up fight #1 between kids.

7:10 Make out way downstairs, pace in front of coffee maker. HURRY UP KRUPS. Who is Krups anyway? Someone who didn’t know how to make coffee quick enough, that’s who!

7:10-7:40 Cartoons with kids and as much coffee as I can possibly ingest in half an hour. Keep notebook and pen at side. Manage a few plot notes while Mickey does the Hot Dog dance.

7:42 – Break up tenth fight of day while making breakfast. Distract kids with game of freeze dance while they wait for food. Wash last night’s dishes (don’t judge) while they eat. Sweep floor.

8:00 - Check email. Get rejection. Ask kids if they want to bake cookies. It will fill the time. Plus, what is better for rejection than baked goods? CHOCOLATE.

9:00 - Break up fight #217 – sparring with spatulas. Maybe baking cookies wasn’t the best idea.

9:01 - Look at batter. Consider eating it all myself.

10:00 - Attempt grocery store. Catches various things kids throw at each other in the cart. After palming a pint of blueberries and five pound bag of flour, I look at them and reconsider my character’s motivations. Perhaps there should be demons in this novel. Make note to ask agent about the plausibility of demons in today’s market.

11:00 - Make it to gym after a near fatal argument in car between boys over whose side of the car the sun was on. Walking in gym is a miracle, but a necessity after the cookie dough. Drop kids off at gym childcare and hop on elliptical. Have a great workout until my rescued plot epiphany makes me scribble furiously in my notebook, while trying to maintain a 6 mph speed. Lose balance and almost fall off the machine. Mortified, straighten up and keep going. Ignore temptation to say, “It’s okay, I’m a writer.”

12:00 - Go home. Attempt to shower while listening to world war three in the hallway. Rinse hair as quickly as possible and hope no one is bleeding.

12:00 and 30 seconds - Get dressed after finding kids strangely getting along. Set up basement tee ball and curse winter. Wish for spring. Make mental note to browse summer vacations online.

12:15 – Realize tee ball bats are too much of a weapon. Set up matchbox car ramps instead. That, at least, is quiet(er). While playing with boys, examine cars and consider what type of car love interest in novel should drive.

12:30 - Make lunch. Clean kitchen while they eat. Sweep floor.

1:00 -Make fort, read books together. Cuddle with boys and love life. Feel incredibly lucky until a fight breaks out and the corner of Giraffe and a Half lands in my eyeball. Curse Silverstein for writing it. Watch helplessly as fight progress to bookcase. Get there too late. Realize just how many books we have as they are in a mountain on the floor. Resist urge to scream at the sudden camaraderie between them at my frustration.

2:00 - Toddler naps. There is a God. Read books/do homework/play games/crafts/color with older boy, who turns into an angel of perfection when his brother is not around. Have lots of aw, isn’t life grand moments. Make second pot of coffee.

3:00 – Older boy watches tv show or movie while I do housework. ***By housework I mean sit and stare into space and brainstorm the next chapter in my WIP. The dishes can wait. Shakespeare didn’t do dishes, damnit!

3:30 - Toddler wakes, magically transforming older boy into devil once again. They fight all the way down the stairs.

3:45 - Breaks up fight 1027 over an imaginary object by promising clementines to everyone, including imaginary friend who supplied said object. Realize there are only 2 clementines. Fine for boys but not for imaginary friend. Upset boils, tantrum is eminent. Think fast. Allergies! Yes! Tell kids imaginary friend is allergic to clementines. Met with disbelieving looks. Yeah, um, the clementines make him lose his superhero powers. It’s like kryptonite. Yeah, that’s it! Whoo, thank god we didn’t give him one. Become hero rather than villain.

4:00 - Perform puppet show with kids. Break up 1,642 fights over puppets while I secretly make certain puppets into my characters and have them perform the next act in my book. No one notices because they are now fighting over a paper napkin that is apparently worth more than all the toys in the world.

4:30 – Curse the person who bought them “marching band in a box.” And the microphone, complete with children’s music and no volume button. And anything related to Elmo and his wretched laugh. Curse Duracell and everyone else who makes batteries. Take Tylenol. Imagine a world without electronic toys and batteries. Hmmm. No electronics and batteries? Consider writing a dystopian.

4:40 - Check Twitter. Feel jealous of everyone #amwriting. Wonder if there is a #amgoingcrazy hashtag.

4:45 – Start daily clean up. Put toys away and realize the dress up clothes are missing. Find dog wearing Robinhood mask and clown shoes, looking embarrassed. Consider a picture book but know it’s overdone.

