I have a new book out, which is really exciting. It’s called Projection , and it’s set in two different time periods: one in present day California, one in Ancient Rome. In present day California, three teenaged girls are using a two thousand year-old secret to trade souls and solve a murder. In Ancient Rome, the philosopher Plotinus and his young disciple Gemina have just perfected this secret, and are discovering just how dangerous it is. One reviewer called it “Freaky Friday meets The DaVinci Code,” which I think is a pretty cool description.
But my point in telling you this is not to promote my book (ok, maybe it is a little, but I kind of have to do that, because, you know, it’s my book, and nobody else is promoting it). I’m telling you this because I’m kind of freaking out that I’m never going to have time to write another book ever again, or at least not until my kids go to college.
Since I started writing ten years ago, I’ve always prided myself on being able to write while still more or less being a stay at home mom. I’d take my kids to school in the morning, I’d write until pickup, and then I’d take them to their little one hour activities, make dinner, give them baths and put them to bed. Most nights, after putting them to bed at seven-thirty, I’d write for a few hours after they went to sleep. People always asked me how I did it, like it was some kind of miracle. But I was just efficient with my time, and I’d take a year to write each book; somehow, it all just worked.
But now that my kids are older, it’s not working anymore. Or rather, I’m not working anymore. At all. It just seems like now, I drop my kids off at school, and then I spend all day running errands for them. My daughter is running for class officer, so she needed poster board and letter stickers, and she had this idea to put candy wrappers on her poster, so I ran around looking for Peeps in the middle of September. Do you know how hard it is to find Peeps in September?
Last week, she needed a white, v-neck tee shirt for a school project, so I went to Target to get it for her. But the City Target near my house didn’t have it, so I had to go to a real, full-sized Target half an hour away. She needs a refill on her allergy medicine, she needs a haircut appointment, she needs to see a dermatologist about this thing on her eyelid. She’s outgrown all of her underwear, she needs a dress for a Bar Mitzvah next weekend, and oh, yeah, she’s out of toothpaste.
I feel like I’m a full-time personal assistant for my own child. And my son - holy cow, the kid eats me out of house and home. I have never met a hungrier person. If Goldfish were actual fish, he would put them on the endangered species list all by himself. I find myself having to stop at the market every other day just to keep our pantry stocked for him and all of his grow-iness.
Now, if I were on the receiving end of this complaint-fest, I would be like, wah, wah, wah, just go run the errands with your kids after school, or on the weekends, and get back to working during the day. But alas, after school I go from being a personal assistant to being a personal chauffeur, as I drive my children around to soccer practice and ice skating lessons and musical theater rehearsals and karate lessons and doctor appointments. None of which ever seem to get us home before seven o’clock. And the weekends are no better, as they are filled with games and tournaments and birthday parties and play dates, and for God’s sake the kids need some down time; if I were to announce that they had to accompany me to the drugstore or to Staples or, God forbid, to the market, I think I’d have a mutiny on my hands.
Meanwhile, after-bed working is out the window, too, since by the time we get home from all of the after school crap and eat dinner and they do their homework, they’re not going to bed until nine or nine-thirty if I’m lucky, and I’m so exhausted by that point that I fall asleep the minute I say goodnight to them. I mean, things are so bad, I have yet to even watch the first episode of Breaking Bad this season. It sits there, taunting me on my DVR, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot stay awake long enough to get past the opening scene. So what, oh, what, is the mother of absurdly needy, completely over-scheduled children to do?
Well, the first thing to do, of course, is to have a little meltdown in front of your husband and accuse him of doing nothing to help out with the children, then blame him for the fact that your life is set up to allow him to work all day and for you to, well, not work all day, even though his job brings in roughly ninety-seven percent of your annual income.
It’s also very helpful if, during that conversation, you remind him that if you were to die tomorrow, he would be Seriously Fucked. Then, after you are sufficiently reminded that he COACHES LITTLE LEAGUE and that that is NOT NOTHING, you should announce that you are going to outsource all of your errands to someone overseas, like Bernadette did in Where’d You Go Bernadette. And also that you’re going to hire a college student to do some of the driving in the afternoons, even though you tried that two years ago and it was a huge disaster and the college student quit via text message  at exactly the time she was supposed to be picking your daughter up from school and you were already on the other side of town taking your son to occupational therapy. But whatever, you’re going to try it again, because there must be some responsible college student out there, and damn it, you are too smart and too educated and too driven to spend the rest of your life being a chauffeur and a personal assistant to an eleven year-old.
So that’s the plan. I’ll let you know how it works out. In the meantime, please buy my book , because it might be a while until there’s another one.
Originally published on ModernMom