Thursday, June 4, 2015

Because I can't afford a real auditor, and I don't think they even make them for time

We talked about this some in response to a question on the final show in Issues, Etc.'s Biblical Womanhood series, but I think absolute transparency is in order. The question is, aren't we pretty bad hypocrites for saying how everybody ought to be all traditional, and then going LCMS-Kardashian while our kids are schlumping through ditches for Mr. Pibb cans with some drips in the bottom?

There's a part of me that wants to say it's nobody's blamed business how I spend my time, but that's the American part of me. I think radical individualism is bad for families, and that radically individualistic families are bad for the church and for society. I paid close attention to the time (especially off-site time) I put into this book because I believe it matters very much, and I think I'm able to give a pretty accurate account, so here's my audit.

Sitz im leben: our oldest child goes to Lutheran school three half days and one full day every week. The next three go all day four days a week*. The younger three are home all the time. For a number of years I have been an indexer for the Concordia Commentaries, so that has been a regular task in my life long before LL existed. Indexing has never required me to leave home and rarely requires time during the kidlight hours, although I sometimes do it then to avoid things like putting away laundry.

On a normal day, I spend the morning doing house stuff while kid-minding.

In the early to mid-afternoon, I do specific things with non-school kids who don't nap (ie lessons/attention of various kinds). Then I set them loose and have a little bit of free time, during which I sometimes write or index. 

Mid to late afternoon the rest of the kids come home, and I have kid and house stuff.

UPDATE: My husband audited this audit and found it highly false due to my failure to mention Cocktail Hour at this point in the report. Mom and Dad have cocktail hour here and now every day, no exceptions, and you should too.

Evenings we usually read together until the little kids go to bed. Then I do individual things with big kids (music and homework). Then they have to leave me alone until they go to bed.

Then I write/index while my husband watches gun videos. Now I am also using that time to deal with book stuff like writing this engrossing post.

Book-related extras, over the course of 18 months:

When we were offered the contract with CPH**, I asked my MIL if she was OK with it. She lives next door to us but, for all kinds of reasons, we try really hard not to exploit her. I asked if I could maybe have one morning a week when she took the little kids so I could write. She very generously agreed, but we didn't really end up doing it. I have always been a night writer and that's how it stayed.

I took one full day shortly before the deadline to get formatting and final edits done on the manuscript. Dad and Grandma were on kid duty all day.

Rosie and I went to CPH two times, once to talk with our editor about the idea of the book before we signed the contract, and once afterwards to record some video. Each of those trips took something like 4.5 hours (I live about 50 minutes from CPH; Rosie is closer).

We met with CPH's marketing people for lunch once. Four hoursish departure to return would probably more than cover it?

We did the breakfast in Creve Coeur, Mo., for St. Paul Lutheran in Des Peres on a Saturday. I left my house around six and got back around noon. Dad took one kid to a school thing and the rest were with Grandma.

We recorded a one-hour podcast with Katie Schuermann at my house and then went out to lunch at the bar where my husband holds a Bible study every Wednesday morning, 110 seconds from our house. Grandma had the non-school kids during that time.

We did four in-studio sessions at Issues, Etc, which is close to where both of us live (35 minutes for me, under 10 for Rosie). One of those days we also went out to lunch. The dad/uncle team drank kids and watched beer.

I have had a couple of short phone interviews (under 15 minutes) during which time Dad was on duty for home kids.

We have one more phone interview coming up next week, and we plan to be at the Issues, Etc. conference in a few weeks on Saturday morning

I will probably drop off a box of books and a hat with a "Please pay if you're nice" sign at the Gottesdienst conference at St. Paul Lutheran, Hamel Ill., the week after that. It is about six minutes and 45 seconds from my house. I will also have a box of books in my lame-o Econoline this summer to take on our family vacation to Michigan (UP and LP!), during which we will in fact attend church on Sundays even though we're on vacation, if I remember to order the books. Some of my kids will get yelled at not to step on the box of books while they get in or out of the lame-o Econoline, so that could go in the "Damage To Psyches Of Children" column too. Would CPH buy it if I called that a book tour?

There's my audit.

And look, I like to try to be funny because it helps stuff not be so boring, but I'm more than OK with this being a serious question. Anybody who likes is welcome to contact me personally and ask such questions as may be necessary to the public good and welfare. ladylikings at

You could also talk to one of my actual factual neighbors and see what they have to say about their perception of operations at our house. Then tell me what they said, unless it's that I look terrible all the time. I already know that.

*Does this sound like an awesome, family-prioritizing Lutheran school to you? It is.

**Neither Rosie nor I pitched, queried, proposed, or otherwise dreamed up or effected this book.