I admit it. I haven’t written anything for the past four months. Four. Freaking. Months. I haven’t even read a book. (Gasp!) I have a myriad of reasons why – adding a foster child to the family being at the top of that list.
Some days I worry I have lost my desire to write, and other days I realize that is the sleep/privacy/date night/babysitter-deprived monster talking and I need to suck down a tall glass of Melatonin-laced warm milk go to sleep for a long, long time.
This afternoon – I caught my husband reading a book. Um… He doesn’t read books. He reads websites and Life Hacker articles. But here he was, downright captivated by whatever novel illuminated the iPad screen. I immediately loathed that book and the author that captured his interest so deeply that he didn’t flinch when our oldest bounced a ball straight into the flat screen TV. That’s a big deal, if you didn’t know.
The man was enjoying himself. How dare he?
I wanted to be the one to read and let him scrape soggy cereal off the floor. But if I attempt to read anything other than Dr. Seuss, one outrageously cute toddler smacks me in the eyeballs with sweaty fingers. At all times, my attention must be laser-focused on her or she has a meltdown. It’s ugly. By the time said grubby fingers are in bed, my brain is the consistency of pureed pumpkin, which is neither good for reading nor for writing.
Back to my man problems. I flopped down on the couch and rolled my head to the side. You know, so I could full-on glare at him. No use. He was oblivious to my jealousy. A few minutes later, while protecting myself from the child scraping fake lipstick across my eyebrow, Mark looked up and said, “Done.”
I snorted. “Good book?”
He just nodded and said, “Yes, really good. When will you finish writing the rest?”
Wait. What? I sat up, deflecting the lipstick spear from going up my nose.
“I finally got to those chapters you send months ago. I don’t think I can help you edit. I just got so into it I didn’t see many mistakes to fix. It’s really good!”
It’s amazing how lightning fast one’s attitude can change. If I had any more chapters to give him, I would have loaded them onto the iPad, cozied up a quiet space upstairs and warmed the man up some hot cocoa just so he would take his time. But I had no chapters because I have been absent from writing for four freaking… well, you remember.
What is my point? I don’t know. I’m tired.
Maybe it’s that you should always keep writing so you don’t miss opportunities to get a free critique? No. Maybe it’s that you don’t worry about taking a break from the craft if you have more important items on your to do list. Or that you should wear proper eye protection when attempting to relax around a toddler. I don’t know… I just don’t.
All sarcasm aside, this phase of life may not be conducive to thought-provoking creativity or consumption of worthy literature, but it is still a phase in which I love to participate. Sure, I know a few mothers who do it all – write brilliantly and parent even better. I’m not that person. I’ve never been an effective multi-tasker.
I want to make motherhood my first priority, but I don’t want to stop writing. So, I’ve decided I will consider these years my crappy first draft years. I’ll write when I can, no matter how scatter-brained and useless it may be. Then, I’ll revise when the kids are in school full-time and my brain firms up again. (Or chuck the drafts in the bin and wonder if I consumed too much Melatonin over the years.)
Sorry, folks, that’s as close as you’re going to get to an epiphany from me today. I hope you’re making the best out of your current phase of life. If you have time, leave a comment on how you cope with life getting in the way of creativity. And for heaven’s sake, please use small words and short sentences lest I get confused in my sleepless delirium.