Tag Archives: chores

Write while your children sleep

Baby sleeping

Image via Wikipedia

When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought (and said as much out loud) that I’d be able to finish a novel I was writing while the baby slept. The parents I said this to kept a straight face. Write. While the baby slept. While I was doing my Post Grad Diploma I said it to my supervisor and he said that it was possible, that I could get a few hours of writing in each day if he was a good sleeper. Had he done this? He spoke as if he had. I’m guessing he had another person to make the dinner and do the washing and and and…

It would take me an hour sometimes to get Monkey to sleep, and then I would feed myself, put on some washing, go to the toilet, and too soon, too soon, hear that sound. A whimper. A squall. It would make my throat catch and my chest tighten. The noise of my children waking still does that to me. It’s as if, while they sleep, I am returned. All of me is just for me. So that stomach drop at the first stirring signals an ending. An end to my own sleep in the night, and in the day an end to writing, or reading, or cooking, or phone calls, or sitting still in the square of sunlight that lands on one of my kitchen chairs at 11.3o each morning.

So no. I don’t write while my children sleep. At least not in the day. My grandfather was a poet and routinely rose at 4am to thunk poems out at his old typewriter. Sylvia Plath reportedly did the same. I won’t do this kind of writing, and can only imagine that in the cold and quiet dark, the kind of work produced would be coated in black ice, would be polished by the lonely night. Right now I write in the hullabaloo. I speak poems into my voice recorder as I do pram walks along the creek near my house. I type posts on my phone while Sparrow sleeps in his car seat in random Melbourne car parks. I snatch and grab at writing time in the bright noise of it all and hope that what I make is good, and warm, and full with my riotous days.