One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is: what is the secret for balancing a writing life with the demands of a busy Monday – Friday career and a family ?
Well let me tell you, there are days where I feel like I’m on the last carriage of an express train after it has already left the station and it's powering towards top speed. And as the train gets faster my hand is desperately curled about the handrail while my body lifts and begins to flap about in an ungainly manner, much like a flag being assailed by storm winds. The whole while I’m grasping my handbag, my laptop, my iPhone and a child’s forgotten lunchbox in the other arm and deciding that if I make it to the next stop intact, then the day is going to turn out alright after all.
Mind you, not every day is like that—I’m consider myself extremely lucky to have a very supportive family, and so long as we all tell each other what we need in order to make it through the week, we do alright.
And so my answer? There is no secret! As I’m sure any parent would agree, no matter the challenges set before you—you just do it to the best of your ability—and hope and pray that everything turns out for the best. Certainly that’s has been my strategy for the past fifteen years.
Except the rulebooks changed last night! Last night we entered the realm of teenage birthday parties. Not the sweetness of the tweens, or the dawning of a new era 13’s and the still not too proud to hold mum’s hand 14’s.
No, I’m talking about the 15 year old birthday party. (Queue gasps of horror!)
Overnight the script changed. As I checked names off the guest list, and recorded parents’ contact details (my subliminal – I know where to find you message), cherubic faces that I’d know for years were no longer recognisable. Instead, teen girls who’d spent hours straightening their hair, and applying layer upon layer of foundations, eye shadows, lip liners and gloss strutted past me. And they giggled. And they fluttered their eyes and flicked their hair at every witty, and even witless, remark uttered by the male contingent.
And it was made very clear to me that I should neither be seen, nor heard. Just at a time where I had a firm grasp on this whole work, write, parent stuff—I have become de trop.
My express train has come to a sudden halt in order to change tracks, and unprepared, I’m plastered against the back door, dazed and disorientated.