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    Home Articles

    Write Time for Parents

    For the fifteenth time in as many minutes, I hear the familiar call: "Maw-awm!" Yet another catastrophe in the lives of my dear offspring. A toy has "somehow" become lodged in the toilet, there is a strange smell coming from the baby, or someone has uttered a discouraging word. Whatever the emergency, Maw-awm (that's me, and, yes, it is always pronounced with two syllables) is supposed to come to the immediate rescue.

    Unfortunately, Maw-awm is currently facing a deadline. Even more unfortunate is the fact that explaining this to children under the age of eight (okay, let's face it, eighteen) is less beneficial than explaining it to the family dog. He at least will give you a comforting slurp. Children will give you several "yeah-buts" followed by twenty reasons that you should chuck your job in the toilet--next to the Barbie doll and race car--in favor of their current crisis.

    How does a write-at-home parent actually get work done? Having attempted it for three and a half years, I've discovered a few tricks for finding a few moments to work. You don't have to battle for time, you can actually coexist with your children and get work done. Some of my methods might seem strange, some might seem implausible. However, all will afford you some much needed write time.

    1. Move your office into the playroom. No, I'm not insane. You need to be where they can see you and/or "feel your presence" and you need to keep an eye on the little darlings. They won't have to keep hunting you down, and you won't have to constantly worry what they're into. My computer desk sits in the playroom. Granted, it is usually covered with some kind of sticky goo. I suggest an inexpensive desk and a cover for your computer. This I learned the hard way after a terrifying Crayola/floppy drive incident.

    2. Barney. I've grown to love that big, purple goof. Some people call it letting the television be your baby-sitter. I disagree. My children were saying the alphabet at age 2. Barney is educational, safe and -- for some odd reason known only to those six and under -- mesmerizing to preschoolers. When Barney comes on, they don't move or blink for a solid twenty-five minutes. You know when Barney winks at the end of the show? That's for you, the parent. It means, "There you go guys! I hope your half hour of peace was super-de-duper!" As my kids get older, I see my relationship with Barney drawing to an end. He will be sorely missed.

    3. A mini-cassette recorder. You really can still buy them. Hook it on your belt next to your beeper and your cell phone. It's great for when the muse strikes at odd moments. And you'll look really cool and important dictating "notes to self" while you walk the dog and/or shop for diapers.

    4. Resort to the old-fashioned paper and pencil. They are one hundred percent portable, the batteries will never die, and you don't have to find an outlet. Keep a notebook with you at all times and you can write while the kids play outside, while they're at baseball practice, and, if you're really good, during your aerobics class.

    5. Playdough. Really. I'm serious. Most parents cringe at the thought of it. I am usually one of those parents, however, desperate times call for desperate measures. It will definitely keep them busy for a while. The downside is, it will keep you busy for just as long cleaning it up when they're done.

    If these methods fail, there is only one thing left to do. Take a break and play with your kids. I know, it's the most outrageous idea I've come up with yet. However, it's your attention they're craving. Give it to them willingly and they will more likely give you the time you need, when you need it. Or maybe you can wear them out and finish your article while they're sleeping. Either way, you both come out winners.

    Copyright © 2002 Rebecca Todd

    Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and mother of three. Her work has appeared in publications such as Angels on Earth, The Writing Parent, and The Beamrider.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

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    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


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