Listening to Kieron Gillen's podcast I learned that you like to get work done by waking up in the wee hours of the morning. However, when I get stuck working super late (pacific time) you're often still tweeting away. I am also given to understand that you have a young family. As a young professional trying to sort out an appropriate live work balance: 1) How do you find your balance and 2) how do you turn out such amazing comics on apparently so little sleep (I must know this secret!).

Listening to Kieron Gillen’s podcast I learned that you like to get work done by waking up in the wee hours of the morning. However, when I get stuck working super late (pacific time) you’re often still tweeting away.

Three possibilities:

1) You stay up really late and you’re still up when I get up;

2) I’m on deadline and I’ve gotten up extra early (as early as midnight sometimes, usually around 3; I go to bed between 8 and 9 generally); or

3) Auto-post. 

1) How do you find your balance 

Heh. I overslept yesterday morning – which means I got up at 5am. I worked until 4:30 pm, at which point I brushed my hair, threw on a red dress and ridiculous heels and went to a Christmas party, where we stayed for an hour and a half, all but 15 minutes of which were spent downstairs in the designated kids’ rumpus room. At 8pm we gathered our spawn and ran out the door like the minivan was about to turn back into a pumpkin. By 9:30 I was asleep with a two year old on my arm. I woke up at 4:30 this morning, still in my red dress and lipstick.  I wear the long-last kind. 

I don’t find balance.  (In the time it’s taken to answer just this much, I’ve stopped 3 times to feed the dog, clean a peanut butter sandwich off the floor and referee a fight.)

If it’s any… well, “consolation” isn’t the right word, exactly.  I dunno.  ”Don’t put me on a pedestal,” is all I’m trying to say. Not good for either one of us. I’m just like you, save, I bet, much older.  I’m doing the best I can, figuring it out as I go.  I’ve had a few extended family things hit hard of late and the stress has taken its toll.  I’ve needed more sleep the last couple of weeks and it’s a thing.  

Deep breath. Honest answer: It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I spent a lot of my adolescence being an adult and a lot of my young adulthood acting out my delayed adolescence.  I lost a few years of maturation using drugs and alcohol to help me approximate something like being comfortable in my skin. Then, at THIRTY, when I finally found a recovery program, it took me a while to learn to be a human, much less a grown up.  

I thought I wanted to be an actor.  (It suits alcoholics and drug addicts — all that pretending and disappearing.)  I didn’t start writing until my 20s, didn’t get my first significant professional assignments until I was sober. I met Fraction at 31, married at 32, had HL at 37 and TL at 39…

Why am I answering your very sweet and lighthearted question with such a big bummer of an essay?  Because

Because I love my life, my hilarious children, my job, my amazing hot so-fucking-talented-I-want-to-punch-him-in-the-face husband, my parents, my grandparents, my friends, my city, my community… I love it all.  But I’m tired. If you think getting up at 3am is tough when you’re 20, try it at 42.  

Here’s the deal: a person only gets to start his or her career over so many times. Took me a while to find the life I love. I overdrew my fuck-around-time budget early on. Now I have plans, goals (yes, I know: the universe laughs) and every day I am more acutely aware of how little time we have on this earth. If I want to this—and I want this—well… as my oh-so-delicate mother says, “shit or get off the pot.”

My point (if I have one… this is really a mess, I know) is that this whole work-life balance thing is not something I have worked out.  I’m not trying to complain or elicit your pity – I sleep (or don’t sleep, ha ha!) in the bed I made and I absolutely recognize how lucky I am, believe me, but I don’t want to represent myself as some kind of superwoman because I think that myth does damage and sets people—women in particular—up for unrealistic expectations of and for themselves.  Then, when things are really, really hard and it seems impossible to find balance, they feel like there’s something wrong with them, like they’re less-than somehow because clearly other people have this all worked out.  

Well… I most certainly do not have this worked out.  

I don’t want to perpetuate that myth.  

All right, I’ve prattled on quite enough and I’m pretty certain I’ve not made much sense, but I’ve got a kitchen full of dishes to do and a poem I was supposed to have finished on Thursday, we’ve got a birthday party to go to at 2pm and I want to wash that red dress so I can wear it to the Nutcracker tomorrow.  

I should’ve just posted a picture of the kitchen counter in answer to your question, huh?  

2) how do you turn out such amazing comics on apparently so little sleep (I must know this secret!).

I am so glad you like them.  So glad, you have no idea.