Well, I don’t know about you, but we had a nice Thanksgiving here Thursday. What made it particularly nice for me was the fact that I got to spend two hours writing, even though both Michael and Cassie were home all day. I have this little problem, you see, when those two are here. I just can’t get anything done. It’s been especially aggravating the last six weeks as I’ve struggled with writer’s block. I just know that having some time to actually sit down and writer would solve that problem, but it’s almost impossible to do that when the house is in a complete uproar.
What is it about having my husband and eldest child home that makes things so chaotic? It’s probably scheduling, or the lack there of. When I’m home alone with Sam, I’ve got a routine that we follow as close as we can. Nap times are at 8:30AM and 2PM. Bath time is at 7:30AM. Afternoon play time is from noon to one. Etc., etc., etc. I know what we’ll be doing and when, and I’ve built the entire schedule around Sam’s naps which, by the way, are my work hours.
Michael, however, doesn’t have this schedule memorized. Why should he? He’s not home most of the days and he doesn’t do the breastfeeding (which is also done on a schedule). Plus, he doesn’t like to get up at the butt-crack of dawn like I do, so when he’s home on the weekends, he doesn’t set his alarm to wake him up. Without a definite starting point, his day runs in a state of flux. And that’s fine for him because he knows what he has to do and he’ll eventually get it done before Monday rolls around. Unfortunately, his state of flux blows my carefully regimented schedule all to hell.
Things really came to a head on Wednesday. Due to the storm that rolled through here, Michael stayed home from work. I tried to keep Sam on a schedule, but I hadn’t even considered that Michael would be home that day, so I ran around trying to do my usual thing and kept tripping over him. That put Sam’s nap schedule way off, and my work hours too. Plus Cassie was home as well, and we were supposed to do some fun stuff that day so even though I was massively behind schedule, I took a hour or two to sit and paint with her because I promised her I would. I even read her stories and got her down for a nap, but Sam woke up about then and that was the end of my hopes for my afternoon work hours. Michael did try to rescue me. He offered to take Sam for a while so I could write. But five minutes after he left, Cassie woke up, demanding to know where her father was. When she found out he’d left, she threw a major tantrum, one that lasted right up until Michael got home. And when he walked into the house, I decided to throw a tantrum too.
“I hate it when you guys are home! I can’t get anything done! I sold a book last week, damn it, but I’ll never be able to write again because you keep screwing up my schedule! I’m tired of my work being treated like a second class priority just because it’s erotica and I work at home. If I don’t get some time to write today, I’m putting you and little Miss I-Gotta-Scream out on the lawn and I don’t care if it’s raining!”
And on and on and on. To Michael’s credit, he stood there and took it all like a man. Then he slipped out of the bedroom and took Cassie downstairs so I could work for an hour.
After my little tirade, I decided something had to be done, so I printed out a blank schedule form and sat down with Michael that night to review what would happen the next day. We wrote down nap times and meal times, added time for Michael to cook Thanksgiving dinner, and put in my work hours too. Then I posted our schedule on the fridge where we could see it and went to bed. The next morning, I got up at the butt-crack of dawn and Michael got up at 7AM, just like we’d scheduled it. And the whole day just fell into place like magic.
It was amazing how well that worked. It worked so well I was caught completely unprepared when my afternoon work hours rolled around and I had free time to do whatever I wanted. And we sat down again last night with another blank schedule and filled in that one too. So far, the day’s working out as planned. I just can’t believe it.
So there you go. I’m grateful for schedules that work and husbands who put up with temper tantrums and children who nap. I’d be grateful for the husband and kids even if they didn’t act like such angels yesterday, but you know what? It makes all the difference in the world to know they care about whether or not I get work done.