Tag Archives: children

How Being a Writer is Like Being a Parent

It’s no secret that the extent of my maternal skills is having a garden, and seeing as how I’m already tired of taking care of it after two months, I know that I’ll never have kids.

But most people I know do have kids, so it’s not like I’m a stranger to the toils and troubles that most parents face. Given what they say on a regular basis, I realized that being a writer isn’t all that different from being a parent at times.


Deadlines are Seen as Suggestions

Writer: I send out an email that the deadline for copy is Sept. 1, and more often than not I’ll get an email Sept. 1 that says, “When is the deadline? Can I send it to you next week?”

Parent: Stating that bedtime is at 8 p.m. more often than not means negotiations start at 7:59 with, “What time is it? Can I just go to bed when I’m tired…three hours from now?”

Going Viral

Writer: This can be a good thing because something you wrote was seen by thousands of people on the Internet. On the other hand, it can also mean some of those people make it their mission to be crappy and (try to) make your life miserable.

Parent: Going “viral” means someone is sick and things literally get crappy, making your life miserable.

Everyone Gives You Advice

Writer: One “expert” says the best way to write is to research and plan it all out, while another “expert” says to just start writing and let inspiration guide you.

Parent: One “expert” says to plan out your child’s every movement, while another “expert” says to just let them be kids and make sure that they don’t maim themselves.

Note: Either way, someone will tell you you’re doing it wrong.

You Brag

Writer: After working hard on something you’re proud of, it’s natural to want to share it will ALL the land because everyone should love it as much as you do. However, everyone will not love it as much as you do, and at times you’re rather annoying.

Parent: After your kid does something no one has EVER done before—like started school, ate a snack or said something cute—it’s natural to want to share it with ALL the land because everyone should love your kid as much as you do. However, everyone will not love your child as much as you do, and at times you’re rather annoying.

Sleep is Never the Same

Writer: You lie awake in the middle of the night, worried that you will NEVER be creative again, or conversely, because you had a great idea that you absolutely had to write down.

Parent: You lie awake in the middle of the night, either worried about your offspring or because of your offspring waking you up to get them a glass of water they will forget that wanted a mere two minutes later.

Grammar Police

Writer: While you hate to perpetuate a stereotype, you at least mentally correct the grammar of those you’re around and people who know “there,” “their” and “they’re” get metaphorical gold stars every day.

Parent: No sweetheart, every time someone says, “I could care less” when they mean, “I couldn’t care less,” Santa Claus steals from cute kittens.

You Need Thick Skin

Writer: You’re rejected more often than not, and thick skin is required (as are soft pillows for when you bang your head on your desk in despair, hypothetically speaking.)

Parent: Kids hold nothing back. If you’re ugly or smell, they’ll tell you you’re ugly and smell. There’s nowhere to hide.

In both instances, there is often whining and wine, a sense that you’re usually underappreciated and that what you say is completely ignored most of the time.

But at the end of the day, you would do it all over again because the joys infinitely outweigh the pains. And if even one person loves what you create—even if that one person is only you—it makes it all worthwhile.

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Perfect (Playground) Pitch

Playgrounds and jungle gyms were staples in my childhood, and despite the many injuries and near-miss catastrophes, those were good times. And while I’m not sure, I think kids today are missing a lot of the fun, what with their plastic playgrounds and “soft surfaces.”

It’s sad to think that they might never experience the thrill of woodchips and pavement gravel embedded in their knees or get 3rd degree burns from a hot metal slider. Oh, the memories.

But let’s also be a little practical here.

While the general premise of a playground is great, there were some questionable choices in earlier versions. I can only imagine what the first “playground pitch meeting” sounded like decades and decades ago.

Playground pitchers (PP): Children need something to climb other than trees, so let’s construct a whole ground for play on cement, cover it with splintered woodchips for safety and then scatter pieces of metal equipment throughout.

Committee (C): Go on…

PP1: First, we’re going to include a swing with both black rubber seats that will reach inferno temps in the summer and wood seats that provide the likelihood of ass splinters. Don’t worry though, as the splinters will be ignored when swingers get blisters on their hands or their flesh stuck in the metal chains.

There’s also the slight chance that riders might get overzealous, pump extremely high and then jump off and attempt to be Super Grover at the suggestion of their mom, badly bruising their tailbone and then blogging about that 25 years later, but the odds are slim to none. (Editor’s note: Yeah, it happened.)

