The 6 Easy Steps I Use To Get Writing Done With Children Around—It’s So Simple And Easy!
How to write a morning post, in very not easy steps.
Step 1: Wake up around 5am or 6am, depending on when the children wake up. Try to wake up before them.
Step 2: Acquire coffee.
Step 3: Try to write through depression and discouragement.
Step 4: Read the news.
Damnit. DO NOT READ THE NEWS.
Step 5: Take two hours to write six words. Realize half the selfies you took your eyes were closed. Do you post the eyes closed version? This one. The kid is cute in this one.
BUT WILL EVERYONE THINK THAT WORKING PARENTS ARE HAVING A JOYFUL TIME RIGHT NOW?
Worry about the existential angst.
Begin writing a post that says “Working parents are not okay.”‘
Delete sentences because no one is okay. There isn’t really a comparison game to be played here.
Call your friend and realize that you’re having trouble stringing words together. Hang up the telephone because both of your children and pushing buttons on the phone and you can’t actually have a real conversation while children and buttons are in close proximity. What was it that they said? “Opening my computer is like a pavlovian response for my child.” Yeah, that.
Step 6: Go back and count previous steps, because you forgot where you are.
Step 7: Try to disentangle children wrapped around your legs. Realize they need to be fed.
Step 8: Have one child scoop the coffee for you (yes, the second coffee). They should be fine playing with the grounds, right? Right? What are they licking? FML.
Step 9: Create breakfasts for children. String cheese and chips it is. Put them at the table. They are sitting at the table. They are sitting on the table. They are on the table. They are standing on the table. Ask yourself if you really care—can you write an email from the kitchen while watching them? Wonder if a 1 year old falling off a table would be bad enough to go to the ER. You do not want to go to the ER. Walk to the table. Say “sit down please,” like twelve times. Sit at the table with them.
What were you doing?
Step 10: What were you doing?
Step 11,458: It is now 1:08pm.
The children are in their beds. They are supposed to be napping. You have opened your laptop. You are writing. What are you writing? I don’t know.
It is 1:38pm.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
You’re not insane, you’re not wrong, you’re not broken, and you’re not a terrible parent or a terrible worker if you’re having a hard time getting work done while also sustaining the full-time job of caring for a baby. Taking care of a baby is a huge job, one that requires the work of multiple adults. But instead, we ask women to do it all, without help or support, and then to work additional jobs on top of the round-the-clock work of childcare. It’s impossible.
Growing up, James Breakwell never had to think about what jobs he wasn’t allowed to pursue. That changed when he had kids. As the father of four girls — one of whom recently said she wants to be a construction worker, and another who asked if she could be the Pope — he’s had to put himself in the shoes of the females surrounding him at home. As an author and internet personality behind the popular Twitter account @XplodingUnicorn, James is best known for his viral tweets depicting hilarious snippets of conversations with his daughters. In this interview with our first startup dad, he gets real about how he navigates building a public persona based on his family life — including how much to share and what to withhold.
We need your leadership from where you are—as you are. We’ve known for a long time that we need much more diverse leadership, that we need women’s leadership, and that we need new models of power. As Elizabeth Lesser says, we need to embrace “power to,” not just “power over.” We need truth telling, and we need new visions. We need you, your work, and your brave new thinking. We need you to show up. We need you to be who you really are, not what an archaic model of power and “leadership” tells you to be. Take care, take the rest you need, take action, and show up. Even and especially as you are.
School is back in session, and parents everywhere are fatigued, overwhelmed, and still in the lurch. Workplaces are less and less forgiving, and yet the problems created by the pandemic are still here. What’s a working parent to do? Last week, Lions + Tigers gathered a panel to talk about specific steps parents can take to strategically plan ahead for the coming year. I hosted a conversation with Brea Starmer, founder of Lions+Tigers, Shauna Causey of Weekdays, and Blessing Adesiyan of Mother Honestly.
Sarah K Peck
Founder, Startup Parent
Sarah Peck is a writer, startup advisor, and yoga teacher based in New York City. She’s the founder and executive director of Startup Parent, a media company documenting the stories of women’s leadership across work and family. She hosts the weekly Startup Parent Podcast and Let's Talk, her second podcast. Previously, she worked at Y Combinator backed One Month, Inc, a company that teaches people to code in 30 days, and before that she was a writing and communications consultant.
She’s a 20-time All-American swimmer who successfully swam the Escape from Alcatraz nine separate times, once wearing only a swim cap and goggles to raise $33k for charity: water. She’s written for more than 75 different web publications and and has delivered speeches and workshops at Penn, UVA, Berkeley, Harvard, Craft & Commerce, WDS, and more.