Friday, March 7, 2014

The Writing Desk vs Kiefer Jon

I follow the blog Revolutions from Home; the author, Beth, moved her family (three daughters, one husband and I think a dog or two) from the U.S. to Mexico to start a simpler (think: more time, less stuff) life together.  Recently she took a break from blogging to write a book she's calling "Motherwhelmed," a book about how motherhood today feels pretty overwhelming.

From time to time she'll hop back on the blog-train again to throw out a question that she's using as research for her book.  All of us followers are encouraged to respond to the question, and she'll have information and anecdotal evidence for her book.

Last week's question: "At this point in your parenting journey, what are your greatest sources of frustration?"

I didn't answer it on her blog, but I've been thinking about my answer every day.  I am a full-time mom to my three children--6 1/2, 5, and 2 1/2.  My husband drives 50 minutes twice a day to a high-stress job.  He usually works out before leaving, and he usually comes home at the kids' bedtime.  I've taken care of all the kid stuff while he takes care of all the money stuff; this is how we've split it up for almost seven years.

Sometimes I feel like it's my writing desk
(which is totally cluttered now) versus...
But...I'd like to renegotiate the contract, little by little.  I'd like to take baby steps away from doing everything kid-related to writing more, and working hard to produce manuscripts that will, one day, get published.  I am bursting with ideas, I keep a little journal with me at all times in which I scribble down my latest daydream in order to have them handy when I do have the time.  I am humorously opportunistic about finding time to write.  I'll write for 10 minutes before carpool or 3 hours when my sitter has extra time in her week--whatever I can find in the day.  I was lucky enough to attend a children's book conference a few weeks ago, and I want to run with the momentum gained from those hours spent in kid-lit heaven.  There is a part of me that wants to roar with excitement: THIS IS MY TIME!

And yet, my youngest is not yet in preschool.  My little guy, Kiefer Jon, has just 6 1/2 months before starting school, which he'll be in for the next 17 or so years.  I know, I realize that I'm counting down the months.  But I'm trying to remind myself to BE WITH HIM.  Savor these mommy-and-me gymnastics classes.  Celebrate the moments when twirling around in music class with him makes us both smile big.  Soak up the silly days of reading 8 books in a row with him in my lap, wanting one more.  And giving it to him.  Take the time to enjoy him and invest in him like I did with my other two kids.  I'm trying to do what all those people who stop me at the grocery store suggest to me after they remark "Oh you have your hands full!": Enjoy these days while my kids are young.
...this little orange-obsessed cutie-pie we call Kiefer.
(I can he not win every single time?!)

I'm trying to do both at the same time, because choosing one over the other is not an option.  I am trying to write a little more and squeeze out the time to fulfill my dream (because I'm setting a good example by doing this as well as loving the fact that I actually think it's possible to be a writer, right?) while also taking the time to be a present mom and enjoy this little Kiefer AND my two other fun kids.  I see how time invested now, when my kids are just starting to communicate, really pays off later--and I know I'm only beginning to see that.

What frustrates me the most right now?  I'm at the very end of my full time mom status.  And I'm tired.  And I'm trying to do a little more than usual.  It's like I'm at the end of a marathon and I'm limping along, doing what I know I need to do and really loving it some days, but I don't have the energy I had when my first child was 2 1/2.  I am trying to be realistic about my writing dream; I can't make it a part-time job just yet.  In the fall.  In the fall.  In the fall.  That's my current mantra, to remind myself to be patient with Father Time.

I'm tired. I'm struggling with the balance some days more than others, but time doesn't stop, the schedule doesn't let up, and my kids are getting a little older and a little more independent every single day.  My writing career won't die if I only water it a little from now until fall, and then water it a little more and a little more and a little more...  I'll do my best to be patient and kind to myself and to my kids in the meantime.


  1. It's so hard to keep that balance but it sounds like you have a great handle on it. Thanks for sharing your struggle and your frustration. This is a good question and it has me thinking...

  2. This was a very thought provoking post. My kids are all a bit older than yours and I know that feeling. I still get it sometimes and I have realised it is about turn taking. I wanted to go back to uni this year to study again but I did it a few years ago. I had a turn....but I want another turn! Your turn has started, it's just taking baby steps. Keep going, soon you will be running. :)