5:00 - Look at the clock and realize I have no idea WTF to make for dinner. Since no one eats the same thing, I need to plan at least three things and fast. Call hubby and find out he’s stuck at work again. Scream silently.

Consider killing off all the characters in my novel.

Look at the vodka bottle and shake my head. Too early.

5:15 - Start cooking. Hear screams, run upstairs. Find boys running a bath and shoving dog into it. Rescue dog. Herd everyone downstairs. Continue cooking slightly burned dinner. Hear loud thuds. Run into living room to discover a superhero obstacle course gone wrong and toddler rubbing his head. Gather everyone in kitchen, attempt freeze dance again while trying to salvage dinner. One last attempt: Spiderman Says while transferring charred dinner to plates.

5:30 - Feed children, dog, fish in tank, fish in the bowl, set food aside for hubby. Sweep floor. Mentally compose haiku about sweeping. Worry for my sanity.
Realize I never ate. Fold laundry first and make tomorrow’s grocery list since I missed half of it in my Olympic rush to get out of the store before we were officially thrown out and banned.

6:00 - Run bath for kids. Mental note: buy tilex. Watch water fill. Consider a water scene in novel. Consider cheesy symbolism that a writer in their right mind would never consider. Mental note to think about it later.

6:05 - Carry laundry up while kids play in tub.

6:06 - Clean up flood in bathroom.

6:45 - Bedtime stories and cuddling. Feel like luckiest mom in the world. Revel in each hug, kiss and snuggle. Read extra stories and sing extra songs and smile.

7:00 – BEDTIME

7:01 – Life. Is. Good. House is silent.

7:02 - Clears head and tries to get into writing mode.

7:02 – Open WIP. Sigh in a good way over what I wrote the night before. This will be the book that sells. This WIP is pretty amazing. Tries to remember plot epiphany from last night’s dream. Tries to decipher elliptical plot scribbles.

8:00 - Wow this book sucks. I mean, really sucks. How did I ever get an agent, anyway?

8:05 - Realize I didn’t eat lunch or dinner, but there is still cookie dough. Hmmm…

8:15 - Twitter/Email/AW/GChat/Write/Twitter/email/AW/GChat/write

12:00 – sleep

TOMORROW: Rinse. Repeat.


  1. Good Lord, woman. I can't believe you ever have time or energy to write. I need another jolt of caffeine after reading this. LOL I'm still chuckling over "It's okay. I'm a writer." I need a t-shirt for that to explain all my goofy behavior. :)

    Oh, and good save on the imaginary friend. LOL

  2. LMFAO!!!!!!


    This. was. amazing! Minus a few key points, of course. No one should have to rescue a dog from clown clothes ;-)


    Brilliant, Jenn. I don't know how you manage to stay sane let alone write.

  4. AMEN.

    REALLY nice to know someone else out there gets it.

    "Toddler napes. There is a God."

    Thanks for this!

  5. oh wow! This sounds soooo familiar!

  6. Hahaha! Loved this!

    "It's okay. I'm a writer." I feel like I should have this emblazoned on my forehead some days.

  7. So funny! I love the bit about the imaginary friend being allergic to clementines. way to think on your feet!

  8. 1. This is brilliant
    2. This is why I am NOT a stay-at-home mom. Too much work.

  9. I WAS feeling sad that my maternity leave is half over. Now, I realize that going back to work might not be so bad. Also: I apparently don't sweep my kitchen floor nearly enough.

  10. Hilarious, and familiar. Minus the toddler nap. *sad sigh* :)

  11. Oh, Jenn, I cracked up reading this. This line sent me over the edge (not that I needed any help in that): "Tell kids imaginary friend is allergic to clementines."

    You're a good mom. To maintain a sense of humor through that all...

  12. This is brilliant!!! Loved it. Yes, yes, yes!

  13. OMG. I don't even have kids and found this hilarious!

    And sign me up for one of those T-shirts!

  14. "Look at the vodka bottle and shake my head." HAHAHAHAHA!

  15. Rang true for me all the way through. I am, right this moment, counting the seconds until bedtime.

  16. Glad you all liked it and glad I'm not alone. Tee hee.:)

  17. I'm not a mother but I have looked after children for quite awhile. This made me laugh so loud.

  18. Oh, Jenn! Nice to know I'm not alone in the trenches! This made me laugh and sigh!

  19. This is perfect, like a window to my days. I'm glad I'm not the only one to break up x million fights a day, and I totally need the "It's okay. I'm a writer" T-shirt -- and I may steal the imaginary-friend-has-allergies idea. Thank you for this post!