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Quarantine #momlife, Writer Style

March 29, 2020 in Daily, Motherhood
How I deal with my kids in quarantine while I'm writing.

Everyone’s talking about watching Tiger King and doing jigsaw puzzles and playing elaborate board games. I bet quarantine without kids is pretty great. Most days I don’t get a lot of joy because I split my time between my 5 year-old and my “almost-a-toddler” baby and my nightmare rectangle of a phone, which stresses me out with coronavirus updates that I CANNOT LOOK AWAY FROM.

It hasn’t been all bad. Most days I find one or two moments wherein I enjoy the company of my children. They’re beautiful moments, valuable moments. I’ve made up for lost time in these moments. I’ve bonded with my daughter and connect with her in new ways that have eased the guilt I’ve held since she was born and I dealt with that PPD.

I refuse to lie, though.

Quarantine #MomLife

I don’t want to complain about being a parent in quarantine. While there are plenty of things to do, the soul-draining parts of being stuck with small children all day long can prove grueling.

We’ve had dance parties. I’ve played all the boring-ass children’s games. I’ve struggled to cook an acceptable meal for my daughter while breastfeeding my son. Everything is inconvenient. I wish I could just so a fucking 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and play Settlers of Catan while catching up on Better Call Saul BUT I CAN’T.

Fortunately, I now have access to Disney+ so I have access to all the good movies. BUT, my daughter won’t let me watch my childhood favourite Disney princess movie and tale of a woman taken captive who falls in love with her kidnapper, Beauty and the Beast because tHe BeAsT iS tOo ScArY.

I am, however, eagerly looking forward to watching Maika Monroe getting terrorized like she does best in 10 minute installments in this new movie, show, thing?, called The Stranger:

Shoutout to all my ladies who weirdly ABSORB the whole “woman stalked by a weird creepy dude” genre. I know you don’t understand why you like such troubling content and I see you.

On a healthy note, my daughter does like Wall-E. I’ve watched Wall-E every damn day and it’s still a great movie that gives me hope for this whole stupid epidemic situation.

BUT, my son’s napping schedule has changed. My daughter refuses to nap. I never get to take enough naps and I never get enough sleep at night. And if that isn’t #momlife in a stupid nutshell, then I don’t know what is.

My Current WIPs

Once the kids go to bed I need to VALUE MY TIME, which means writing and writing and writing. Don’t get me wrong, though. I want to do a jigsaw puzzle just like everyone else but I CAN’T BECAUSE MY DEVOTION TO WRITING DEMANDS I SPEND ALL MY FREE TIME WRITING.

I posted in my recent CANDID UPDATE about my pandemic erotica story. It’s not so much an erotica now as it is a weird kind of love story. A “love in the time of coronavirus” story, if you will. It had sex scenes but I took them out because I wanted to value social distancing in fiction form.

This yet to be titled story will be FREE FOR EVERYONE. All you have to do is sign up for my mailing list and you will receive a copy of the ebook when it drops.

I also recently mentioned my next Patreon exclusive feminist Easter horror story, “White Rabbit”. Pandemic or not, Easter is still on the way, so if you’re bummed out about not being able to spend it doing your traditional stuff, perhaps you could enjoy my depressing horror story instead.

Moodboard image for the short story, "White Rabbit" by Rebecca Jones-Howe.
Current mood: Easter, but scary and on the Alberta prairies.

My Husband

So funny story: I got my husband to pick up my diabetes drugs from the pharmacy on the 19th. Turns out where was a positive COVID-19 carrier working at the pharmacy that day. Local news encouraged all who had contact with the individual to self-isolate for 14 days from time of exposure, so now he’s home with me until April 2nd.

At first I thought, HEY, I HAVE A PARTNER IN CRIME, but of course he has to say this yesterday:

At first I was excited to not have to go to work but after two days of this, I’m kind of itching to go back there.

And I was like:

via GIPHY

Now, I don’t want to bash my husband because I hate that kind of sexist shit. He works his ass off and barely gets much time to himself at all. He goes to work a 5AM and goes to bed sooner than my daughter does. And, because I’m a lazy distracted cook, he cooks dinner 90% of the time.

Allow me ot have a bit of a rant:

The one thing he doesn’t understand is why I have a mental breakdown nearly ever day, because he doesn’t spend every day at home with small children. Like dude, you might THINK it’s just getting a few odds and ends done between dealing with small children, but the small children become a part of EVERRRRRRRRRYTHING and you do every task with your brain split in half.

Most days, with my caffeine intake, I feel like my head is a pile of mash. I forget things. I drop shit all the time. Having kids literally made me stupider, and I don’t say this to scare any potential moms out there. I say it to tell the truth, which is what I’m all about here.

Being a mom is like gaslighting yourself into thinking you’re okay when you’re not. So I mean, take that knowledge into your ultimate decision when you consider producing spawn.

I’d kill to do a jigsaw puzzle right now. Instead I spend my son’s nap time trying and failing miserably to teach my daughter how to properly strategize while playing Connect 4.

TALK TO ME!

How are you? Are you working? Are you, like, me, at home with your stupid kids? Do you not have kids and get to enjoy Netflix like we all should? What are you watching? What are you writing? Do you hate your spouse?

I should also note that I have been finding the time to watch Tiger King. And yeah, it’s pretty messed up.

Lastly, feel free to recommend some “creepy dude terrorizes a white girl” content. Movies, books, whathaveyou. The trailer for The Stranger looks quite similar to that of Red Eye (one of my favourite movies), so hopefully I can review it or something.

