Tag: stay at home mom

Back to Writing, and It’s a Rough Start

Back to Writing, and It’s a Rough Start

It’s Tuesday, and I’m sitting in my dark office. It’s about eight o’clock in the morning. I’ve been up since 5:30 but that just means I’m only on cup of coffee #2. David has left to take the girls to school, and Cian is still 

It’s Summer Break. Let’s Dive In, Shall We?

It’s halfway through the first week of summer break. We’ve gone hiking (during which I was entirely convinced a tick had found its way into my hair, only to discover that one actually landed on David’s shorts. Who’s paranoid now, right?), and to the pool (for a 

I Mean, They Have Wine There, Too

I’m supposed to be on my way to Albuquerque tomorrow, for my organizations writers’ retreat. Workshops, writing time, discussion groups. Friends who have brains like mine. Friends who are on social media right now talking with each other as they pack, excited to meet up with a blueberry margarita in hand before the (awesome, fun, hard, rewarding) work begins.

But.9-20-16-sick-kids-cian-feetI put off getting my plane tickets for a couple of reasons, and by the time I sat down to get them, the prices were so high I couldn’t bring myself to book the flights. (Note: never, ever pay off the last credit card and then make a solemn, empathic family vow to stop using them the same year you book a spot at a great writer’s retreat. Ain’t nobody got time for that kind of fiscal responsibility.) If you’d guess that I’m a little bummed about this, you’d be a good guesser. Or you saw me crying. Either or. 

Now.9-20-16-sick-kids-sk-handI sit here at the kitchen table, surrounded by notes and index cards and lots and lots of words in my head. Two of the three children are sick with colds and in need-the-mom mode. Husband is busy with work, overwhelmed-style, but quietly so, because he’s better at balancing my mom/writer life than I am. We’re out of groceries. I was making popcorn at the stove this morning at 6:30 just so we’d have something for the kids’ school snacks. (So proud. So, so proud.) I have two things I need to be doing (writing, mom-ing), but as always, naturally, the one looms larger over the other.

Tomorrow, my writer tribe will be in the air headed to New Mexico. I will still be here, at the kitchen table, the same Leah in her yoga pants and baseball cap, the mom trying to be the writer who’s supposed to be the mom. First world problems: children at home, writers in flight, moms who can chase their dreams and raise their children and attempt it all. It’d be easier if I didn’t want to keep writing. (Or if we didn’t need to eat at home.) You know that. I know that.

But.9-20-16-sick-kids-cupTomorrow, I will attempt it all over again, as always. The writing. The mom-ing. Even the grocery shopping (though that should probably happen today if I expect these people to get fed). And I will ducking away from social media, with the status updates and the photos by my writer friends with their blueberry margaritas (I have a nine-dollar bottle of wine around here somewhere…) or at their marathon writing sessions on the sunlit hotel patio (I have a deck? That overlooks my neighbor’s backyard?) or sitting down to dinner at a winery in town to cheer each other’s successes (I’ll be nagging my daughter to stop dragging her lunch bag along the ground at school pick-up. Now, who wouldn’t be jealous of that?). It’s cool. It’s fine.

But know. 9-20-16-sick-kids-writingFrom here on out, I will be working like mad to get this writing finished (it’s never finished). Because a book contract paid for my last retreat. A book contract could pay for the next one. Which makes the writer happy, and the mom happy, and the family just a bit more, well, fed (I WILL have grocery shopped). It’s not the writing that makes the stuff pile up and the to-do lists get longer (and those lists go unfinished). It’s the crazy. It’s the Leah. It’s the, well, life

(Who needs blueberry margaritas, anyway? I’m more of a vodka girl myself. So there, world.) 

But off to work I go. There’s a spot on that hotel patio I keep thinking about–you can hear the water splashing in a nearby fountain as you work, there’s shade overhead to shield the laptop screen, and if you look up, glance around, you’ll see a dozen or so of your people, heads bent over their own work. For a moment, they’re not anything other than writers. For a moment, you’re one of them, too. 9-20-16-sick-kids-writing-2I’d better make sure I get back there. 











