Mondays are my days where I usually blog about some aspect of parenting while working from home. Especially in a creative industry like writing, it can be incredibly hard to carve out respect for your work time, carve out worth to your value, and carve out your very identity itself. But there are some days, when I really don’t want to keep fighting the Good Fight. I don’t want to be responsible for getting everyone dressed and presentable and reasonably hygienic. I don’t want to be the deciding factor as to whether or not you can go over a friend’s house or swim in a pool or have more than your allotted hour of video game time. And I really don’t want to fight with you over your extremely light list of chores.
Now, I promised myself I wouldn’t whine on the internets, and that’s not what this blog is for, nor is it what this post is about. This post is about that point that everyone reaches–those days where you feel like you have had enough. And it’s okay to have those days. You will have those days. I have those days. Dog knows I have those days.
It’s how you handle them that makes them livable.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t always handle Those Days with as much grace and aplomb as I’d like. But here are some tips (and yes, I’m bookmarking this post, too, because Dog also knows I need to remind myself sometimes, too) for keeping the fallout from becoming toxic when you’re about to Go Nuclear.
Disaster preparedness – If you think you’ll never have a bad day, either as a parent, a freelancer, or a creative, think again. Forcing yourself not to have a bad day can be more damaging than just weathering the blast. So plan for it by creating a Disaster Plan. Mitigate the fallout from an off-day by building extra time into your work schedule, having an activity “in the can,” a sitter on-call, or an impromptu playdate. Learn to recognize the danger signs–decreased productivity, negative thinking, anxiety or apathy about work, avoiding work.
Sound the warning – If your internal air-raid sirens are sounding an imminent strike, notify key personnel and deploy your Disaster Plan. Let the family know you’re having an off-day, and that you really need their cooperation.
Evacuate the area – If your creative self or your parenting self is getting ready to go nuclear, get the warhead away from the detonator. Get those kids to a friend’s house, get that sitter here and go have a coffee by yourself, or get out of the work area that’s splitting your uranium atoms in bad ways. And no, this time do not take the work with you. You’re evacuating, not moving the target.
Provide aid and comfort to the refugees – Finally, when the crisis has passed, you’ll need to provide aid and comfort to the refugees. Take the kids out for some fun time, or let your creative side run free with a special project as a reward for not completely nuking your professional and home life right in its population center.
I know that I will never be a parent or a creative that doesn’t have those “off-days,” and quite frankly, I don’t trust anyone who says they never do, either. And I refuse to beat myself up for it. But what I will do is make sure that those bad days just whip up minor storms that can actually contribute to better productivity. I will not let them cause nuclear winters.
On my good days, I write about quirky people finding their own ways of leveling up to happily ever after. My short contemporary romantic comedy, Forever Material, is about a Dating Diva who has to choose between Mutually Assured Destruction or Strategic Disarmament when she meets the right kind of Mr. Wrong.
She’s absolutely sure he’s not the marrying kind…
He’s absolutely sure she’s right…
But he’s still going to prove her wrong.