Like this post? With your support, I will have the opportunity to write more fiction, plus more creative blogs like this one. Support my work on Patreon and get yourself some nifty perks.
Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

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  • Emily Slaney March 30, 2020 at 1:37 am

    As you know I am at home trying and mostly failing to concentrate on home schooling my son for his final year – exams have been cancelled for kids who attend school but kind of left up in the air decision wise for those who don’t so that’s more than a little stressful. Both of my dogs are ill, one wasn’t eating and after an examination on Friday at the vets, has an enlarged liver and adrenaline glands – has had a whole load of tests done which I’m waiting for the results for. My other dog started bleeding from her mouth over the weekend so I called the emergency vets and now she’s booked in tomorrow to be admitted for a possible dental 😞😭. My husband and daughter are both working from home. When I actually get a bit of time I have been watching “next in fashion” on Netflix which is so good! “Dare Me” was added last week so I hope to watch that soon. Otherwise I have been reading. No time for jigsaws and crafts for me either, although me & the kids do play some damn good board games (they are both highly competitive). Creepy guy stalking girl stuff: only thing that comes to mind at moment is You. I finished both of the seasons on Netflix and read the 1st book – the characters in the book are way, way creepier, but also much less likable and relatable than the series – I think you’ll enjoy both 😊

    • Rebecca April 1, 2020 at 1:01 am

      Gosh, I’m so sorry to hear about your pets. What a horrible time for this to happen. :'( I’m hoping that you and your family are doing okay. At this pint we can only take it one day at a time, right? My sister recently made an Instagram post about some of her anxiety and incoming depressing about being an “essential” worker right now. It was heartfelt and a bunch of other women commented about their troubling experiences right now. It’s weird how we’re all being affected so differently but in the same way.

      I can’t wait until my kids are older. I’m considering teaching my 5 year-old a modified version of Settlers of Catan that I found but I’m wary because my stress-tolerance right now is very low.

      I’ve considered watching YOU but I really don’t know. I remember when I found the book several years back and I considered reading it but it just felt so stereotypical “oooooooh, this guy is a psychopath let’s see how crazy he is!” that I decided on passing. I know a lot of women rave about the show, though, but I just can’t not see loser whiny Dan from Gossip Girl when I watch the trailers. Dude just doesn’t look like a proper weirdo.

      PSYCHED about Dare Me, though. It was my first Megan Abbott book so I hope the TV rendition is good!

  • Taran Clarke April 5, 2020 at 8:11 am

    Hey Rebecca,

    I’ve recently crossed the age threshold (30) where people stopped telling me that I’d change my mind about not having kids. I definitely think that’s the right decision for me, but my heart goes out to mothers like you. My older sister (who’s also a huge extravert) is really struggling, being stuck at home with her five-year-old right now.

    I really appreciate how honest you are on your blog and in your fiction. But, like, dance parties and playing boring-ass children’s games and watching TV with your kid while continuing to write? That’s really impressive. And sounds incredibly draining. And you have every right to complain about being a parent during quarantine.

    I’m still working from home as a digital marketer. Since I’ve cut out a lengthy commute, I’ve also had more time to read and write, so I’ve been insanely lucky.

    I’m currently working on a dark urban fantasy serial and, after fighting it for literally years, I’m finally letting the erotic powerplay undertones come out. As a result, I’m writing consistently and enjoying my work for the first time since high school.

    Reading fiction like Vile Men has helped me push past my guilt over wanting to include dark and sexual elements in my fiction, but because of the way those elements manifest in my work and my desire to be a good progressive feminist, I know rewriting and, eventually, publishing will be an uphill battle. One thing at a time, though.

    Here’s hoping you find more little moments of respite and joy during these tough times.

    I’m 100% rooting for you and your writing career!

    • Rebecca April 5, 2020 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for the lovely, comment, Taran!

      Some days aren’t as bad as others right now. I love hearing everyone else’s stories. Small kids are tough but I really feel for parents of school-aged children, too. How hard that must be to try to make up for the lost education. I pretty much just stay up late into the early hours of morning, sacrificing sleep for sanity. Probably not the best for my health but my 5 year-old will let me take a nap if I REEEEEEEAAAALLLLY beg her, so it’s not all bad.

      What is working from home, like? Do you still work a regular day? I can only imagine it’s kind of distracting being at home. We had a potential COVID-19 scare here so my husband worked from home for a week and he hated it. He worked in the basement but still struggled because he felt for me. He’s glad to be back at work.

      I’m so happy to hear that VILE MEN inspired you to write more sex. I remember being a teen and specifically flipping through books to find the sex scenes. That was my guilty pleasure. Of course, I don’t think they’re all warranted or even good, but I like getting really raw with how sexuality affects us. Stoked that you’re putting more into your writing. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the publishing world after this whole thing but after following a few writers on YouTube, my attitudes toward self-publishing have changed. Not sure where it’ll lead me but my whole Patreon thing is at least a start.

      I have my novel being read by an agent but who knows what’ll happen. It’s really uncertain times right now but I love that the writing community is ultra supportive. Hopefully we can find new paths and ways to success! Thanks so much for your support, Taran. Let’s stick this out!

    I'm Rebecca Jones-Howe, a neo-noir writer and author of the short story collection, VILE MEN. My work has been featured in [PANK], Pulp Modern and Punchnel's, among other magazines. This site houses my writing profile and my blog, which features posts on writing, fashion, lifestyle + more. Want more?

    - RJH

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