Saturday, January 8, 2011

Release

Everything seems to be up lately.

Last night in the car I was telling my dashingly handsome sidekick (DHS) how I was releasing feelings of guilt because I didn't have time to go to my writer's group at the local library, or take the girls to library reading time this year. The library reading time didn't jive with Anna's preschool schedule, and since two of my girls have ballet on Monday nights, writing group didn't jive either.

He said, "Honey, you have a lot going on. It's okay."

And there it was. Release. Just to hear someone else say "you're insanely busy" was dramatically freeing.

Maybe it's the stereotype of the stay-at-home mom who sits with her hair in a towel all day, eating bon-bons and watching soaps that messes with my confidence level. (I do admit to eating the occasional bon-bon or two or twenty-seven, but the only TV I ever watch is Go, Diego, Go because that's Sophie's current favorite.) Maybe it's also this continuing struggle with wanting to please people, for people to think what I'm doing is worthwhile. I know most people respect that stay-at-home moms have a difficult and important job, but there's always this doubt in the back of my brain that I should be accomplishing more. I don't know if it's social pressure, or just my own drive, or what....

My DHS is wonderfully supportive. He doesn't expect me to keep the perfect house, he comes home and plays with all four children, he occasionally does dishes and even laundry, and he has been amazing when I've been on my writing/editing binges. He knows I need the creative outlet writing gives me.

But this last month or two has been interesting. I've been sort of manic with this baby coming, cleaning more than I usually do. My WiP has been out with a critique partner, so I haven't been writing or editing my own work much. I've spent a lot more brain time in the daily routine because my mind isn't caught up in my novel. It's been a wonderful break.

I miss writing. But I love this life I have with my family. Focusing on them feels great.

That's when fear seizes me. WILL I EVER MAKE TIME FOR WRITING AGAIN?
I'm having another baby! I can hardly handle the four I've got! Every night I'm falling asleep reading to the kids, so there goes my writing time!

PANIC! My publication dreams evaporate before my eyes.

And then I remember to focus, to be realistic, to be rational.

A break is a good thing. I might be a bit rusty when I get back to writing, but I'll get back into it when the time is right, when I want to, when the stories in my head need to go on paper. When that happens, the need to write will overcome the exhaustion and I'll make time.

I have before. I will again.

Until then, it's okay.

Release.

13 comments:

  1. It makes me quite sick that society deems say-at-home moms as not worthy. That they should get off their butts and get a real job or go to back to school. It's an insult and I will argue until I die that MOMS have thee hardest jobs in America. Without you...we would be nothing...literally!
    I can see that you are overwhelmed and you super busy...but ( like you said ) you have a wonderful DHS who is there to support you. Believe it or not....you are actually living my current dream! I would kill to have my own place, be married and have kids up to my ears! haha Every season God gives us a blessing whether we think so or not. ( what I've learned recently. ) I pray that you won't feel guilty for being a great mom. You are awesome Amy and no one is looking down upon you for being busy. You go girl! <3

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  2. I cannot believe you are going to have five children. Wow. But then I realize that I've had five children. Just not at once. I had two of my own (38 & 40), one that I helped with as my friend was pregnant and single (I was the dad but not the husband!) and two with my partner now - step-kids. Oh and an exchange student. But five under ten. Yikes. Are they all under ten? I didn't look.
    You'll get back to it. Just utter the words 'margaret drabble' under your breath. steal your moments, dream up more time, you'll do it, I know. I send you lots of love for what you're about right now, here in your time!

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  3. Oh, Amy, I can't even imagine doing all the amazing things you do with four children you have ... and write. I'm sorry that our culture does not celebrate stay-at-home moms. Believe me, I got a lot of criticism for quitting my work when I was pregnant, but it was the best thing I did and that's one thing I definitely do not regret! And you will write again. What am I saying? You're writing right now -- these blogs and short story snippets you've been posting are excellent writing. But the larger works? It's composting and percolating ... and you can steal time at the kitchen counter as you cook for your family or in the bathtub (well, that doesn't sound right, but you know what I mean). It is so refreshing to read about a mom who can focus on her family! But yeah, it's tough balancing it all. And I'm sure your husband will give you lots of breaks when you need them.

