I should start this post by saying that I don’t have the answer to this question. And I’m not sure any mother out there can make a decision about her work versus family life and not feel the slightest bit unsure or like she is sacrificing something. At least I have yet to meet or read about a mother who is able to do so.
I have written about not having it all several times. But, it’s one of those issues that us mothers seem to constantly confront as our perspective, experience and children grow. For me, the past month has been a period of deep searching and transformation. In this time, I have scaled back on my blogging, sometimes intentionally and sometimes, not so intentionally. I’ve been experimenting and here’s what I found: I am a better mother when I don’t write. To be more specific— I am more available mentally and spiritually.
I write because I was born with burning embers circulating throughout my body, calling me to string words together and share them with the world. It is there, in the depths of all that is unshakable in my being. And I thought it would fit seamlessly into my life as a mother (who wants to stay home while her child(ren) are young). But, it doesn’t. Not really.
I really pushed to develop this blog. To dedicate myself to it. To make it real. And it all seemed relatively manageable until my child reached the age of one. Now, as she continues to grow, it has become increasingly difficult for me to write. The time, the energy, and the mental space aren’t always there. And when I am able to write, it takes me away from my daughter in some way, just like anything else that I give myself to in this life of mothering. And that is where the tough questions and decisions arise.
What do I want to give myself to?
I have spent the past several weeks giving more of myself to my child instead of my writing. And a huge space has opened up for me. I’ve been more present in my life. I’ve felt a bit freer and more energized. But, also sad because what does this mean? Is it a sign that I should stop writing this blog? But, what about my dreams? My goals? What about advancing my career? That art degree I was thinking about? My business?
The reality of the decisions I’ve already made suddenly hit me. I’m a mom. A mom who decided she absolutely had to stay home with her child. And there will probably be more children which means….more time at home. If I don’t have the time now, how can I expect to have the time when my house is even fuller?
The take away from my month of experimenting seemed to be this: be patient, and adjust your short-term expectations.
But, of course, just as I began to accept these realizations, I had a dream. An actual dream, while I was sleeping the other night. I was speaking to a faceless being (God, if you will) about my life. This faceless being told me that I was going to die some day and asked me what I needed to do before that happened. And I said “write!” I screamed and cried “write!” with my fists pounding up to the sky. The faceless being agreed so I told him I would publish my work before I died.
And there you have it. Accepting that I can’t have it all will likely always be a battle. Neither part of me wants to die.