Some days I just feel like I’m wandering aimlessly through my life without offering anything of substance.
For all of the lip service we pay to the importance of being a mother, we sure are good at making moms feel like they need to be doing something else with their lives.
And yes, I believe that in order to be your best, you need to pursue things that make your heart race and challenge you. I also think that the trend of women starting families later and later adds to this struggle. So many of us have established careers and lives before we begin a new life with a partner. Those dreams and experiences and skills are a part of us, and sometimes they aren’t so easy to leave behind. These holes can sit there and fester and cause an ache in your chest. Ignoring them works for a while, but what happens when it doesn’t?
Recently, with the decreased distraction of this quarantine period, I’ve become more aware of this festering. I feel the burn to create, to use my gifts, whatever they may be. When I worked out of the house, I created and innovated and lead teams. I built things. There were always things to check off the list and provide the illusion of progress. There were promotions and opportunities.
When I left my job last year, I thought that I could look at running my house like I looked at my career. After all, momming was my job now. Just like when I worked, I thought could create check lists and goals and that I should absolutely be able to do these things. My house would be spotless, we’d have all the flawless home cooked meals. After all, I had all this time now.
I failed to take into account that when I worked for someone else, I paid someone to clean my house. I paid someone to watch my son during the day. I ordered food several times a week because I was too tired to cook dinner. I didn’t grocery shop, because pick-up orders saved me a couple precious hours a week. Survival meant outsourcing my life. Suddenly, all of the things I outsourced became my jobs and somehow those “extra” hours that I thought I was gaining were filled with, well, everything else.
The result is that I still haven’t written the children’s books I dreamt up. I haven’t edited the novel I cranked out 18 months ago. Hell, I never even released the EP I recorded 5 years ago. My husband lovingly reminded me the other night of these projects and that I never finished them.
Welcome to life with a creative, honey, I’d said.
But it’s more than that. It has become clear to me that I’m constantly waiting for the moment to strike. For everything to align and somehow allow me to be free of the distractions of life with a 3 month old and 3 year old and house full of animals. That somehow, the chaos of raising a young family will just… disappear someday and I’ll magically produce my great work. That some day things won’t be so crazy.
When I articulate that thought process it feels ridiculous, even to me. There are always going to be distractions, because I choose to participate in the lives of people around me. I choose to raise children and stay married. But before that, it was my work. Before that, it was college.
It is always something. However, that doesn’t mean my circumstances right now are all that I am.
If I’ve learned anything through quarantine, it’s that it is so easy to lose myself in teaching my kids, keeping everybody healthy and feeding them 49850 meals a week. In maintaining a house, and shopping, and work, and hygiene, and… and… and…
I was created for more than survival. I was created to create. To love and grow. To use the gifts that I have and to shine. And those gifts usually feel like they’re buried under 47 loads of laundry, a pile of bills, and a sink load of dishes.
It’s worth it to remember what makes your heart beat faster.
Today, I drove a kid to volleyball. I had 2 hours alone, out of the house, for the first time I memory. I went and bought plants, and contemplated running to Target to do something really boring. Then I parked in the parking lot with my laptop and started word vomiting.
I may not be writing my next great novel or compiling my book of poetry right now. I may not have figured out how to build my 6-figure freelance writing business yet. But today, I wrote. And that first step is the hardest one to take.