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  4. Danica, I totally understand. I'm living my dream right now. I always wanted to be a writer and a mother ... and here I am doing exactly what I always wanted to do. I need to remember how blessed I am!

    Jan, Yes, all my kids are under 10! Phew!! Wow, it sounds like you've had an exciting life and have been able to nurture a lot of children. They don't have to be our own for us to be part of raising them, that's for sure!

    Vijaya, Thank you for your encouraging words. I keep thinking about your post about calling, and I know writing is a calling in my life (though I haven't figured out how quite yet ... I just keep moving forward). With that said, I know there will be time for writing in the future. Hopefully the not-too-distant future. :) But my children are definitely my calling, because they're here in my life right now, and the publishing contracts are not. So I will be thankful for the amazing blessings I have!

    And honestly, I think it's my own personal drive that makes me discontent with where I am on the road to publication. I can't think of one person who has expressed disdain at my decision to stay home as a mom. It's either a greater cultural sense or just my own weird struggle. Probably the fact that being an author is a childhood dream that I'm loathe to give up has something to do with the dissatisfaction element, too.

    Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. I appreciate them. :)
    Amy

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  5. You can do it. I've been going through similar business lately (though not nearly as much, I'm sure-- I've only got 1 kid so far), and it's so hard sometimes to find time for yourself. You've got a wonderful family and a wonderful talent-- there's always time for both. :) Good luck!

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  6. Without sarcasm or condescension, you have the most important job in the world. I see your kids on a regular basis and they are a source of constant delight. You are doing well. God has not gifted you with writing ability to let it wither. To everything, there is a season...it will come. Keep doing what you're doing and keep doing it well.

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  7. I actually have the opposite concern sometimes. Sometimes I worry that, when I'm a bestselling and uber-famous author (wink, wink), people will look at me and think, "What's she doing with a career? Doesn't she know what a stay-at-home mom's supposed to do?" The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages mothers to stay home and raise their children, so it's the working moms who feel like they have to defend themselves. Not that I would consider myself a working mom, per se, and I still hope that I'd be able to live my day-to-day life in much the same way I'm living it now. But I think about that sometimes.

    Oh, well. My mother-in-law says most of the things we worry about never happen, anyway. That's probably what will happen with this concern about becoming rich and famous, too:)

    Take care of yourself, Amy. Don't clean too hard:)

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  8. Ah, Amy...the struggles of being women and contently doubting. Glad you are feeling the release now and pray that you continue that feeling. That you don't worry about the future writing...someone already said it, "There is a season for everything". I'm trying to convince myself of that, too. ;)
    Can't wait for the news that Little One is here! Praying for you today!

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  9. Sounds like you're doing an amazing job right now but the one phrase that stuck out for me from this posting is 'wanting to please people'. Our situations are very different but I recognise that emotion/issue. (I'm talking to myself as well as you now.) We don't have to please other people. As long as we're doing our best for our family/dependants then the person we should be pleasing is ourselves.

    I've had several enforced writing breaks recently and I feared I'd not be able to get into that writing world again but I have. It's possible so don't worry about doing everything all at once. Enjoy your family. There'll be more than enough time for writing when they're bringing up children of their own and think of all the material you're amassing!

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  10. There's so much wisdom in these comments. Thank you, everyone!

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  11. Boy that sounds familiar. I've been swamped with RL and can't find enough time to squeeze in my writing these past two weeks. I had to stop and force myself to carve out time last night.

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  12. First of all, don't worry! New baby time is wonderful writing time. Your body and your baby force you to slow down on everything else, and new-mama hormones make your brain more active and productive (true).
    Secondly, being a mom is quite a job in itself. Set reasonable writing goals, like "I will write/look at my writing for 15 minutes today," and congratulate yourself with a bonbon or several when you meet it!
    Finally, don't worry! (Wait, did I say that already? Well, it's important.) You're doing a great job. Everything will fall into place.

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  13. Oh my goodness, I feel just like you on so many levels. I'm almost afraid to take a break from writing because of that whole fear. But kids are important, and after all, I CHOSE to have them.

    It's so hard to let ourselves be less than superhuman (like the world tells us we should be), but as long as we keep the essential glass balls in the air, the others are okay to fall from time to time. ;) Best of luck with baby #5. You're amazing!

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