Kavi is very used to…

Kavi is very used to Jarmila; she's been with us since Kavya was about one. So while Kavi knows Jarmila isn't mommy, Jarmila is like an aunt, or a big sister. A taken-for-granted part of the family. When Kavi's very unhappy about something, she wants mommy or daddy, but for the rest of the time, Jarmila is just fine.

Adriana, on the other hand, is a different story. Adriana is a very sweet 22-yr-old who's coming to fill in on the mornings Jarmila isn't here. Yes, I now have childcare seven days a week, and yes, I feel a little weird about it, but on the other hand, when I didn't have it, I was constantly panicking about how much further behind I was falling and how I never never never had any time to write. So I think this is better. We're up to 43 hours/week of childcare now, and I'm going to move it to 45 this week.

Adriana comes from 8-12 Wednesday and Sunday, although I think I'm going to ask her if she can stay 'til 1. She's great with Anand, but Kavi is definitely a little resistant. When Adriana arrives, Kavi runs over and puts her head on my leg, while I sit at the computer typing. She clings, and she's not normally a clingy sort of kid. And Adriana tries to coax her to play, or at least to get dressed, but Kavi resists, quite stubbornly. Not tantrums or anything like that, so it's not the sort of behavior that we think warrants a timeout. Just an insistent clinging to mommy.

This is okay when I'm just trying to get housework done, since she can do it with me, and at least Adriana is taking care of Anand, freeing up one of my arms. But it does not work for writing. And so I'm dressed now, and going out to a cafe, and hopefully, once I'm not here, Kavi will relax and play with Adriana. They apparently had a fine time the day I was out at the conference, so I suspect the problem is only a problem when I'm actually home. So out I go to Eastgate, for chai and writing.

I'm normally pretty hard-hearted about this mommy stuff; I don't tend towards guilt nearly as much as some moms I know. But I admit, it's a little hard to walk out the door some days, when your child is clinging to you and asking very sweetly, "Why do you have to work?" It's one thing when it's teaching, since that's a job that actually does bring in a steady paycheck that buys food and housing for the children.

But writing? Writing that may or may not ever turn into something published, that may or may not get paid? That's tougher. Some days, that takes an act of will, a reminder to trust in my own skills, and to believe that I have the right to pursue this work that I am passionate about. Even though HarperCollins cancelled my novel, even though my agent is decidedly not enthused about my nonfiction book, even though I've hardly published anything in years.

It helps, of course, that I know my kids are actually going to be just fine. Plus, Kevin is sleeping upstairs, so if things get too chaotic, he'll come down and help. This juggling act we do -- it helps so much, being solid partners. Committed to supporting each other as people, as writer and mathematician, in addition to supporting each other as parents.

I know lots of writers have partners who are unsupportive, partners who don't believe in their writing enough to offer the necessary material support (time off childcare, or off housework, or off paid work, time that they're making up themselves, in one way or another). I know that most women writers in particular have this problem, to greater or lesser degree. I know that I am very lucky that Kevin understands and, for the most part, supports my writing.

Although every once in a while, even though he is a paragon, I have to remind even him.

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