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There will be some days when you get nothing done except loving your family.

For the past two days, I’ve looked at the clock around 4 or 5 in the afternoon and thought, “What do I have to show for today?”

I sit down to write and something happens– Francisco wants to read something to me, or he asks me to make a grocery list as he’s cleaning the fridge, or Mariel wakes up from her famously brief naps.  Even in writing that previous sentence, I had to get up twice to show Francisco how to do a screenshot on the Mac.


Writer’s block? Not a problem? Blocking out time to write? That is definitely a problem.

Yesterday, my friend Sylvie, also mom to a newborn, emailed and said, “How do you get so much done? Is there a third pair of hands outside the frame of the photos I’ve seen?”

No, no third pair of hands, and wow, I really just don’t feel like I get done even a third of what I’d like to do in terms of writing and editing. The to-do list never shortens, the ideas don’t stop coming, and there’s never more time… just less.

Some days, I feel prickly about all this. Why are there so many distractions? Why can’t there be quiet? If I don’t write, how will we eat? Why can’t I write one single thing other than a grocery list without having some sort of major interruption that breaks the flow?

Because that’s life. It’s not neat, not able to be ordered just around me, not able to be ordered much at all. Needs arise constantly and they have to be addressed. Saying “No, I can’t write the grocery list; do it yourself.” is not an option because, well, we’re all in this together.

It’s learning to sit with this knowledge and apply it again and again that’s the trick.

There will be some days when you get absolutely nothing done except loving your family.

And somehow, you’ve got to understand that they’re not distractions.

They’re everything.


27 responses »

  1. Beautiful photo!
    I’ve been going to ask you the same question. Are you SURE about not having extra hands?

    • No extra hands, but I’ll tell you, I’ve thought a time or two about pulling up and moving to France to take advantage of that benefit of having an assistant for a year. The US health care system will never catch up….

  2. holy CRAP, that is adorable.

  3. Love it! That photo is beautiful.

  4. That is indeed a beautiful photo. The only thing missing from it is you.

    Fwiw, it’s a constant struggle. At least it has been for me as well. Now that Lila’s in school, I do have a bit more time, but ultimately, there’s never enough.

    I think the key is in getting used to the fact that everything else is extra. The projects. The articles and series. The novel begging to be written.

    The best time I had in my entire life was the few days after Lila was born. I was able to let go of every other thing in my life and just focus on her, me and Noah. Time flowed only by sun and moon. Hunger and sleep.

    I have moments of that occasionally, but never before and never since seven separate settings of sun then moon.

    Beautiful post. I think it has inspired another short story for me (for good or bad?)

    Besitos a la familia bonita.

    • It’s true, Leigh. There was never enough time before. There will never be. And that’s okay. Really. 😉

  5. Thanks for the great writing. I know I always need reminders as to what is really important.

  6. What an absolutely beautiful picture.

    • Thanks! They are funny together- they take so much pleasure in one another; I’m very fortunate to witness that.

  7. A good reminder. With Duarte and I both being students, it can be hard for us not to see the other as a ‘distraction’ from studying/writing and getting those to-do lists done.

    • I have by no means perfected this, Heather. But I will say that writing this out and having so much feedback was very freeing and extremely helpful.

  8. I often have you in mind when I get overwhelmed with my work load and start feeling sorry for myself. I always think, “If Julie can do it, I can!” That being said, I’ve really realized that there’s more to life than sitting in front of the computer…I don’t have a family yet, but I want to soak up this phase in my life with my friends, because I know I’ll never be in this position again.

    • Candice-
      I would be devastated if all you did was sit in front of the computer. You’d have nothing to write about. Go out! Live it up!

  9. Beautiful family! And brilliant advice. So simple, but it’s a reminder we always need.

    My boyfriend said to me last weekend: ‘Simone, you’re a workaholic.”

    I said: “No, I’m not. I just have to waitress, which means every hour I have off is devoted solely to writing.”

    “Which means you’re a workaholic. Take a day off.” And I suddenly realized how bad I needed it. So I took two. And spent them with him. I haven’t written a thing all week. It’s been glorious.

  10. Such a great post! I’m glad we all have some shared experiences.

    But for the record, I still am awed by how much you do.

  11. Thanks Julie! As always, things simply put into perspective makes all the difference in the world. I think I’m going to go hug my baby now 😉

  12. Amen to this post! And yes, they’re so adorable.

  13. It is so hard to find that balance between giving in to interruptions because they are life, and stubbornly and persistently trekking through and tuning them out (which you really don’t have the option to do with an infant!). But I think it’s better to err on the side of the former most of the time -better to give more to life than to the pressure to get things done and go go go. Better to have the extra five or ten or forty-five minutes with family than to obsess about the next blog post and the next article and the next something.


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