This Mother-Writer Life in Twenty-four Hours


  1. Wake up before the sun, your dog and children to greet the page before forklifting a tween and tween-wannabe out of bed for school.
  2. Finish lesson plans (and a third cup of coffee) for the new fiction workshop that begins later in the morning.
  3. Kiss and hug tight the eight-year-old you won’t see for two days and feel the familiar ache, missing already the last ten days you’ve shared, and pull slowly through the carpool lane while saying, “Goodbye. Have fun in dance class!”
  4. Take the nearly eleven-year-old to have her braces tightened, then embarrass her with a hug and kiss on her center parted hair in the school lobby, Mom.
  5. Head to the writers’ center where you teach.
  6. Halfway across town your phone rings—school nurse. The youngest needs picking up.
  7. Add five miles to your odometer on the way back to school, tallying the morning drive to what has to be 86 miles.
  8. Call your boss and students and apologize. Can class start late?
  9. Give Benadryl to the itchy eight-year-old while waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Cuddle.
  10. Nearly cry (twice). First, when your child says, “It’s great that your job is sooo flexible.” (This is an infuriating refrain. And really, my job isn’t.) Second, when your partner says, “Go teach. I’ll meet you at the doctor’s with itchy. And I’ll make sure she has lunch.”
  11. Drive more, make it across town this time. Spend two hours with whip-smart, motivated students who are willing to see past your lack of professionalism.
  12. Drive to the pediatrician, forgetting that Princess Anne Avenue lane closure.
  13. Fail to properly thank your partner for swooping in and salvaging your first class of the spring and sacrificing leave time to do so. Be forgiven wordlessly, without having to ask.
  14. Wait with an uncomfortable tow-head squirming in the sick waiting area at the pediatrician’s office as you try to touch as few surfaces as possible and ignore the white flu face mask on the floor. Read The Transformation of Bartholemew Fortuno while your daughter transforms Bitmojis into her likeness on your phone.
  15. Continue waiting. Remind yourself to cancel the conference call scheduled for three o’clock.
  16. See the doc and feel relief when the strep test reads negative. Hear: virus, lots of fluid and rest. Wait it out. Then slather on the hand sanitizer by the door as you leave.
  17. Head (driving again) to WaWa to purchase healthy fluids as well as one shockingly blue Icee that she can’t wait to stain her lips and tongue.
  18. Drive home. Agree to play American Girl dolls once you’ve checked your email and rescheduled the call.
  19. Click on a link sent by your publisher: your debut novel has been reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly. Scan the review quickly and smile. Holy shit. However, a reader who won an advanced copy hated it. So, balance.
  20. Head upstairs for imaginative play with the blue-mouthed girl who’s asking if she can still go to jiu jitsu tonight.
  21. Shake your head. Afraid not, bud. She frowns. “First I miss out on Emerson’s birthday sticky buns today, and now this.”
  22. Feel the weight of the word count you didn’t hit, the calls you didn’t make. Keenly understand the missed sticky buns.
  23. Find out that the soccer team you coach has had a game suddenly added to their schedule. The season was supposed to end last weekend.
  24. Close your laptop. Close your eyes. Power down until morning.

3 Responses to This Mother-Writer Life in Twenty-four Hours

  1. Kelly –
    Next time I feel tired, I’m going to re-read this…
    And for the record, per this line –“Spend two hours with whip-smart, motivated students who are willing to see past your lack of professionalism” — your whip-smary, motivated students get that real life happens and that it is nothing to do with any lack of professionalism.. you are a consumate professional in every possible way.

    Can’t wait to read “The Unprotected”

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