This is a bit of an introspective post. Just warning you.
Tonight I had a bit of an epiphany. It’s probably stupid, but I had to come to this realisation in my own time.
The writing will wait.
I have had a frustrating day with my 13-month-old baby today. I’ve had barely a break from him, and I was looking forward to him going to sleep early so I could write my 1000 words that I need to get down to make my quota for the week. He had other plans. I was feeling so much anger and frustration, lying there with him, thinking: “I need to get 1000 words down, how am I going to do that if I’m dog-tired and it’s 10pm?”
And then it hit me. I don’t need to write 1000 words. I want to, yes. But I’m not going to die if I don’t. We’re not going to be homeless if I don’t. My baby boy doesn’t care if I write a novel now. But he does care if I’m getting angsty with him because I want to have a life independent of him. He will care if I am wishing away his childhood just so I can go to conventions and writing “things”. He will care if he feels like an inconvenience, cramping his mama’s writing style.
He is important. His babyhood and his toddlerhood and his childhood are important. I have resisted and fought and struggled against surrendering to this stage. Once it became apparent that he was going to make us really WORK, that he was going to challenge us and stretch us, I rebelled against mothering. I want to write. I have stories seeping from my very pores. I want to go to Conflux. I want to go to writing workshops and book launches and networking events. I want to do these things so very very much. And I am grieving the loss of my autonomy. My life is not my own right now, and fighting against it will not make this stage pass any quicker.
I think it is important for me to acknowledge that I am mourning the loss of independence, the loss of time and self. I think I do damn well as a writer, with what little time I scrape out from my days. And that is enough. If I can’t write the first draft of my novel in 6 months, that is ok. As long as I actually did a decent job at mothering my children, as long as I actually put words down on the page, as long as I actually enjoyed life and connected with friends. That is enough.
It’s time for me to let go of my expectations. But don’t think I am any less passionate about my writing. I am still going to write. But I’m going to celebrate what I do, honour my sadness when I choose to prioritise my mothering role over something I desperately want to do as a writer, and take the pressure off myself to be perfect. I have time.