Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's All Relative

I have to take issue with the fact that girls always get a bad rep for keeping boys waiting for dates. Granted, when I am getting ready to go out, I often have to get the kids bathed and fed, give instructions to the babysitter and walk the dogs first. Only then can I begin the increasingly arduous and lengthy process of prettying myself up for a date. So when my husband says, "are you almost ready?" and I answer "five more minutes," I really think that's all it will take. That's all it used to take. But since I'm getting old, these things end up taking longer. At least I have a good excuse.

Whether this is genetic, learned or just a circumstance of age, both my boys seem to have the same trait, but without the excuse. If I tell one of them that it's time for dinner and he needs to stop playing the video game he's playing, I'm told,

"OK, I just have to kill this guy and get to the next level."

While that sounds like something that should take all of three minutes, this is in fact the equivalent (in parenting language) of

"OK, I just have to finish middle school, college, medical school and go do my internship where I'll find the cure for cancer."

In other words, I'll be there soon-ish, with 'ish' being the operative quantifier. So don't hold your breath waiting, or you'll pass out.

As much as it's taken me time to figure this out, to realize that they will not be done as quickly as they make it sound, I also can't really get mad. Because the fact is, I get it. I'm a writer. I know what it's like to be 'in the zone,' totally focussed and absorbed, and then looking up five minutes later to find that I'm an hour behind schedule for starting dinner.

Like any problem (if not necessarily any genetic defect), recognizing the problem is the first step in working toward correcting it. But in a way, it's like the blind leading the blind--I know I need to get the kids off the video games and into books for a while each day, but at the same time, they are being very quiet. So quiet, in fact, that I can actually get some writing done, writing that I didn't think I'd get to do over the break because we'd be too busy running around doing stuff.

So now the question becomes, do I address my problem and be the good mommy, steering my kids back to interactive and educational activities for the rest of the afternoon? Or should I be selfish mommy and let them enjoy themselves a few minutes more? Just fifteen minutes, so I can work a little on my book outline.

Oh, and edit my chapters.

Oh, and finish updating my blog.

Wow, how did it get so late?

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