February 25, 2011

Getting It Done

I have a tiny job, a minuscule thing really. Also, I edit fiction and write reviews for an online journal. I read, blog, write poetry, research, edit, revise, submit-- or at least those are things I'd like to do on a regular basis. Oh, and I'm a stay-at-home mom, but maybe I should have mentioned that first.
Hold on, I have to break from writing because my preschooler wants cinnamon untoasted.

Lately, I've been fantasizing about kindergarten. Whereas I was once horrified that our local kindergarten is a day-long program, now I dream of what I could do with all that free time. Maybe in addition to my writing endeavors, I could run the vacuum on occasion and try out that recipe for crème brûlée shoved to the bottom of my kitchen drawers.

I know I'm lucky. I don't have to work a full-time job, and though I say I don't know how I would do it, I also know if I had to, I would do it, because I've done it, and like the vacuuming and cooking, it just gets done.

Hold on while I break up a sibling brawl.

When I get carried away with my free-time fantasy, I have to remind myself of the reason I became a stay-at-home mom-- to be with my kids. My kids, who will be this particular kind of cute for only the next 30 seconds.

And yet, I am dissatisfied. There, I said it. Wrote it, even. I miss using my brain. It's not that parenting is brainless work, because Mama Knows it isn't, but it's a different kind of brainwork.  Maybe this is why I started grad school when Sweet P was two.  Does that make me selfish? Is it selfish to want to be happy . . . ier?

At some point I promised myself that my manuscript would be published by the time I was 30-- a stupid promise given that I have little control over that acceptance letter-- and now I'm looking down the barrel at 40, and I know that's part of what's driving my angst. If I have any control over the publication process, it's researching, writing, editing, revising, submitting; without that I've got nothin'.

Hold on while I search for the lost treasure.

Sometimes I have pains in my chest. Writing pains, as I think of them. I take deep breaths and ask myself: Does it really matter if I never get that book published? In the grand scheme of things, probably not. Still, I can't bring myself to let it go.

Hold on while I steal some sugar.
Hold on while I give some sugar back.

This is a conundrum for mothers everywhere, I imagine, whether it's about mothering and writing or mothering and making movies or mothering and skydiving. And then there are mothers who'd just like clean drinking water, which makes all of my blithering sound so frivolous.

But maybe if I can find the time next week, I'll write about those mothers, too.

For now, though, I've been summoned to wipe a bum.