I had every intention of publishing timely, daily blogs for this challenge of joining National Blog Posting Month. I was doing really good the first week. I had time to preview a few prompts, hash out a few drafts. Now that I’m in the thick of it, I realize how difficult it truly is to find even just 10 minutes a day to dedicate to myself. I am learning to not only appreciate the art of writing so much as I’m learning to value my time.
I missed an entry yesterday. I had my computer on my bed facing away from my baby and husband while using my 75-pound dog as a pillow after I had finally finished a day of church, errands, cleaning, and care taking. Every time my fingers hit the keyboard my son woke up crying. This repeated about seven times, which is way more than usual. On the seventh time, his little hands gripping my shirt pulled me in, and I succumbed to the much-needed sleep that we both desperately needed.
“I’ll write two entries tomorrow to make up for my loss today,” I thought as I dozed off.
I’m lucky that I’m writing one right now during his first nap, before my never-ending list of to-do’s and work-from-home obligations. I barely have room to write this as my computer hangs off the ledge of my table that is overflowing with about five different piles of laundry I need to fold.
But I’m writing this because underneath the guilt, I had a bit of a revelation.
I really, really don’t have just 10 more minutes to spare sometimes. And that’s not me being lazy, nor is it a failure. It’s having self-respect for my time and understanding the art of prioritizing.
When I transitioned from career woman to stay-at-home mom, I had this beautiful picture – as I think many people do – that I will be so much better at balancing my time because I won’t have anyone else telling me where to be and when. I under-estimated how similar the relationship of employee-manager would be to parent-baby. That sweet, sweet freedom that I envisioned has only gotten more difficult. Whereas before, I could at least plan my free time around predictable work obligations, my baby doesn’t quite know how to send calendar invites to block out certain times of my day, and he’s notorious for delegating absolutely everything to me.
It’s not a complaint. It’s just acceptance that apparently I needed to find. Acceptance that when I choose to write, it is 10 minutes that I will have to forego doing something else. Acceptance that the more involved and engaged I aspire to be in my life, the more I’ll have to get used to saying “no” to other things in exchange.
Does this mean I should stop writing? No. It’s not about giving up the things that we love. This is especially dangerous for moms who desperately need to prioritize self love and self care. The things we love give us vital balance to the all-consuming things we otherwise must do. It just means we can’t do everything all of the time, and we need to stop viewing this as a shortfall. This trade off is part of what shapes us and makes us unique. Because if we all had time to be everything to everyone, we’d all look the same in our perfect bubbles.
But we’re not the same, and we’re not perfect.
I’m a writer, yes. But that is just one piece of me. Today you will only get one blog, because I am imperfectly completing this month-long writing challenge because I am an imperfect person who has learned to be okay with that.