Yesterday’s Post Made Possible by Cotton Balls, Canned Chicken Broth, and Shoelaces

When I wrote yesterday’s post, I mentioned how there’s a certain pressure to produce blog posts, especially if a client is helping sponsor the post, within a certain time frame.  There’s also a lot of pressure, although we don’t always talk about it, to make sure the photos that are often required with a post, especially if there’s client product involved, are our best possible work, and highlight the product in the most flattering manner. Sometimes those posts include our kids as well. I don’t review products more than a few times a year, but when I do and if it’s for a product my kids are using,  I try and remember to at least wipe the kids down with some baby wipes, and whatever I’ve missed, I can edit out later in Photoshop.

I’m kidding!  Well, for the most part. I do make a huge effort, if my kids are in the photos, to make sure that they’re not only clean, their clothes are tidy, and that my house doesn’t look like it usually does – like a cyclone just blew threw, leaving utter chaos behind. Chaos is pretty much a constant state in my house, and that’s with only a 2 year old and an 8 year old living here. The 2 year old leaves to go back home with her mom in a little over a week, which just leaves me with my youngest child, Gaby who is 8. Overall, she’s a pretty tidy kid, although as she becomes more interested in science and it’s accompanying projects, I can see the potential for messes just looming around the corner. I often wonder what the parents of more than two or three small kiddos do, while they write?

So, while you’ll typically see your average mommy blog full of photographs of happy, shiny kiddos and clean homes, what you don’t see is what goes on behind the scenes!  I’m here to expose (with my tongue firmly planted in cheek) exactly what goes on in the homes of mommy bloggers, that allows us to get the job done, makes our clients happy and puts a little extra change in our pockets!

If I’m writing towards a deadline, I’m usually doing it while Kennedy is asleep.  OK, let me rephrase that.  I’m usually trying to do it while Kennedy naps. I typically have a 90-minute-window.  I try and get photographs, if needed, the day before. I only “work” during the week, or in the evenings when Gareth is home, the kids are in bed, and I’ve barricaded myself in my work-space.  Sometimes though, Murphy’s Law comes into play and I’m left trying to write about something while Kennedy is awake. That’s when I really have to get creative. Thankfully she’s pretty imaginative; I can toss a toolbox at her and she can occupy herself for about 45 minutes.

Alright alright, I don’t really toss a toolbox at her! It ends up being more along the lines of her fishing through whatever I’ve bought at the store recently. I wish I was joking.

For example, yesterday while I tapped away on the keyboard, Kennedy was next to me playing with all of this stuff:

Kennedy while I blog UTO

I can’t just sit her down with crayons and a coloring book because the crayons end up in one of two places – her mouth or on my walls.  Seriously, when you give this kid anything to write with you have to either be prepared to sit down and color with her (which is seriously relaxing, and you’ve managed to kill two hours before you know it!), or just sit there and stare at her, because the minute you take your eyes off of her, she’s popped that pretty little crayon in her mouth, or tucked it in the back of her jeans (if she isn’t already coloring on the table, the chair, or the walls) in order to use it at a time when no one is looking. I have some fantastic murals on my fridge and the back of my sofa (how on earth did she get back there?), courtesy of Kennedy. I’m pretty sure I was writing while all of that artwork was produced!

I can give her a pile of toys that holds her attention for about 4 minutes, and then she’s off to find whatever she can, that she deems much more interesting.  Yesterday I sat her down with a puzzle and the next time I peeked at her she had opened my grocery bag, and got the cotton balls and canned broth out of it. She also managed to pull some pieces of rope and a package of new shoelaces out of the bottom drawer in the chest of drawers behind her and was creating some sort of contraption where she would stack the cans and then wrap the rope around her foot, then around the cans, then lift her leg and watch the cans fall.  This made her laugh so hard!  She wasn’t hurting anything, or herself, so I thought, “Why not?”  Occasionally she’d take a break from the can/rope thing in order to fit the cotton balls between the tines in the comb.  I don’t even think I had that kind of manual dexterity, or eye-hand coordination when I was 2!  Hell, I still don’t!

I wasn’t even writing towards a deadline, or for a client, or for anyone other than myself yesterday.  It felt good to write and breath a tiny bit of life back into the blog, and truth be told, watching Kennedy have as much fun with all that stuff was pretty awesome. However, it’s not the first time I’ve let her get “creative” when I have been writing with a looming deadline, and I know some other parents out there, who probably have similar scenes playing out at their own homes while they work towards being able to hit “publish.”

When I think about some of my own favorite authors, outside of blogs, Erma Bombeck comes to mind and I can’t help but wonder what her kids were doing while she penned her columns and wrote all of her books? What do you do with your kiddos while you write? How often do you have to get “creative” in order to keep them occupied so you can finish a post?

I know one thing for sure, when Kennedy flies away on the 5th of May, I’m going to miss her little self, as challenging as she can be sometimes, it’s going to be very quiet around here. I guess I’ll just have to bust out the cotton balls, canned soup, and shoelaces and see what I can come up with.



I’m Audrey, the voice behind Barking Mad, a freelance writer and photographer, and owner of Barking Mad Media, LLC. In another life, my “voice” (they call it “air talent” nowadays) could be heard on Clear Channel and Entercom ( KISW, KJR, KHMX, WCOL, WNCI, and several other large-market commercial radio stations) radio stations around the country. I'm married to my lifelong British pen-pal, and have 4 beautiful children. I hope you’ll join me as I embark on a poignant personal journey to lose 225lbs and in the process, gain my life back. I also write about surviving the loss of my 2-year-old son, Joshua, coping with the subsequent depression, and morbid obesity.

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  1. I’m giggling away because Ash is the same way. Still at 5 years old crayons, markers, paint, doesn’t matter she finds it all and it ends up on her, her mouth, her baby brother and my walls. Never fails.

  2. She is adorable! :) And, personally, I think you are awesome! It’s not like she’s in danger. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! 😉

  3. I am always trying to find a good place for photos LOL. I love that photo of your daughter, she looks adorable.

  4. Oh I love this post. Writing these days with a two year old is rough. I haven’t even started with my blog posts for the night. I feel like lately I never sleep and it’s because it’s the only time I have that isn’t broken.

  5. I loved his post! My son is 11 and in school, plus old enough to pretty much do most things for himself, so I have much more time now to work on my blog, but I sure do remember getting creative with him so I could write. And, truth be told, as crazy and hectic as it was… I kind of miss it. :)

  6. yep, mine totally do the same thing.

  7. That does pretty much sum up most of our houses! LOL

  8. The amazing things that can occupy a little one never ceases to amaze me. My kids have all sorts of toys but my 5 year old will play in big boxes for hours on end.

  9. Giving your kids some random things and just letting explore on their own is way better than a ‘rule-driven’ or directions based project anyway… keep on keeping on mama!

  10. If it makes you feel any better, we only have fur kids and I often have to find a place to take pictures among the mess and chaos, haha. 😉

  11. Sometimes I think it’d be better to just not buy toys at all because things that aren’t even toys get played with even more, like boxes, for instance. Give my boys an empty box, and they are in heaven! lol This is so funny; I love it. We probably all have that cyclone of a house we try to tidy up before taking photos.

  12. Too cute… and all completely true! Sometimes my mom or someone will say what nice, smiling pictures of my kids show up in blog posts – I always tell her that’s because I took 3 dozen others that had frowns, dirty clothes, eyes closed, piles of clutter or 100 other things in them and then weeded them down to the very best one! There is always a whole lot more going on behind the scenes of blogging than it seems!