The 6 Easy Steps I Use To Get Writing Done With Children Around—It’s So Simple And Easy!
How to write a morning post, in very not easy steps.
Step 1: Wake up around 5am or 6am, depending on when the children wake up. Try to wake up before them.
Step 2: Acquire coffee.
Step 3: Try to write through depression and discouragement.
Step 4: Read the news.
Damnit. DO NOT READ THE NEWS.
Step 5: Take two hours to write six words. Realize half the selfies you took your eyes were closed. Do you post the eyes closed version? This one. The kid is cute in this one.
BUT WILL EVERYONE THINK THAT WORKING PARENTS ARE HAVING A JOYFUL TIME RIGHT NOW?
Worry about the existential angst.
Begin writing a post that says “Working parents are not okay.”‘
Delete sentences because no one is okay. There isn’t really a comparison game to be played here.
Call your friend and realize that you’re having trouble stringing words together. Hang up the telephone because both of your children and pushing buttons on the phone and you can’t actually have a real conversation while children and buttons are in close proximity. What was it that they said? “Opening my computer is like a pavlovian response for my child.” Yeah, that.
Step 6: Go back and count previous steps, because you forgot where you are.
Step 7: Try to disentangle children wrapped around your legs. Realize they need to be fed.
Step 8: Have one child scoop the coffee for you (yes, the second coffee). They should be fine playing with the grounds, right? Right? What are they licking? FML.
Step 9: Create breakfasts for children. String cheese and chips it is. Put them at the table. They are sitting at the table. They are sitting on the table. They are on the table. They are standing on the table. Ask yourself if you really care—can you write an email from the kitchen while watching them? Wonder if a 1 year old falling off a table would be bad enough to go to the ER. You do not want to go to the ER. Walk to the table. Say “sit down please,” like twelve times. Sit at the table with them.
What were you doing?
Step 10: What were you doing?
Step 11,458: It is now 1:08pm.
The children are in their beds. They are supposed to be napping. You have opened your laptop. You are writing. What are you writing? I don’t know.
It is 1:38pm.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
I’ve given my three year old my laptop to reply to your incoming emails right now. My one-year old might also be chiming in. I’m having a hard time keeping them away from the keyboard. Don’t worry, I’ve invented a magical device that can also translate their thoughts and actions into words. As of Sunday, they are now responsible for my inbox. You can consider them my new personal assistant.
My friend has an almost-two-year old and she asked me “So when do I need to think about potty training?” Yeah, as though you needed anything else to consider in the pandemic. Well, I took a few minutes to brain dump everything I remembered about potty training in a quick dash Voxer message to her, all while doing dishes and cleaning up the boys’ room in our house. We both thought that these might be useful memos for you, especially if you happen to be in a similar situation. Consider this an unofficial, scrappy overview of Potty Training that will help you do a good enough job … for now.
Making sense of days that make no sense requires new patterns, habits, and routines. For me, trying to muddle through the cacophony of work and children and non-stop days at home is very, very challenging to my brain. So, to help, I’ve been building small rituals into the day to start to cue myself that yes, work is happening now, and yes, it’s a new day.
Sarah K Peck
Founder, Startup Pregnant
Sarah Peck is a writer, startup advisor, and yoga teacher based in New York City. She’s the founder and executive director of Startup Pregnant, a media company documenting the stories of women’s leadership across work and family. She hosts the weekly Startup Pregnant Podcast and Let's Talk, her second podcast. Previously, she worked at Y Combinator backed One Month, Inc, a company that teaches people to code in 30 days, and before that she was a writing and communications consultant.
She’s a 20-time All-American swimmer who successfully swam the Escape from Alcatraz nine separate times, once wearing only a swim cap and goggles to raise $33k for charity: water. She’s written for more than 75 different web publications and and has delivered speeches and workshops at Penn, UVA, Berkeley, Harvard, Craft & Commerce, WDS, and more.