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.