This is only a test. If this were an actual emergency I would be using all caps.

My babysitter is sick today (poor thing, she’s fighting something ugly), so I am without my afternoon of writing. I hate how this makes me feel, and I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with lost expectations. I’ve had many meaty things in my head this week, and I was really looking forward to having some space to flush it all out. Now I just feel deflated.

Ruthie slept for an hour and a half, so I took the time to figure out how to make a linked ‘button’ for my home page – something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. And now that Ruthie is awake we are watching Peter Pan, and I will read a book. I find that I cannot steal away these short moments during naps to write through my most burning thoughts, for if I am interrupted by a waking child I become angry and bitter at her presence for intruding on ‘my time.’

I’ve learned that there is very little ‘my time’ in motherhood, and often the lines defining ‘mine’ are blurred by compromises and interruptions. I used to resent this, but I am adjusting – though not seamlessly. I recognized early on in my Recovery that I mother from a foundation of selfishness, and the whole house suffers if I am not happy. We all need time to recoup and re-create – to sabbath, as we call it in the church – but the purpose is to give us energy to do the work we have chosen to do, which in my case, is motherhood. I sometimes hold on to the method of my rest too tightly, hence the disappointment when things do not go as expected.

I have not discovered the balanced tension of being a writer and a mother, and fear the two are not compatible. Kyran at Notes to Self touches on this topic. She writes:

This is the central paradox of my life, for that matter, of any life that tries to encompass motherhood and art simultaneously. It is what I am usually trying to work out in my writing here. The writer belongs to no one, while the mother and wife are willingly indentured. There is never equilibrium, because life is never static. Just a lurching kind of motion between one truth and the other. This stagger that is my life.

Even as I try to write this essay, which has turned much more meaty than I intended, I find myself racing against the duration of Peter Pan, and it literally makes my head hurt. The writer/mother multitasking I do makes me tense and distracted, so now on top of everything else, I’m feeling tired and irritable. Where has the time gone? Is it really that late? What the hell am I making for dinner? Three hours I normally spend re-creating so I can be a better mother, I have spent thinking bitterly about being a mother instead of accepting What Is and embracing the afternoon with my daughter.

That is a sad place to be.

5 thoughts on “This is only a test. If this were an actual emergency I would be using all caps.”

  1. Wow! I think you hit on the nail what I am struggling through at this very moment. I Chose/choose to mother, but very often do it from a crappy state of mind, thus therapy, medications, and struggling to find the root of my “evil” Why do I hate being a mommy so much when all I have wanted to be my entire life is a mom? Still trying to resolve it. So thank you for sharing once again, what you have learned and are still learning/discovering about yourself and who you are and where you want to be.

  2. I’m right there too…this is all I’ve ever said that I wanted and I really didn’t like working fulltime either…so, I must be either an incredibly unhappy person or just totally selfish. I LOVE my kids, but find myself just “making it” through a lot of days. Sitting with them in the TV room with me either on the computer or knitting while they run around playing or watching TV…I do the minimum amount of housework that I feel I can get away with as quickly as possible so I can return to whataver I want to do. We do the things we have to do, like school, church, etc but not a lot of park trips, zoo, etc. Wow that looks worse in print than in seemed in my head! I need to go to the Jen school of schedules. I’ve always said I would be happier if we had some sort of schedule, but can never seem to make one or I make one and don’t stick to it….okay, I’d better submit this comment quickly before I delete it out of embarassment!

  3. The good news is that it gets easier as they get older. Mine are now 10 and 12, and I really don’t want for “me time” (and neither does my husband, who has always been the full-time caregiver in our household).

    It’s hard–*really* hard–when they’re little. It takes all of your time and all of your energy (physical, emotional, and intellectual). But it doesn’t last forever, and the investment (however difficult it is to make) pays off in spades. 🙂

  4. lovely post, out of stolen time.

    it took me a long time to realized it was the threat of interruption that kept me from digging in during naps and tv time; that I needed firmly bounded off time to take the plunge. knowing what we need and want is much more than half the battle.


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