Because Seasons Change

David and Cian and I just dropped the girls off for their first day of the new school year. First and second grade. Tiny plaid uniforms. Backpacks that still look a bit too big for their little bodies. Saoirse told me last night that she 

I’ll Just Be Over Here Quietly Happy if You Need Me

Note: You might read this while rolling your eyes and shaking your fist at my sanctimonious head. Be patient. There’s another note at the end.  It’s the third day of school cancellations for our kiddos because of that little snow storm that blew through here this weekend (have you heard 

Your Thursday Morning Pep Talk

I was brushing Saoirse’s hair this morning before school, which is always a task that takes approximately 23 minutes longer than expected (kidding. But it’s a pretty intense process. Which is why I usually let Quinlan do her own hair–all those curls! all that high-pitched screaming in pain! all of that chasing her around the bathroom because she keeps running away from me!–and tolerate the fact that she will perpetually–and quite happily, mind you–look like she got into a fight with a rapid flock of geese. One battle at a time, people). We were talking about…something. I don’t know what. Probably about how long it takes to brush her hair. And then this conversation came out of the blue, as they tend to do:

SK: “Mom? At the game last weekend, when they [the announcer] asked all the teachers to stand up so people could clap, why didn’t you stand up?”

Me: “I don’t know, Seersh. Probably because I’m not a teacher anymore.”

SK: “But you are a teacher.”

Me, shaking my head: “Not anymore, kiddo. It’s been so long since I taught I would’ve felt funny standing up.”

Saoirse was looking at me in the mirror as we spoke, and I watched her face break into this massive grin.

“You teach US!” she said. “You should’ve done it.”

10.15.15. Teacher. Girls walking into school 1

David and I were just talking about it the other day: that I’m so far removed from my teaching days that I almost feel like I can’t lay claim to having been one. That’s so weird to me. But on some levels it makes sense: I don’t feel wistful anymore on the first day of each new school year. I don’t see myself stepping back into the high school classroom full-time again, but that’s mainly because I’d have a crap-ton of classes to do in order to get my certification reinstated (because you know I didn’t put it on hold before I left, of course. Thinking ahead isn’t exactly my strongest skill). But I’m still insanely proud to have been a teacher. I still feel like I’m a sister to the teachers in my life. And I definitely still feel like I want to raise my hand when I’m around a school and say, “I was here, too! I get it. I understand.”

10.15.15. Teacher. Girls walking into school 2

But I’m not anymore. So I didn’t stand up during that moment in the stadium on Saturday. I didn’t have a right to: working school teachers are a special breed, and deserve to be recognized as such. But it’s so neat to hear that my daughter sees me that way. Do you realize that, friends? All of our kids see us that way. We’re always being told that we are our children’s first teachers. And duuuuuuh, of course we are, but still. I can’t tell you how good it felt to meet SK’s eyes in the mirror and see her grinning at me like that.

I’m not a teacher to all anymore. But I am a teacher to a few. And by golly, this class of mine is pretty damned spectacular. 

10.15.15. Teacher. Kids legsIt almost makes me look forward to doing the girls’ hair tomorrow. Not quite, of course–I’m proud, not insane. But almost. 


I Like the Sound of That

YOU GUYS. As I write this, Cian is sitting on the puppy, the puppy is drooling on the carpet, and the carpet has grooves clawed into it by the puppy’s last crazywackyhyper sprint around the house. (Wait. Did I tell you we got a dog? 

And Yet I’ve Never Been Diagnosed With Anxiety

The night before last, Quinlan, still recovering from allergies or a cold or something, appeared beside our bed (always my side) and said she could’t sleep because she’d had a bad dream. So she spent the night (again) with us (on my side. Of course).