Try to solve this problem: PARENTING + WRITING = X
My degree is in English so Math is always a bit tricky for me but in this particular case, the answer for X is … Book Delay.
In the early years of motherhood, it was easier to work full-time. I realize this might seem hard to believe when we factor in how much young children need us, but in my reality there was more flexibility. During the days while my son was at school, I had a few quiet hours alone to create. Casual evenings were spent at home, allowing ample time to be with my husband and son and write late into night if motivated. And weekends, though busy, left plenty of freedom for family fun and relaxation.
And then came the teen years, middle school, advanced for-credit classes, intense sports programs, and chronic fatigue (thanks, cancer). Now my days are spent keeping up. Afternoons consist of homework and quick dinners before shuttling off to hours of evening ball practices or games. Late nights are rare due to early morning alarms. And weekends? Tournaments. There is preparation, packing, dog care, travel, long days, late nights, hotel stays, unpacking, and dirty uniforms to launder.
Needless to say, nothing extra gets done – especially the editing of my book.
During lunch with a friend, I shared my frustration over an inability to publish my book on schedule, care for my family, and parent my teenager effectively. She looked at me with a smile and said this: “You struggle because you need to feel productive.”
She is right.
I love crossing things off a list. I need to have something more than routine daily chores or errands to fill my mind and time. I feel better when I accomplish tangible, challenging things and get great satisfaction from coordinating large, overreaching projects. For me, it is concrete proof I have done something, contributed more of myself to this world.
I was raised on a farm and as such hold a very strong work ethic. It is the reason one employer hired me specifically – he believed I would be trustworthy and well, productive. I did not disappoint. Of course, this upbringing makes me not only focus on the task at hand, it also makes me take great pride in the results.
I believe that patience and diligence and strategy and passion can create something amazing and beautiful. Writing provides all of this and more. When I put effort, time, and my heart into a book, I feel incredibly proud of the finished product.
Which, my friends, is the reason why I struggle at the moment.
My current focus must be on something unfinished and intangible: my family. They need all of me right now. I am striving to be productive when I really need to be purposeful.
I must pursue my purpose – as a wife and mother.
This does not mean I am no longer a writer. I am not stopping. I am simply slowing down. My SUMMER HOURS will begin a month earlier than planned. I will work. I will edit my book for publication. I will post here and at Inspired ME, Joyful BE. I will be on social media. I will keep in touch via comments, emails, and private messages.
I will do all of what I love – but at life’s pace.
Experience tells me it will be difficult to work as these coming months are meant for my son. There are only a few years left to have him close, and the summer days belong to him. Energy, time, moments – they are limited so I will make the most of what I can, while I can. And hopefully when the season is done I will have a book to share and memories to keep.
It is important to pursue a dream, but that dream means nothing if we lose sight of our purpose. We are put here for a reason. Find it. Love it. Nurture it. And above all, hold onto it.
Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash