I Have a Kid Hangover (But Manage to Write Anyway)

Finally, I have a name for it—that exhausted but wired state of mind I am in most of the time, in which I am hyperaware of all that needs doing but struggle to get started on any of it, fuzzy headed and distracted and restless, craving time alone but once I have it, paralyzed by the prospect of choosing what to do with it.

I have a “kid hangover.”

I have borrowed and adapted this term from a blog post by writer Donald Miller, who wrote that, after waking up “groggy and sluggish” one Monday morning:

….it hit me. I’d gone from meeting to church to coffee to lunch to dinner all weekend long. I had a people hangover.

As an introvert, I really have to watch how much time I spend making small talk. I know it sounds strange to those of you who are extroverts, but time with people drains me and I hardly know it’s happening.

Miller explains that, in order to be productive and focused, he learned to “manage my people time the same way I’d manage exercise or eating or drinking. I knew everything had to be kept in moderation.” He then details his time-management system, which includes making sure he has completely free time to write until 5 p.m. every day, and chunks of solitude scheduled into his weekend.

The most common responses to this post among my writer friends? Envy. Accompanied by a guffaw or perhaps a snort.

We get it. We do. Many of us are extreme introverts as well. We completely understand how spending lots of time with other people—even people in whose company we delight—can be draining and discombobulating.

But we found Miller’s solution—a tightly managed schedule of alone time—to be problematic for several reasons.

Miller’s schedule would never work for someone with children. It is impossible to guarantee yourself solitary writing time until 5 p.m. (or any other time) every day when you are schlepping kids to and from lessons and practices; caring for sick children staying home from school; or cramming every non-child-friendly activity on your to-do list, from writing to cleaning the bathroom, into your toddler’s nap times. Not making plans with other people until after noon on weekends? It is only within the past year that my husband and I can count on our three kids to let us sleep until 7:30 on weekends—and even then, we are generally greeted upon waking with some dire emergency in need of immediate intervention (sibling discord, a treasured object destroyed by the dog, the sudden realization that someone requires duct tape and Velcro for a school project).

As an extreme introvert with three chatty children, I can assure you that as much as I adore my children, interacting with them is just as draining as interacting with anyone else. More so, actually. I have had a “kid hangover” for most of the past 13 years. I have produced a book and hundreds of blog posts, articles, and proposals by writing in between dropping off one child and picking up another. I write accompanied by the constant din of play and arguments and slamming doors. I write with regular interruptions from children in great need of a lost Barbie shoe or a pencil sharpener. I write while fielding emails related to my volunteer jobs as room parent and Scout leader. I wrote my most-read post ever on a morning when I had gotten about two hours of sleep the night before and one of my kids was home sick for the day. These conditions are far from ideal, and many of us parent-writers, myself included, resent or complain about them now and then. But they are normal. So we learn to write despite the interruptions and the kid hangovers.

Even for writers without children, Miller’s solitude schedule seems extreme. One fellow writer remarked, “I get it, completely, and at the same time, his advice is practical for almost no one. Even if you live alone or don’t have children, few people have the luxury of creating the kind of alone time he talks about.” Another reader nailed my discomfort with Miller’s post with these words:

The only way an innate introvert…could arrange a life that comes anywhere close to matching his or her top preferences is to remain unmarried, uncommitted/unlinked, childless, never have a roommate, and live in a region that is sparsely populated…I’m not sure how a person would manage all that, unless he or she were willing to give up the best joy and pleasure and investment in life.

Therein lies the core of my discomfort with Miller’s post. In a world dominated by extroverts, we introverts certainly need to claim and honor our need for solitude and quiet. But a life too carefully curated and managed to ensure hours of alone time can become a life devoid of, well, life. My three children have given me many gifts, but perhaps the most surprising one is a renewed understanding of Christian hospitality. In Biblical times, hospitality often meant welcoming strangers in need of a meal or shelter. For Jesus, it meant including outsiders in meals and fellowship. For us, it can mean those things as well, but it can also mean welcoming not merely strangers and outsiders, but anyone whose messy, noisy, needy presence threatens the ordered, predictable, comfortable life we crave.

The past thirteen-plus years for me have been one long exercise in welcoming the messy, noisy, needy people who are my children. They make it hard to get anything done, especially writing. But without them, I’m not sure I’d have anything worthwhile to write, or for others to read.

More and more, I am convinced that much of value in life simply cannot be managed; it must instead be welcomed with grace. Miller’s description of his well-managed life made me envious for a few minutes, until I realized what would have to go missing from my life to enable me to manage it as he manages his.

I don’t begrudge Miller his system. I’m all for whatever allows a writer to write. But Miller is just one of many experts making recommendations for success that simply don’t work for writers with primary family responsibilities. (For example, want to write a book? You’ll have to explain to prospective publishers how you plan to promote your book by attending conferences and securing speaking gigs. Last week, I left pages of notes for my husband and mom to jointly manage our kids for less than 48 hours while I attended a conference to give a 20-minute talk. Pages of detailed notes for kids who are old enough to feed and wash themselves and put themselves to bed.) While writing is in many ways an ideal job for parents who want to work from home (setting aside the lousy pay, that is), many writing gurus offer advice that utterly fails to accommodate the chaos, unpredictability, and obstacles inevitable in family life.

It is possible to be a successful writer while raising children, but not because any sort of system maximizes productivity or minimizes distraction. As one of my colleagues wrote in response to Miller’s post:

If we’re called to write, we need something to write with and a few moments with butts in chairs. And then we need to trust that the Old Giver of Gifts and Giver of Children will give us something extra—that heroic thing. And he does. Because he is gets what it is to mother while having other stuff to do.

(My informal support group of Christian women writers regularly questions cliches and assumptions that pervade the writing world. Recently, two of my colleagues questioned the oft-repeated notion that writers write because we “must” or because we “can’t not” write. Read Jen Grant’s post on why she writes here, and Caryn Rivadeneira’s thoughts on being a writer even when she is not doing—or doesn’t want to be doing—a whole lot of writing.)

Postscript: As you may know if you follow the Christian writer Twittersphere and/or read his blog, Donald Miller has responded to this post in some confusing and belligerent ways. I have tried my best to respond transparently and fairly. My friend Rachel Marie Stone summarized the whole crazy episode, and stood up for me quite beautifully, in this blog post. I will say again to Donald Miller and his readers: I am sorry if Miller felt unfairly criticized by this post, and welcome a private conversation via email to clear the air. 

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • Jeannie

    WRITE?? I couldn’t even READ your whole post without interruption (son yelling, daughter yelling at son for yelling, me — ahem — intervening lovingly). Thanks for this; it’s encouraging. I especially liked this part: “More and more, I am convinced that much of value in life simply cannot be managed; it must instead be welcomed with grace.” As for the introversion bit, I think self-care is essential but it shouldn’t become escape; Miller’s quote has a bit of the flavour of escape. As a parent I honestly think there’s less chance of that happening because life won’t let it happen. And most of the time that’s a good thing. (I wasn’t trying to sound like Martha Stewart in that last sentence.)

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Yes – I like the distinction between self-care and escape. It is a tension I think I will always wrestle with.

  • Keri Wyatt Kent

    I’m an introvert with a gift of hospitality. (yeah, that does sound like a contradiction, but it’s more that God has a sense of humor) I have two kids, 19 and 17. In the years since they were born I’ve written more than a dozen books and I don’t know how many articles, blog posts, etc. I did try to carve out time alone, but that luxury wasn’t always available. I wrote a snip at a time, in little bits of time carved from days crammed with all the little details you describe.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    Jeannie already mentioned the line that jumped out at me, so I’ll concentrate on the overall impression I got here Ellen. Despite all the interruptions that life throws at you, you’ve created some wonderful writing that has reached into a lot of people’s lives. Solitude doesn’t seem so necessary after all. Keri explained it: we write in the spaces we’re given. And like Keri, I have older kids than yours. That doesn’t mean the interruptions are a thing of the past. Still writing in spaces.
    Cheers,
    Tim

  • Jennifer Grant

    Amen and amen. Great post Ellen and thank you for the shout out!

  • http://www.kellyjyoungblood.com/ Kelly J Youngblood

    I didn’t read the original post that prompted this, but I often get frustrated with time management advice that I read because so much of it just isn’t possible for me with 2 kids that I stay home with (one is in school p/t). I saw a post one time about “delegating” and I thought, “I *can’t* delegate anything!”

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Indeed. That’s one of the core points here–that in a household with children, our options for self-care are simply much more limited. So we learn to “write in the spaces,” as another commenter here so nicely put it.

      • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

        “… so nicely put it.” Ellen, you just made my day.

  • Karen Beattie

    I was single for a long time, like Donald Miller, and had large chunks of time to myself to read, write, think. It was a gift in many ways, and now that I’m married with a child, I long for those days! But having tons of alone time has its downsides. But I remember my single days as sort of…empty. Sure, I had ample time to read and write — but not much to write about. My life feels so much richer and more complete now that I’m married and have a child.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      My husband likes to remind me that before we started dating and got married, I used to spend my weekends doing things like baking a half dozen loaves of bread and getting my apartment spotless. There was a certain emptiness, and even though the chaos of our child-centric life can sometimes be too much for me, I wouldn’t trade it for those tidy, organized bread baking days (I use a bread-making machine now!). That said, I want to be careful not to imply that unmarried, childless people lead sad, empty lives! Obviously that’s not so.

      • Karen Beattie

        I didn’t mean to imply that the single life is empty and meaningless! I CHOSE to be single for a long time (until i was 40), and my single life was filled with friends, volunteer work, career, travel, and lots of time to write, read, and think. It took me so long to get married because I was afraid of giving up those things! But for me, too, it was a little bit too much of a good thing. I made sure that my life was “comfortable” and because of that, didn’t have much to write about. Now that I’m married with a child, I have been stretched in many ways, and my personal / spiritual growth through that has given me more to write about. But that’s not true of everyone. I was just writing about my personal experience. The single life definitely has its advantages, and I can get why some people choose to remain single. It’s a healthy valid choice for many people and in many ways I envy them! But I don’t regret my choice to get married and adopt a child.

        • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

          I know you didn’t mean to imply that, Karen! Given the controversy this post has generated, I just thought it important to say outright that this post and the comments were NEVER intended to slam the single, childless life.

  • http://www.lisajobaker.com/ Lisa-Jo Baker

    Standing ovation over here. This might be the most beautiful, life giving, honest look at what a life of writing while still living your life looks like. From the chaos of my home to yours, a profound thanks.

    ~Lisa-Jo

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Wow! Thank you so much! i LOVED your guest post on Glennon’s blog, by the way. That was one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. Gorgeous. (Shall we form a mutual admiration society?)

      • http://www.lisajobaker.com/ Lisa-Jo Baker

        Heh – indeed – carved out in the corner of messy playrooms between car pooling and play dates :)

  • emily p freeman

    Linked to this post on my blog today, Ellen. Thanks for giving words to the fog.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks so much!

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Just checked out your blog quickly. It’s lovely! (Physically lovely and lovely words too.) My husband is a North Carolinian. It’s nice to meet you!

  • http://www.garyswalter.com/ gwalter

    Interesting. I just popped over here from your comments on Miller’s latest post. First, I don’t believe this post is mean or unkind. However, I do think your experience is different than his. Second, I doubt his post today was much about you – as it is about the people who slam him for having a grace-based approach to Christianity.

    I’m an introvert – and I was a full-time pastor. Weekends were exhausting and the people in my church who expected me to be an outgoing, social genius, just didn’t understand my need for good time boundaries. Even my dear Wonderful Wife, who is an extroverted, sanguine – and a social genius – has trouble with understanding me need for downtime. She is learning however, that I am a better husband and father, when I am charged up though. My last church never figured that out.

    We have two young kids at home. My office is at home. We have an advantage in that we are home educating our kids. But we also are instituting good boundaries with our schedules. We don’t do every activity, accept every social invitation, or try to provide our kids with every experience. Instead, we make sure to take care of ourselves first – which makes both of us better parents and better partners.

    I have my own time management challenges to managing my introvert needs, and my wife and I try to work together to make sure her extrovert needs, and my need to recharge, are both being met. It takes communication, scheduling, and cooperation. At this rate, it may be years before my book is finished – but at least we live a relatively stress-free life.

    Miller was, IMO, sharing what works for him, as an Introvert and professional writer. His strategy may not work for everyone, especially if you are a dual-career Mom-Writer. I also think, due to the work of Susan Cain and others, the issues faced by introverts is rising to the surface of the cultural discussion. It seems to me that Miller was more writing to those who expect him to be an extrovert, than he was to other writers like yourself.

    Either way – he’s just sharing his experience, strength, and hope – and your comments are another part of that discussion.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Yes that’s precisely what I intended with this post– to respond to Miller’s post not to argue that he is wrong (because his system works fine for him) but to point out how many of us introverts who would benefit from structuring our schedules as he does simply cannot. And then to point out both the hard parts and the blessing in that. To offer the perspective of another extreme introvert. Thanks for sharing your perspective here!

  • http://www.AmyThedinga.com/ Amy Thedinga

    I came over here from your comment on DM’s blog also. I’m sure glad I did. I have three kids under 8 years old and am a writer. I am so encouraged to read your response to DM’s time management blog. When I first read his system, I had this nagging feeling that I would never be able to be a serious writer because it will be DECADES (if ever) before I have that kind of time. I love how you characterized the “kid hangover” and how you have to write in between all the other stuff. I also love how you pointed out that our lives are enriched not diminished for this balancing act. Describes my life perfectly and I am encouraged. Thank you Ellen.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks so much for letting me know that this encouraged you. And thank you for helping to illustrate why I responded to Miller’s post in the first place. People read what prominent writers say and take it seriously. Even if he meant his post solely to be descriptive, not prescriptive, I knew that plenty of people would read it and think, “OK. So if I’m an extreme introvert, and/or I’m a writer, I should do as he does.” And I wanted to say NO you don’t have to do it that way. Many of us CAN’T do it that way. And that’s just fine! I wish you the very best in your own writing endeavors!

  • http://www.beginnerbeans.com/ Trina Cress

    Visiting from Emily Freeman’s post… Yes, a kid hangover, that’s exactly what I have. My husband and I each have an evening each week to ourselves. He spends his in sports (watching or playing) with the guys. I often spend mine at Barnes or locked in my bedroom writing and reading. Some joke about this “me time” like it’s frivolous. Given the ongoing people/kid hangover, it’s essential.

    Thank you for these words of validation :)

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Agreed. It is absolutely essential if we are to have space in our brains for the thought that leads to words that lead to enduring work.

  • Adriana @ Classical Quest

    I’ve been observing Donald Miller’s responses to this post over the past couple days, Ellen. I’ve long been a fan of Mr. Miller, but as a mother with five young children, I must say — your post is spot on!

    There have always been writers like, say, Herman Melville for example — men usually — who have taken the liberty to lock themselves away ALL DAY! No Distractions! While their wives have stood tapping timidly on the door with a tray of food! — “Please take a break, dear! Please come out and EAT SOMETHING!”

    And to be honest, these writers have given us some good stuff. Moby-Dick is a great read. Really it is.

    But this morning I remembered Harriet Beecher Stowe — the “frail, overburdened Yankee woman” who wrote a book which changed the world in 1851. When Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published, she was a forty year old mother in the thick of rearing six children on a limited income!

    Harriet once wrote that after “a dark, sloppy, rainy, muddy, disagreeable day” in the kitchen, she told her husband, “I am sick of the smell of sour milk, and sour meat, and sour everything.” She felt “so loaded and burdened with cares as to drain [her] dry of all capacity of thought, feeling, memory or emotion.”

    Still, she managed to crank out forty installments for the National Era. Her passionate words rocked the nation and ultimately the world!

    Did she “hate her life?” Oh no! I REALLY don’t think she did! :)

    I wrote more about how HBS managed to fit writing into her life in my post, “How Did She Do It?”
    http://www.classicalquest.com/2012/06/how-did-she-do-it.html

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Love the HBS story! I look forward to reading your post. One of my close friends and writing colleagues is a huge HBS fan (and I live just a few miles from the HBS homestead) and she frequently brings up tidbits about HBS’s life that are relevant to our lives as women writers. Some struggles are just fundamental to the human condition, regardless of era. Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    I work from home with an almost one year old and can relate to this post so much. Sometimes a “how to” post needs to be a “How I…” post.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      You should know that one of the reasons I was careful to make this mostly about “parents” and not exclusively about mothers (though most of the writer friends I was thinking of are moms) was because of you! I was aware that you are caring for a little one in addition to writing and wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaving the dads out of the mix. Thanks for your response.

      • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

        Cool! I know several dads who work from home. My wife and I work from home, and on a day like today that started at 4:30 am instead of the more usual 6:30-7:30 wake up, we both had to toss our schedules out and start improvising.

        • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

          Ugh. I am happy to say that we are beyond the days of 4:30 wake ups. But I remember them well. I remember once meeting a neighbor on the street who wondered what on earth I was doing with my daughter in her stroller at 6:30 a.m. I explained that we had been up for several hours and were coming home from a long walk, which was the only thing I could think to do with her at that early hour!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

    As a writer with kids, a couple part-time jobs, a marriage, a Little League team to coach, and more, I squeeze in the writing where I can: airplanes, coffee shops, and, most often 5-7am.

    And as someone who knows a bit about online criticism and posts that are unfair, I can say without equivocation, Ellen, that this post is not unduly harsh or critical toward Don.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks Tony. Your opinion means a lot to me and I am grateful that you took the time to share it.

    • RachelMarieStone

      Yes, thanks for weighing in here, Tony.

  • http://www.corynikkel.com/ Cory Nikkel

    I read a lot of Don’s posts and have sorted through yours from time to time, too. And as a rookie writer myself, I see a common theme among us–we write in response to what is going on in our current lives, mostly because we can capture and replicate the passions of it with beauty and it helps us process as well as help others grow. We all live a different style of life, all interpret with our own lens, put it in to writing with unique twists, and that’s art.

    I value your insight as a mom of a family and I have the same for Miller and his single life. Both pieces offer great insight and what he can’t write to because he doesn’t experience it, you can, or someone else will. Double Team. Teamwork. All on God’s team.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Yes. Thank you. Beautifully put.

      “it helps us process as well as help others grow”…I have often said (and heard other writers say) that I don’t really know what I think or feel about a topic until I sit down to write about it. I imagine it’s the same for you and Don and our many other colleagues in this work.

  • AJ Host

    Leave it to me to seem the least compassionate person, but didn’t you choose to have children? While I sympathize with your conundrum, it was a choice, and while I see the accidental narcissism in Miller’s post, yours seems to carry a heavier weight of the same.

    What I’m saying is that you both have a valid perspective, but yours seems more self-absorbed and bitter. Here’s the thing: except for absolute truths, we respond from experience, period. Miller has neither children nor spouse to contend with. You, having chosen married life and children, find his viewpoint … unfamiliar and foolish.

    Well, a few can play that game. I had an abusive ex-husband and am now single again. Do I begrudge you your children? No. Do I find it irrational that you complain that your experience is different than Miller’s? Yes. Why not phrase your post differently?

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      I did not intend to communicate bitterness nor complaint in this piece, and I think it’s fair to say you are in a very small minority who sees those emotions here. I admit in this post that many of us writers with kids and chaos sometimes complain…and we do. And then I go on to make clear that the richness of the life I lead with my children is far greater than the inconvenience. Actually, if I didn’t have kids, I might not even be a writer, since the bulk of my work, including my book, is about the complex and difficult reproductive decisions that face us today with so much technology at our disposal, and my own experience of choosing (oh yes, you are right that it was definitely a choice!) to have children even though they had a 50 percent chance of inheriting my bone disorder. So without my kids, I probably wouldn’t even be here! Thanks for your perspective.

      • AJ Host

        Thank you for such a gracious response! I awoke the next day with “impulsive comment hangover.” Evidently, it was I, far more than you, who was bitter!
        I never saw that you posted a response till now, which is probably for the better. I had to work out a few kinks of my own to have a better head on my shoulders.
        Again, thank you for your kindness. I am sure it wasn’t easy to resist a sharper word, and I appreciate your perspective.

