I am a mom.
I am either a great writer or a great mom. But rarely both. And it’s a tightrope of guilt.
At this point, I’ve whittled down all other hobbies/interests/passions because my hours are spoken for. Any chance I had of learning to paint is on the retirement hobby list now. And somehow, there’s still a shortage of hours in my day.
Let me say, my kids bring me great joy. Definitely. Of course. Most of the time. Now that that’s out of the way, the truth is, I’ve never been ok with being just a mom. (I know, I know. Moms everywhere are rolling their judgy eyes. Just a mom?!?! I realize how it sounds) We aren’t supposed to admit it but motherhood is the termite of self-identity, niggling into our foundation and thinning us out.
Not that this is bad. Motherhood takes over because, many times, there’s nothing I’d rather do than roll on the floor with my two year old. Not do dishes, tone my abs or train for a marathon (haha. Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that stuff anyway.) and not write the next great American novel.
But it’s times like summer vacation when I realize how very contradictory my two passions are. Hmm, edit chapter 6 or get the wildling grommets out of the house before they start setting LEGO booby traps.
(On that note, writing and a toned butt are also currently duking it out. Luckily, I hate exercise and could happily write and eat m&m’s for hours so it’s not much of a fight).
Can’t I be fun, energetic, tanned, active, involved mom but also be reclusive, obsessed, pale, moody writer? Gawwwd, Kelly! Step up your game.
And when is “being busy” an easy excuse for not applying myself to my work? And when is it ok to put a dream on hold to spin my wheels picking up toys, wiping noses and reading Little Blue Truck for the 1000th time? And shouldn’t I always be joyful to do these insanity-inducing motherhood tasks? Because a truly great mother would. 🤨
Damn you, selfish self!
Btw, if anyone has any pearls of wisdom, lay em on me. Because sadly, this summer, I’m choosing great(ish) mom and by the time bedtime rolls around, I can’t even form full sentences.
Also, this is my summer reading… 😣
I once told a fellow writer that every time I sit down, I feel like a different person and my work reflects it. My multiple personalities bloat my writing with their twisted humor, inflated description, gushing prose or snarky syntax. Whoever shows up that day.
“It depends on how caffeinated I am or how quiet it is or whether my dishes are done,” I said wistfully. “How do I write an entire book if I can’t even keep my scattered brain in line?”
My friend replied, “What is your workspace like? Where do you normally write?” Errrr. I did that embarrassed side-pursed-lips thing that you do when someone asks what you do to workout, then replied, “Wherever I guess. Cafes, the library, bed, my kitchen table.” She nodded knowingly.
So, apparently we writers are supposed to keep our environment stable if we want the tone of our writing to be consistent. I hope not EVERYONE here is like “duh” because this had actually never occurred to me. It makes sense, I just thought it was one of those in your perfect world scenarios. Continue reading
The other day, my 4-year-old, to a room full of cousins and aunts and uncles, performed her song, an original masterpiece called “Flowers In The Field”.
It went like this…
Flowers in the field
Where is everything that grows
A girl walks with her daddy
And picks a flower and the flower dies
But she puts it in water and it comes alive
Flowers in the field
Flowers in the field
I turned to my friend Neil and said, “Remember being that fearless about your own creativity? Brave enough to write a song and then sing it out for a room full of people?”
“No,” he said.
“Yeah. Me neither,” I replied.
But I was braver as a child. There’s proof. My first “publication” was a poem in my school yearbook. When running for Elementary School Treasurer (laughable, I know) I gave speeches off-the-cuff. And I sang in talent shows, LOTS of blood-curdling talent shows. Now, I can’t even drunk-karaoke without hyperventilating.
And why is that? Surely, I have a better vocabulary; can more likely carry a tune; and have a lot more thoughtful things to say. I just no longer have the guts to say them. What about growing up beat the bravery right out of me?
So, it got me thinking… How do we recreate the fearlessness we had as children?
3 solutions come up mind…
1. Always be amazing, superhuman – a genius even. Get all A’s. Problem solved.
2. Only show your work to people (like your doting parents, spouse, etc.) who will love you, praise you and top off your confidence cup, regardless of what you produce.
3. Just not care. Seriously. Sociopaths aren’t worried what other people think. Continue reading
If you asked my 11 year old self what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wouldn’t have wavered. I would have replied that I wanted to be a writer. And that never changed. I didn’t even major in something practical, as was suggested by those that love me.
I ended up studying literature and working in business writing, which, funny enough, turns out to be very practical.
Fast forward a couple decades and here I am, spending my weekend cleaning (because that is what all neurotically busy mothers do). While sorting boxes in a storage closet, I came across the roots of my ambition, my first journals dating back to that 11 year old self. I remember filling them over the years (there are at least 15) with what I imagined was pure genius, prodigy even. Continue reading
Snapchat. Oh snapchat. How else would I project a life that is way more interesting than the one I actually live?
Of course. Sometimes it’s pretty spot on, maybe too spot on. After taking a picture I often look at it and think, “Hmm. So that’s what my life looks like, huh?”
Take this morsel of my snapchat story for example. (Why, you ask, am I spending my limited spare time on snapchat? To this I say, I have no idea. See second picture for further proof of this squandered nap-time hour.)
In my snap of novel editing, notice the fancy alphabet placemat and literary classic If You Give A Moose A Muffin. This is how you write like a Ninja.
This, I’ve come to accept, is a proper representation of where I’m at. Let’s just call it well-rounded. Mmm-kay?