Thursday, April 03, 2008

Holidays and Other Time Management Problems

"I decree that there shall be no more school holidays," my Muse announced as she plopped onto the couch. "All this time interruption is giving me a head-ache." She watched me continue typing an email. "You're so far behind, and I fear we will never catch up."

"Probably not. But I've given up on catching up." I turned and looked at her. "Catching up is relative. All anyone can really manage to accomplish is throwing away a completed to-do list, which will be quickly replaced by another. It's a losing battle." Turning back to my computer screen, I said, "To do lists are fascist."

"Says the Queen of the Post-it note to do list."

"Color-coded Post-it note to do list. Don't forget that part."

"Which is pinned to the wall so you can never throw it away."

"Ah, yes. But I so enjoy crumpling up those bits of paper and throwing them across the room."

My Muse picked up the couch pillow, folded her arms around it, and sighed. "But really, what are you going to do?"

I pushed the send button for the email, then turned to look at her again. "About what?" My Muse pointed first to the Post-it note to do list, then my desk where a pile of punk rock stories needed editing, then the computer screen where 22 emails waited to be answered. "Oh. That."

"And you need to start working on your play. The challenge has already started and you've yet to write a single word. If you keep putting it off it only increases your page number quota, and as it is now, you need to complete nine pages a day."

"Nine pages? Is that all? Why I'm sure I can do twelve a day."

My Muse scowled. "Laugh all you want, but these school holidays have got to end. How do other parents manage? All these interruptions from their work; it's criminal."

"You think this is bad? Wait till summer. Then we'll have three-and-a-half months to get behind."

"I'm going on a vacation. You obviously won't be needing me this summer."

I got up and moved to the couch where we sat together silently. Then I said, "She told me she doesn't like Dora the Explorer anymore."


"Yes. She's loved Dora since the 2nd grade and last night she threw her Dora bath toys out of her bath and said, I hate Dora."

"She is in the sixth grade now."

"I know. And next year she'll be in Jr. High. She's growing up. That's good." I picked up the other pillow and held it against my chest. "Last year it was Madeline. The year before it was Strawberry Shortcake."

"She still likes Arthur."

"Yes, but for how long? Every year she gets bigger and more mature and eventually it will be me she says she doesn't want anymore."


"Kids go through that. They hit fourteen and decide they hate their parents."

"And then they realize how much they still need their parents and want to be with them." She touched my knee. "Don't worry. She'll always love you."

I nodded. "I know. And I'm not saying there aren't days I wish she was with her dad or times I want to ship her to her grandparents. Believe me, I'm not one of those Pollyanna parents who can't imagine life without their children. I can, and it'll be great!" I laughed. "But even when I'm tired or stressed or really want to do nothing more than sit at my lap top and work on my play for the next month, I know my daughter's childhood is ending, and that makes me sad. I want to scoop her up in my arms a little longer and forget all about writing."

My Muse sat up straighter. "Mother angst. Beautiful." She looked at me. "You should write that down. At least it will be a little bit of writing. And then I'll stop bothering you about your play."

"No you won't."

"No, I won't. But I'll give it a rest for a few hours."

So I did as she asked. My Muse read this and smiled and true to her word I didn't hear another peep from her about the play for three whole hours.

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