I have a 17 days until I am back at work. I am having a hard time envisioning adding a 40 hr+ a week job into the mix. This mommyhood thing is super hard. It's intense giving your almost everything to someone else most of the day. No matter how cute she is, it is still hard. The endurance required is massive and yet nothing else in the world stops for this requirement. The laundry piles up terribly quickly, dust is so noticeable, and me and my husband still need to eat, and to eat more than just pre-packaged foods from time to time. And then to fit writing into the mix? This is the hardest job I've had, the job of really just managing my own life, the baby's life, the home, and being chief advisor to my husband. And now work. Whew!
I've learned a lot during my time at home with my baby. I've learned that I am still human with human feelings. On any given day, I am bored, exhausted, frustrated because I am limited, busy, in love with my baby, unsure, overwhelmed, alone, wanting, wishing, glad to have time to not have to work, etc.
I've learned that I have limits and the more I respect them, the better my day goes. When I try to stuff too much into a day, an hour, a minute, I am instantly frustrated. I've learned to step back and think about what must be done, do that, then stop. Rest. Breathe.
I've learned that the house is not my preferred domain. I will give myself credit for getting better at putting a decently balanced meal on the table before 9 PM most nights, but still, I'm not house wife material.
I've learned so many other lessons, but since this blog is about writing while mothering, I'll stick to my lessons in writing. My biggest lesson is perhaps the most basic lesson that makes me go duh! when I think about it. It is: this whole writing dream I have is not going to happen over night. Writing is a long, long road. And while I am glad to be finally walking down this road, instead of pretending it is not my path, I'm at the beginning. I have little to show my readers. I have an almost finished short story, a birth story, and an unfinished manuscript. Oh yes, and this blog (How could I forget!)
Hell, I don't really have any readers yet! But I am plunging away on draft 2 of my manuscript (I'm on page 156). When I began my maternity leave I really thought I could turn my entire life ship around and that I'd pull into the harbor of success (see some of my earlier entries in Aug) within these 5 and a half months. I had crazy expectations - that I'd finish my manuscript, get an agent, get a book advance, never have to return to a job I don't love, etc. - that would surely leave me disappointed and frustrated by now.
The good news is that I am not disappointed or frustrated in myself. I am glad to have gotten all that nonsense out of the way, so I can get down to the business of writing and learning to write well. Having those great expectations left me vulnerable to too much compromise in my writing. You know, writing what I think others want to read so that I could never have to work in a cube again as opposed to what's in my head and heart.
Now without the pressure of changing my life in a short time span, I can just focus on changing my life, little by little day by day. And enjoying the parts that I don't want to change at all, like my husband's sweet kiss before and after his workday and my baby's bright and unabashed smile.