PP2: Speaking of metal, we will provide numerous unsupported slides of heights from 10-feet to 12-feet with a nice concrete mat at the end covered in woodchips for those riders who slide down headfirst.

PP1: Next to the slides we’ll provide monkey bars so that “chicken fights”—American Gladiator-like contests in which foes hang from the bars and attempt to pull the other off the structure—can be staged. We also see children climbing on top of the monkey bars and hanging upside down above cement by their legs like cave bats.

PP2: The next piece is a “teeter-totter.” One kid sits on one end while the other—preferably of similar weight, but doubtful—climbs up onto the opposite end. They push off and up and down they go!

PP1: With this there is the slight chance that one will purposely get off when at the bottom of the teeter-totter, causing the other user to crash down to the ground at a dangerous speed, possibly breaking their tailbone. Depending on weight distribution, there is also the risk that one user will purposely get off and catapult their counterpart across the park, but that could be fun, too!

PP2: Finally, the “merry-go-round,” a metal structure with rails that children will grab and run around with to speed the structure up before trying to climb on it like Jackie Chan jumping on a moving train. Once on, they hold on for dear life to the handles (and their recently ingested lunches) and either wait for it to stop spinning or drag their feet off the side through the woodchips to slow the thing down.

C: I like where you’re going with this. And just think! In the winter the slide can be iced up, creating a kid cannon that will launch them clear into a hardened pile of frozen snow.

PP1: Exactly. More importantly, those that don’t survive the playground will be weeded out of society, but better to find out early, right? After all, much like lawn darts and eyelash curlers, it’s not the toys that are inherently dangerous. It’s how people choose to use them.

C: Agreed. Add a tetherball court—ropes, balls, children with bad aim. A little knock on the head from a tetherball is an easier way to learn the lesson of avoiding rapidly moving objects than letting the kid step out in front of a speeding car someday, smug in the unrealistic expectation that bad things can’t happen.

This is really a win all around.

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Furry Babies

After reading the comments on my last post, I just want to clarify. Sarcasm is my first language; keep that in mind with each and every post. I have nothing against couples or love. In fact,  I have loved and been loved. I have hurt and been hurt. If the right situation comes along, I will do it again (lord help the next male prey.)

Until then, I am a happy camper as a party of one. And if I find someone to take along for the ride, it will stop at a party of two—unless the extra passengers are furry, of course.

See, I like puppies. I like kittens.

I like baby hamsters that delight in broccoli just about as much as I do (around a minute in he does this cute little leg flail thing.)

In other words, I don’t have anything against babies. But just because I don’t have anything against babies and children does not mean that I want them for myself.

Considering that I question my motivation for many of the decisions that I make, I have to say that this is one thing that I confidently know to the depths of my soul. I am not mommy material. My yearning to nurture things starts and ends at keeping a garden alive for three months. I can’t commit to a hair color for more than six months, much less keep a mini-me around for 18 years.

I will not be having children, at least in the traditional sense.

I plan on having hairy children in the form of four-legged friends.

m_4f4a45a5e5b45bf99c2dce9f05b6a806[1](That’s Chauncey, in case you haven’t met him before.)

Just like some people have a hard time believing that I choose to be single, (since I’m waiting for my prince to come sweep me off my feet—or just sweep my floors,) some people just can’t believe that I don’t want children. They tell me I’ll change my mind, that having one of my own makes it different and that it’s a little selfish to think only of myself for the rest of my life.

Like most things, I shrug it off.

In my opinion, too many people have kids that shouldn’t be parents. They liked the idea but neglected to consider the fact that it’s a lifelong commitment—not only of time, energy and emotional support but also financially. I actually think it’s a little selfish of people to think only of themselves when they have kids.

At any rate, I know that I don’t want the responsibility emotionally, physically and financially. I don’t want to transfer any of my issues onto a young impressionable mind that I can’t return back to its parents after a two hour trip to the zoo. I don’t like not being in control of my own body, so carrying around a little human for nine months suffocates me with anxiety.

But just because I don’t want kids doesn’t mean that I don’t think (most) of them are amazing; their innocence alone is inspiring. There are people out there that were made to be parents, and that dedication is reflected in their children and the people they grow up to be.

These kids are cool. These parents are cool. I like to visit and then go home before they get needy or leak something out of a hole in their body, but that’s just me.

And if there’s one thing that I confidently know to the depths of my soul, it’s that my children will be furry—and may possibly eat broccoli.