Last week my daughter said “I want to give you a date to think about”, and I knew right away that meant she was looking for a babysitter. To her credit she knows me well enough to realize I’m not good at spur of the minute decisions, but I had just returned from the five day trip to the FAPA Conference, and I was exhausted. So being me, I told her to wait before even asking.
Grandmothers are supposed to want to be with their grandkids, right? And I do, but I also need time to do all the necessary parts of my job, and that’s where the disconnect comes in. Being a writer is my job; but only other writers understand that.
When I was in banking no one would have questioned the fact that I was working through the week, and not available for childcare. But now that I work from home it’s a whole new situation. Let me say right now that although I love my girls and my grandchildren, I took early retirement to write, not to be a babysitter.
Last week I was talking with a friend who has her grandkids all the time. I told her how much I admired her but she agreed that it can be a lot of work. She also shared that it might be different if she had a second career like I do, so I felt a small amount of relief for my feelings, but still a lot of guilt when I see how involved in their lives she is.
Is there a solution, because I can’t seem to find one. If I say “no” to requests to babysit I’m full of self reproach and it follows me like a dark cloud. If I say “yes” I see the time I need to be writing or editing slipping away, and that takes away from the enjoyment of being with the children.
What did I do when the question was finally asked? And yes, it was for babysitting services, but with options. At first I took the easiest, which was staying overnight on a Sunday evening to take my grandson to school on Monday morning, and then have my day left to write. But then this past weekend we were all together to celebrate birthdays and I saw my oldest grandson, who’s sixteen, six feet two and now a licensed driver, and I realized how much of his life I had missed out on during my busy banking career, and it broke my heart.
So now I’ve changed my mind and the other grandmother can have school duty and I’ll have a slumber party with my four year old granddaughter on Sunday night. We’ll play dolls and I’ll watch her ride her new bike on Monday while my daughter and her husband take the baby to their last court meeting before her adoption is final. Will I be totally frazzled by Monday evening? Yes, but I won’t feel guilty and I’ll have made some new memories with my grand-girl, who says I’m her best friend.
I’m still looking for guidance on how to get my family and friends to understand that writing is my job and it needs my time and focus, but until I find just the right words I’ll continue to be the CEO of my world. That’s Chief Everything Officer by the way!
Next week’s post is an interview with B.B. Swann, Author of Breaking The Barriers, a Young Adult Coming of Age Romance. Check it out on Amazon.
Until we read again…📚
This is a signed Will Moses print that I got when the first grandchild was three. It’s titled Visiting Grandma and it’s how I envisioned being a grandmother would be. It’s a beautiful picture but just not quite me!