How do you find time to parent, work and fandom? I just had a baby in Jan and I haven't had time to *read* fic, much less write it!
Okay, so IMO the first year totally sucks! And then–spoiler alert! - the second year also totally sucks!–which I personally found shocking because I thought, oh, it will get better, and then, no, it didn’t. And then there’s all sorts of despair that sets in. And you think, my god, nobody told me there was so much fucking manual labor in this, I did not go to school for for my whole fucking life and get all these degrees just to be carrying an enormous stroller with a kid in it down three flights of stairs, ow, my spine! And I am covered in bruises! And then maybe you start to drink, you know, just a little, to deal with the colossal, colossal boredom of watching a small person lurch around from thing to thing because it is OMG SO DULL and yet you know for a goddamned fact that should you, say, look away for TEN SECONDS or try to read a page of writing they will KILL THEMSELVES and it will be your fault. (Ask me about how my son managed to hurt himself with a salad spinner. No, don’t ask me. I still have PTSD.) Anyway you live like Alex in Clockwork Orange with toothpicks holding your eyes open, captive to the dullest show on earth. You will go on vacation and realize, no, this is not a vacation, this is just about watching the small person even more than usual because they are in new situations that can kill them, many of them now involving water. (Ask me about–no, don’t.) Your nerves are in shreds. And you think, wow, I will never get out of this and plus this child is getting heavy and still pooping himself, and I still have to lift them up onto the goddamned changing table.
And then just when you’re about to give up, somewhere in the next year, between 2-3, they suddenly figure out the toileting thing and begin to say things like, “hey, can I have a bagel?” and honestly, from that point on it is more or less smooth sailing in my experience, at least comparatively. Once I wasn’t having to cart around formula and weird toddler meals and food and jars and diapers and wipes and all that stuff, fencing everything in, gates everywhere; once the kid could use the bathroom and ask for a bagel, it was like, okay, I can cope from this point on.
Then there is what me and my friends call the five year facelift, because all of a sudden people go, “Hey, wow, you look great!”–because around year five they suddenly go to school for a big chunk of the day. And suddenly you can take a real shower and get your hair done and go to the gym and wear a shirt that’s not covered in baby spit and/or that you haven’t slept in, and your skin clears up.
Your mileage may of course vary! I am told that many people really like small children and prize the early years, blah blah, baby smell. I am not one of those people. Things are to me infinitely better now that my son is a young hedonist with a sophisticated palate who shares my love of travel, who I am teaching to play cards with me as the mark of a civilized person, and who I am waiting to be old enough to bar-tend and clip for me from the London Review of Books.
Vis a vis work, I was pretty tired and there is a 2-3 year publishing gap on my CV, where I made a person, you know? I missed deadlines for the first and only time in my life, which made me feel horrible. Vis a vis fandom, I now and then go back and read my Sherlock stories, which were the ones written during those years, and I am surprised to find that they’re quite good, considering that in my memory I clawed them out of my eyeballs word by agonizing word while screaming. The writing came back, though, like it did after I quit smoking (the other time I thought, yeah, I’m done - but I wasn’t done then either.)
I’m sorry, what was the question?