In the same sort of vein, I was inspired this afternoon by two very different things.
First of all, I was reading Stephen Elliott's Daily Rumpus newsletter and he wrote:
Someone said the other day he wished he had written his story differently. It was a short memoir piece published in a large magazine. There were points he still wanted to make. But he hadn't taken the assignment seriously. And he worked a regular job, and he was dedicated to his children, and the deadline came and he turned in what he had. And I thought if he didn't go to the zoo that day with his family he could have written more. The choices aren't wrong; the idea that you can have everything is wrong; the idea that we don't choose one thing over another is wrong.
I'm not sure that I agree with this in an absolute way, but I kind of do. I agree that if I didn't go to the zoo with my children, I would write more and get more done. I also agree that I have never made the wrong choice by spending time with my family. But, to believe that I can be something other than a mother, and commit myself one hundred percent to it, that's naive.
So, since I can't be a one hundred percent mom and a one hundred percent writer and a one hundred percent athlete, I need to rearrange my life and re-purpose my time so that I can be those other things, with at least some degree of productivity and conviction.
The other thing that inspired me was this.
I was making dinner, and my husband said from the living room, "We have a problem out here." I thought he was kidding or being dramatic about some crayon scribblings or something, but instead, I saw that a huge section of the living room ceiling is sagging downward. Fuck. A pipe has been leaking in our bathroom and we didn't realize it. Now, we have to replace part of our ceiling, a piece of the bathroom wall and fix a leak. Let me say fuck again, because fuck.
So all the stuff I've been talking about, about feeling out of control and like my life is exploded, I mean... it's true. It's all true and it's okay. I have no idea what's going to happen with our ceiling, but it will be okay. There has never been a problem in the history of our lives that didn't end up being okay, even if it sucked and was more stressful and annoying and expensive than we even dreamed could be possible. So, whatever.
I can't do anything about being a young mom and having a young family. I can't make it so that messes don't happen, I can't stop pipes from leaking, so why worry about it?
What I can do is get my own shit together. I don't have much time or energy, but I have enough that I can rearrange my time and efforts so that I'm not just frazzled mom ALL OF THE TIME. I can be other things, too. It's just going to take some dedication and extreme planning.
I'm kind of good at extreme planning. I find a perverse sort of comfort in making lists and schedules. I can't wake up an hour early every morning, but I think I could totally manage one or two mornings a week. I can't cut out hanging out with Kurt time in the evenings, but I'm sure I could sacrifice an hour, here and there. I'm going to come up with a detailed plan that allows me be frazzled mom but that makes it so that when daddy gets home, I can also be super amazing bike rider and manuscript editor and blogger and book reader.
Stay tuned for the decidedly not psycho plan I come up with to utilize everything I've got to be better at being me.