Literature and the Single Dad

I was a single dad this weekend. My wife and daughters had gone on a mini-vacation with some friends to a cabin up north by the Canadian border, leaving me and my eight year old son home together. He didn’t want to go, and I just didn’t feel like making a 12 hour round trip in a car to hang out with people I hang out with at home.

As father-son time goes, we had a pretty good weekend. It was cold and gray for much of the time, so we didn’t do much outside. We went to the movies, had some good food, watched TV and played games.

I had thought I might get a decent amount of writing done this weekend as well, when Sean and I weren’t actively doing something together. It didn’t work that way. It seemed like every time I would get my concentration focused, I was needed. I was on the hook to answer questions, give advice, help out with tough spots on games, and generally be the dad. My concentration would be broken, I’d be out of “the zone,” and the process would have to start again. My writing output for the weekend was a big fat zero.

There are other writers with whom I interact who are full or part time single parents. There are others who are part of a parenting pair, but who are the primary caregivers. I really have to respect what they accomplish. At eight, my son is in a pretty good age for this sort of thing. He’s no longer young enough that he needs constant watching and hands-on attention. He’s young enough that he’s not yet a social butterfly, or engaged in half a dozen extracurricular activities. But even so, it was difficult to arrange writing around him. With a toddler, or a fifteen year old, it would have been insane.

So for all you single moms and dads out there, trying to write your book and be a good parent at the same time, I salute you. You have a tough row to hoe.

To my darling wife, who goes out of her way to make sure I get time to write: Thank you, sweetheart. I always knew I wouldn’t be able to do it without you. Now I know it even better.

Normally I’d have tried to get writing done after he was in bed, but I had to work a lot of off hours support this weekend. Nothing unexpected, but it made my late night availability spotty.

The Apprentice Progress: 41,983

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2 Responses to “Literature and the Single Dad”

  1. Jon Says:

    Came looking to see if you had anything up I could return the favor of a critical read on, but found this instead.

    I’m a dad myself – youngish twins – and I have to say that while it’s a constant source of frustration, I have to say that I’d rather be a semi-writer who never goes anywhere with it, but has kids whose dad spends time with ’em, than a better writer who doesn’t see the kids. Dooms me to obscurity, because you have to be dedicated to be good. But it’s a fair trade… most days… :p

    • Eric H. Says:

      I agree with you pretty much completely. I’m content to do my thing when and where I can fit it in. If I complete some things and get some interest, awesome. But for now, being Dad/husband and doing my day job have to be priorities 1 & 2.


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