Sorry for the frequent blog postings. I will settle down, I promise! Anyway…
“The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.” Lane Olinghouse
How many writers (especially moms) find abundant time and mental energy for writing (or other creative) projects? Hmmm… I’m not seeing many upraised hands out there in cyberland.
When I started writing, it was easier. My days were dedicated to caring for little ones. Then they’d be asleep in the early evening. By then, I was bursting with things to write about, even though I was physically and emotionally drained. While my husband caught up on the news (bleah!) I typed and typed. Getting it all down allowed me to relax and sleep in peace, with the satisfaction that I’d captured vignettes to be kneaded into a novel. Someday.
My children are older. They get needy at night. They want my attention. They like to read themselves to sleep, and want me with them while they read. Just having them attempting to share the couch in my office is a tinder box of trouble.
What’s a mom to do?
I’m taking a risk by posting a “mom dilemma” on the internet. There will be those who say I must provide complete availability. If I pursue a hobby I’m a selfish, bad mom. There will be others who say that my children need to respect my “write time” and I must grow tougher about enforcing boundaries. Or I’ll just be told to get my fat lazy self out of bed in the wee hours before the household is awake.
Yawn. Mommy Wars are so tiresome. Ladies, surely you’ve heard what they say about opinions and how everyone has one?
I do wish moms would stop being so critical of each other. We’re all in the mommy boat together, and I’m wagering other moms struggle with the work / family / creative life balance. Where do we draw the line between our creative wants and the wants of our families? It’s even tougher when needs are involved. I have deep admiration for moms who are juggling more plates than what I’ve currently got spinning near the ceiling. My fifteen minutes of free time is a precious luxury for which I’m thankful.
Another irksome problem is a certain lack of realism about children’s behavior towards moms in many TV shows and stories. Children are often portrayed as supportive of mommy’s dreams, completely unselfish and understanding, never needy, and wise beyond their years. Who writes that stuff, anyway? Certainly, no one who’s a mom!
Some writers need beautiful surroundings and sleek, high speed computers loaded with the latest software. I simply need the mental peace that comes when everyone else doesn’t need anything. This means I have to go slower with my writing than I’d want to, but so be it.
I do think it’s healthy for children to see their moms accomplish things. My own mother taught elementary school for about three decades. She did a great deal of good during her career, and I’m certainly proud of her, even if her professional duties kept her from indulging my every whim. I tell her that, but she just snorts and mutters about bills needing payment.
As I write this on my decade-old dinosaur of a desktop, whose internet surfing days are numbered, my children are in my study with me, each at one end of the ugly sofa my husband had since his bachelor days. I get writing done in little fits and spurts when I’m not otherwise occupied, because I want to give to my family when they need it. My children won’t be young forever. But if it’s a want then it’s a judgment call, right?
For now, they’re quiet, and I’m writing. It’s all good.
p.s. I think a book satirizing the Mommy Wars would be hilarious, don’t you? I sort of have one outlined; it’s a larva wanting out of its cocoon. tee-hee. Wish me luck!. I need to focus on re-writing at the moment. The larva, unlike my children, will keep.