So, I had totally planned to write about the super-awesome euphoria of finishing my first short story since Eric was born. Then, I planned to blog about rolling with life’s (and the kids’) punches. Then, there was this incident with Kate sitting on the counter, sitting on my very new and shiny laptop, and a spilled bottle of hot pink nail polish….
And then the life of a parent hit and I’m only now just sitting down to write.
Write, anything at all, actually.
Honestly, “Anything at all,” is pretty impressive right now.
I’m hitting my Day 12 (or 13?) of no breaks. No quiet where it’s just me and my thoughts and a very much needed downtime. Instead, it’s been constant, around-the-clock care and company of my kids.
There’s been tears, and a lot of it. Mostly mine, which is an act of God. Truly.
See, last weekend my husband headed up to Seattle to visit friends. Which was fine. I mean, we both planned it, both agreed it was a good time seeing as how we’d arranged help for me taking care of the kids….
But then the planned-for help fell through. So I scrambled and begged family to stay with me (which thankfully worked).
But then Eric started cutting his first two teeth. (Yes. I said two.)
But then Kate did something….
Okay. I honestly can’t remember what it was; my brain is fried & mushy at the same time, but I clearly remember walking around like a zombie, with barely any sleep, and a toddler who was on the rampage for testing my patience and whatever calm I had left in Every Way Possible.
And then my husband saw the Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I want to see that movie… except to make it happen I’ve got to do it after Eric’s asleep (and not needing to eat), which means I’m staying up way past my bedtime (which is 8:30 because the kids wake me up at o-freakin-early-whenever-they-feel-like-it).
With the writing, I had plans to keep moving forward on the second short story. Get in my 30 minutes a day and inch forward to whatever ending that story takes me towards.
That soooo didn’t happen this week.
This. This right here is the life of a parent-writer.
It might be different for you. Heck, it probably is. You probably didn’t have to scrub hot-pink nail polish off your kid (or the spots that got on your new, shiny laptop), but maybe you’ve scrubbed off the paint you use on your board game miniatures instead.
Every day during this almost straight, two-week child care, I’d look at my state of being, my threshold for patience, my exhaustion, and I’d shake my head.
No writing today.
I knew what I was capable of and I knew if I tried to sit down and carve out some time to play with my stories and I was interrupted… I’d lose my shit. Which isn’t cool. And it’s not what I want for either my writing or the kids.
So, I accepted what life’s dealt me at the moment and moved on.
Plus, that ‘moving on’ has finally brought me to this post I’m writing now. I also took a short trip to Disneyland to pick up a sketch from Off the Page (a Mother’s Day gift from the husband), which I did by myself. With two super small children. For the first time ever. Yep. I’m awesome.
Not to mention getting my favorite ice cream sundae from Downtown Disney.
Shared, of course, because I’m a mom.
The fiction probably won’t happen today, but I’m feeling calmer. More relaxed. The craziness is finally moving away and I can finally, finally get back to storytelling. In fact, I’m looking at my calendar, and the next few days, to see when’s a good time to start up again. When I don’t have the craziness or the appointments, when I can calmly put back in those very precious 30 minutes….
Heck, Mother’s Day sounds like a good time to start.
(Sorry dads, this bit is about moms, and seeing as how it’s my ‘Mother’s Day’ post I figured I could get away with it.)
There’s this funky (and Needed) part of a mom’s brain that never turns off – can’t turn off – when it comes to our kids.
And this part of our brain? It’s clicked on.
House stuff. Kid stuff. That giganto, never-ending to-do-list stuff.
I can’t shove it aside. Can’t compartmentalize it so I can get back to writing, or even reading the barely-started book by a favorite author.
I can’t get lost in that story.
I can’t get lost in telling my own.
The ‘Mom Switch’ is on, full-boar, and it’s only now starting to lower down so I can breathe again. Recharge.
I’ve come to accept this is part of the process, of being a parent, especially a mom, and a writer. It’s hard to get through. Tears and breakdowns are often involved (some days more than others). But I’ve built an amazing support network to help me through those times. Like talking it out with my husband. Calling up friends and leaving tearful voicemails (because they can’t answer as they’re also up to their eyeballs in kids). And my very dear friend, Allyson Longueira (the fantastic publisher at WMG Publishing), who recently reminded me that it’s okay to feel the way I’m feeling.
Okay to be frustrated, resentful, tired. Also okay to be happy and joyful.
All those feelings are valid, and frankly, they’re all part of the parenting business.
In the words of Allyson, “We’re freaking awesome! We’re wonder women. Tired, tired wonder women.”
And she’s right.
So with that said, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.
We have the hardest job in the world, especially when we try so hard to do it right, especially when we try to keep learning how to do it right… or maybe not ‘right,’ but the best we can in the moment we’re living.
We also have the best job in the world.
Best. Job. Ever.
Give yourself a big hug. We deserve it.