You have to love it when you read a post that connects with you and it inspires you to write one of your own, simply because your reply to it would have been far too long to write under theirs. Plus, you have to consider that their readers may not get your sense of humor. In case you are wondering, this post was written with a slight tongue in cheek, satirical, comedic flavor and if you find any of the content offensive, you need to drink some wine, raise a few kids, then re-read it.
As an adult, if you want to write during summer vacation, you need a plan. Because you are a parent, it has to be a devious plan as children tend to be miniature lawyers, leaches and attention seekers ( I actually wrote ‘attention whores’ but thought that was a bit extreme for children; it’s more of a teenage thing.) Anyway, if you plan on writing you need to have the time and it’s almost impossible to do when the kids are on their extended regression period, otherwise known as ‘summer vacation’.
Not having time already established is simply a culmination of our own lack of foresight to set things up pre-emptively. It’s our own fault, really. Kids may not have had the opportunity to spend extended period of time by themselves to use their restricted imaginations. They may be used to parental presence and find it difficult to separate, even for the length of time for you to make a cup of hot coffee to sip while you write, just to have it go cold as you get into the groove. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can train your kids to leave you alone and do productive kid things and it can happen quickly, but it does require planning.
The first thing you have to do is make a monster list of chores. Not a list of chores for monsters, as those are vastly different. (I’ll write a separate post about a chore list for monsters.) And I mean a monster chore list. A cleaning list, an organizing list, a make work type of list. Like emptying the Tupperware cupboard, washing it out, washing the contents, drying them, matching them and putting all matched parts back and boxing all mis- matched pieces. Another good one is to have them empty the Linen closet, washing walls and shelves. Sorting by color and size and then placing it all back after removing damaged or torn items. How about the hall closet? All shoes out, then sweep, wash walls, everyone gets 2 pairs in closet the rest get delivered to outside the owners door. If you have a yard, it is imperative that you have holes dug, then filled in at various locations in the yard. If you think about it, the list is endless…just be creative.
Next step is to call a general meeting of your recruits. Explain to them, that you will require 2 hours of uninterrupted time from x o’clock to x o’clock and that they need to play quietly, read quietly, make crafts quietly, take free throw shots quietly. If needed, they are allowed to wear a ski mask as a reminder to not talk. If they can’t tell time, they are too young to understand your need for ‘alone time’; that or they need some serious remedial work. There is no arguing with siblings, no calls for you to referee; no requests for: water, snacks or general assistance of any kind. If they are hurt and bleeding, they know where the Band-Aids are. If they are injured, then they will get in trouble for doing something that was dangerous, after you get back from the hospital. If they don’t need a ride to the hospital or dentist to save a broken arm or tooth fixed, then they have no reason to interrupt your quiet time. Ever. You have smoke alarms for a reason.
Now you have explained your request, explained their options and you can start implementing the process. Which will fail inside the first 3 to 5 minutes, if you are lucky. The reason is they are testing boundaries and limits. This is when your list comes into place. “I’ve advised you not to bother me; because you seem to be looking for something to do, here is X job. Please come to me once you are done so I can inspect it. Then you leave and go back to your writing. If they don’t listen, then there really isn’t much I can say to assist you, as you have far greater issues to deal with besides finding time to write. My kids would go, simply because if they didn’t I would have taken them to the cupboard and use their hands and arms to start the process like a marionette and I would have talked to them non stop. It doesn’t take long for that to get old for them.
They will come back in 15 minutes claiming the task is done. Happily you go to inspect and shockingly discover it’s not done properly. Explain your expectation, show them on 1 item, advise them it takes you an hour to do it because you have 30 yrs experience and so you know it will take them longer…then leave. While walking away, turn on music so you don’t have to hear them muttering, complaining or whining about fairness. But the music also serves to distract them from YOU. Eventually, they actually start to do the job and get caught up in the task. You might even actually get up to check on them after 2 hrs to discover they went onto other jobs or to see they just lay on the floor listening to the music. You never know what giving your child the time alone, will lead to, but you can be assured that it will get you the writing time you are looking for.
Minus the time you have to teach someone to tell time or get the ski mask of silence.