  • http://uncommonlysocial.com/ Sarah Mason

    Hi Ellen, I’m a first-time reader and enjoyed your post very much. I appreciate more and more the perspective of fellow work from home parents who are finding ways to write. I’ve learned as a Mom of a very active two-year old (as if there’s any other kind!) that as soon as I establish any kind of writing schedule, it changes. Some days that’s really frustrating and it gets the best of me so it’s always nice to hear I’m not alone in that.

    I read where Toni Morrison would get up before dawn to write when she had small children and that’s what works for me now — writing from 5-7a — but I know that will change with more kids and school schedules. And I’m okay with that (most of the time).

    I’m also a long-time reader of Donald Miller’s, having picked up the first book he wrote (pre Blue Like Jazz) in 2000. I can understand where he’s coming from with his writing strategy — he’s a full-time writer and can devote the 40+hours a week to writing.

    I chalk up your two different perspectives (both valuable in my opinion) to people being in different seasons of life and therefore resonating with two different audiences.

    What does sadden me, though, is Miller’s response to your post (and especially his not taking the conversation offline). He comes across insecure and immature. Having read the three posts, I don’t see any bitterness or passive-aggressiveness on your part. Constructive criticism? A thoughtful rebuttal? Yes. And we should all be open to that, if it’s done in the right context (as you did).

    Thanks again for sharing this, Ellen.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience and respond to this little mini-controversy. I certainly didn’t intend to say that Miller’s perspective was outright wrong, only that it doesn’t work for many people, and then to offer some food for thought on how an introvert’s writing career can thrive even without hours of alone time (of which I am truly envious!). Best of luck to you in your career and your life with your little one!

      • http://uncommonlysocial.com/ Sarah Mason

        I didn’t take it that way and that’s why I appreciate your alternative perspective. I’m envious of that alone time too and wonder most days how I’m going to make things happen. Please keep writing about this topic, though, because there are so many of us out there needing the encouragement.

  • http://alwaysalleluia.com/ Kris Camealy

    I jumped over here from SimpleMom.net and I am so glad I did. While I haven’t yet read Donald Miller’s post, this one spoke to me, in this season of life, and to my core values. As a mom of 4, this is my life, and still I write, when I can, amid the continual chaos. And God blesses it, because He knows. So grateful for your perspective–thank you!

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks for coming over and sharing your experience, Kris! And I didn’t know that Tsh had shared this on Simple Mom. Love that!

  • Caroline Starr Rose

    When my children were little, I committed to writing three days a week. Oftentimes those sessions ended up being ten minutes long. While I didn’t make the leaps and bounds some of my peers were able to, it was what I was capable of and what I could sustain. In the words of Libba Bray, I was still swimming.

  • http://takingshapeslowly.wordpress.com/ Elizabeth P

    Ellen, I’ve popped over from Lisa-Jo’s to commiserate on “kid hangovers.” It turned into twelve tabs open at once, convincing me that I never want to be famous or even well-read! Your initial post was brilliant…because an openness to the formative influences of your life (like your kids) is exactly what gives you something to write about (even if you can’t find the time to write). I’m honestly a bit turned off by the whole melodrama of tweets and blog responses, etc. and I wish for your sanity’s sake that you didn’t have to be drawn back in to junior high. I mean, we crossed that bridge once, with braces and big bangs and towering six inches above all the cute guys. Ugh. Looking forward to visiting again, now that I know you’re here.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks Elizabeth. Yes, all the he said-she said is exhausting. I am still grateful to my pal Rachel for her post, despite the drama it created, because I do think that there were some underlying and quite damaging assumptions and behaviors that needed to be addressed. That said, I’m glad the drama has died down and that this post is still bringing in readers who can empathize with its message!

  • ChuckQueen101

    Loved this post. When I was in seminary I learned to study with little kids hanging all over me – now its grandkids. I’m an introvert, a writer (http://www.afreshperspective-chuck.blogspot.com) and a pastor. I leave my study door open, so that I am accessible and available to parishioners. As Henri Nouwen observed, most ministry with people happens in the interruptions. Never read any of Millar’s books, but sure would expect a person with more maturity.

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