Mama Writers welcomes a Daddy Writer today! Thanks for having the courage to hang with us mamas, Walt. We are looking forward to hearing how the other half lives
The Twice-A-Week Scramble by Walt Mussell
Thank you to Kris Kennedy, who invited me, and to the rest of MamaWriters, for allowing me to be the first Daddy guest blogger. I hope the readers of this blog will find what I have to say interesting.
I usually write in the morning before I go to work. Sometimes I write at home, sipping coffee and typing away, before I make my long commute. Other days, I head out early for my favorite coffee shop, which is about one mile from my office. (The coffee’s great. The ambience is relaxing with jazz music. Refills are free and it’s $1 coffee on Mondays.) My habit of writing in the morning arose out of convenience. I work during the day. I spend early evenings with my two sons, helping them with homework, baseball, or scouts. In the late evening, after the kids go to bed, I re-connect with my wife.
The company I work for allows me to work from home twice a week and I take advantage of this benefit. On these two days, I take care of the kids, getting them dressed, fixing their lunches, and taking them to school. It allows my wife, a stay-at-home mom, the opportunity to sleep in.
The problem arises in that the morning, despite being the best time for writing, is not my most creative time. To get myself going, I spend fifteen minutes doing a sudoku and catching up on the political headlines. Then I start writing. I start slow. By my third (ok…fourth) cup of coffee, I’m in a groove. It may not be great writing, but it’s fresh, new, and I feel like I am making progress.
And then it hits me. I need to watch the clock. To get my boys to school on time, I need to wake them up around 7:30. As I approach the zero hour, I begin glancing at my clock: 7:10…7:20…
And then I forget.
Sometimes I do realize it’s 7:30 and I think. Ah, just a couple more lines. They can sleep a little longer. I look at the clock again…and it’s 7:45 or even 7:50.
Words pop in my head that I won’t write here. But I rush upstairs, frantic, and wake my kids. My 11-year old stumbles downstairs, bleary-eyed, and fixes himself some breakfast. My 7-year old refuses to budge and I wake him through a combination of cajoling and tickling.
When both kids are downstairs, I began making their lunch. Somewhere in the middle of a peanut butter sandwich, I realize it would be more efficient if I went ahead and got the boys their clothes so they could get dressed. I run upstairs and rip through their drawers, looking for clothes, and then I toss my findings over the second floor railing into two piles on the couch in the den. From there, I head downstairs to finish their lunches, while my kids dress. Sometimes, the boys discover I threw down the wrong sizes and I have to search the dryer to find something else.
Lunches made, kids dressed, the boys and I head to the garage. I open the garage door and a cold whoosh strikes me…and my boys are in short sleeves. I search for their jackets and find my older son’s, hanging where it should be. However, I can’t locate my younger son’s jacket anywhere. Finally, I ask my little guy where his jacket is. He leads me to the living room, where he left it on the floor yesterday when he got home from school.
I’ve been going though days like this twice a week for the last several months. You think by now I would establish a system. I could make the lunches when I first get up in the morning. I could prepare their clothes the night before and lay them out. This way, I could enjoy morning time with the boys a little more. I could stop scrambling like crazy. There are several things I could do to make my mornings easier. The kids may need to go school, but by now Daddy should have learned something, too.
Any suggestions for me? I’d like to ask my wife, but when I remember to do so, she’s usually asleep.
Again, MamaWriters, thanks for having me.
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