The Matter of When
It’s really dark right now. I’m wrapped in a blanket, because we like to keep the air set at Arctic Tundra during the nighttime hours, and I desperately long for a cup of coffee, but the coffee pot is loud, so I’m forcing myself to wait until a more reasonable time so that I don’t wake sleeping children.
Because waking a child before she’s ready is akin to waking a sleeping bear – you just don’t do it.
I really wish I was still in my bed. I love my bed. It’s comfortable, soft, warm, and I don’t spend enough time there. But I pulled myself from the covers this morning long before the sun peeked over the horizon because this is my when.
Fitting me-time into our busy days is a challenge, especially as we near the end of summer. I desperately want to be present during these last few days, but I also desperately want to escape, because end of summer brings extra drama.
They are tired of one another, and of me. And I am, quite frankly, tired of them. Days have fallen into one long battle as I war against wanting to let them just sit in front of the TV and do nothing, and forcing them to play outside because they’re turning into little zombies.
This is generally the time of year when I convince myself that hours of screen time is actually good for them. Those hours of the day spent on Minecraft, FIFA World Cup, MLB Baseball for Play Station, and all the movies and TV shows they’re watching are molding and shaping them into the beautiful minds that will lead our future. Boom!
I am a good mom.
Despite these obvious parenting successes I’m having, I am trying to engage and be fully in the moment, but there’s also work to be done, and the work is my breathing space. If I don’t tap into it now and again, I get antsy, frustrated even. So I have to find the when in order to engage the part of my brain, and my soul, that needs these breathing moments of solitude.
This is a common feeling for all mothers. Especially this time of year. Whether moms work inside or outside the home, we all long for that breathing space – the place where we can disengage from the motherly work, and reengage with the parts of ourselves that were there before children.
I think back to three years ago, at the height of my blogging “career,” and I wonder what kind of crack I was smoking that allowed me to blog every single day. How did I do that?! Where did I find that time?
Then I remember that the kids were younger, we didn’t have a fourth baby, I wasn’t under contract to write two books, my husband didn’t travel weekly, and life was a little less complicated. There was some natural breathing room in our daily routine, which has since been siphoned off steadily until you find me now.
Huddled under a blanket while the sun laughs at me from beneath the horizon.
Even as I type these words, I hear the baby making her wake up sounds. Intermittent cries with a little babbling mixed in assaults the reverie of this silent morning, and remind me that this is the nature of this season of my life. It’s noisy, and it’s hectic. As soon as little feet hit the floor it’s 90-nothing until the sun sets back down again.
So I sneak the solitude in when I can, and I do the things that fill me with joy. Books, writing, blogging. A little here, a little there. And somehow it’s working.
The manuscript for my novel is turned in for edits.
Wendy and I are now refining our joint book, the messages slowly coming together to form a beautiful, cohesive encouragement to moms like us – artistic moms who are clawing their way to the art in the cracks of their day.
I’m getting at least one blog a week up. That feels like a monumental win these days!
It’s not perfect, this system of mine. But this isn’t the season of life to strive for perfection. If the kids are dressed and fed, then I consider it a good day.
And by dressed and fed, I mean they have clothes on (Oh, those shorts are way too small for you? Just..whatever), and they’ve eaten food (Cold, leftover pizza for breakfast? Just…whatever).
How are you doing, moms? How do you fit in your when? And are you kids eating genuine meals, or are you just pretending that pretzels dipped in ranch is an actual lunch like me?