I had a few hours off of the motherhood thing, yesterday. Not even a whole afternoon, just a few hours, sitting outside a cafe and revising my first draft. It was so nice to be sitting there, not in the mom capacity, not being a mom at all, just being myself… just being an artist and writer. It was like letting the air in.
I revised 20 pages without worrying about nap time or someone waking up, or needing to make lunch or clean up the toys strewn around the living room, or what my toddler is doing in the other room while I’m sitting with a pen and my book… I can’t hear him, so he must be sticking his fingers into a socket.
It makes me realize how important time off is. And how important asking for help is.
I’m not the kind of person who likes to ask for help. I like to do things myself. I like to be tough and independent. I don’t like to admit that I need other people. Okay, that’s my neurosis, but kids aren’t raised just by one person alone. Even for a single mom, it’s not just one person. It takes a village, they say. And when you are a creative mom, you really need to call on that village.
S. took the day off of work and stayed home with the kids. And it was great. I need to ask for that more often. Maybe it takes a village for a mom to raise a novel, too. I need to make my work important, make myself important. I need to make my writing practice explicit. I need to commit to the writing and the revising and the working for myself, and for my family.
Part of that commitment is asking for help to get the work done. It is stating, “I am a writer and I need this time to work.”
Ironically, I am trying to write this entry with a “sleeping” infant and a toddler “watching” a deep sea dvd. And it’s so hard to keep my concentration and train of thought. I know I had important ideas to write down, but the toddler pulled on my hair and the thoughts must have escaped my head through my ear.
Yes. Time off is important. I wonder how much time off? Would an afternoon a week be enough? I was thinking it would be nice if I could get my sister to come and watch the kids once a week on a regular basis… not just when I had a doctor appointment. She could get a chance to know her nephew, he could get a chance to know his aunt, and I would get a chance to write my book.
I could also ask my dad to do the same. A regular afternoon gig. Sigh. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t even have to go far, just to the coffee shop down the street. That’s why I have a laptop, isn’t it?
I get uncomfortable asking people to do that, though. I feel like I am taking advantage of them. And if we had more money, I could pay for a babysitter, but as someone who is struggling because I am NOT working, I feel like it is unfair to take family money and spend it on something that will not bring in more money. See that’s me not taking my work seriously again.
I do believe that eventually I can make money from this, but not if I don’t commit to it, and not if I can’t take the time to put it into writing, revising, getting it published.
Take myself seriously. Declare to the world, to my family, to my community, that I am a writer. Pull on their support to be that writer. And not incidentally, if I declare myself a “real” writer to my community, I need to take myself more seriously, because they are watching, expecting. And then, I must live up to their expectations.
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