I went out with friends tonight - we were celebrating a birthday, a birthday that happened in EARLY DECEMBER, GAH - and we had our usual "I feel guilty about working!" and "I feel guilty about NOT working!" mommy angst discussions. Actually, we're all quite happy doing what we're doing, but we still have to TALK about it, you know. Make sure that we actually ARE still happy.
I AM happy, I'll have you know. But for some reason it's been a very hard month. Like, I am just not FEELING 2010. I am lazy, unmotivated, cranky, misanthropic. I have a lot going on - things to write, things to plan - and I either have five thousand ideas and only time for one of them, or I've got nothing at all, and I panic over how I'm going to produce all the things I'm committed to producing.
And when my friends talk about liking their work and finding fulfillment in it, I translate what they say into my stay-at-home-mom world. What is MY work? I would say (as pathetic as this sounds) my blog, my other blogs, my "novel", the stack of Important Papers On My Desk That I Need To Do Something About and the party we're planning for February. I am FULLY aware that my "work" is what a lot of working mothers do when they get HOME, but whatever, for now we're just going to say it's MY work.
I take care of my kids first and foremost. But I will blog before I clean up the kitchen or fold the clothes. I will do other writing before I pick up the toys when the kids go to bed. I will forget to make dinner on time because I got on a big revision roll with my story. I think figuring out where we're going to stay in Hawaii and all the logistics of that trip are worth a nicely formatted spreadsheet or two, plus and the fact that my husband won't have to think about it at all. I like having all the numbers entered into my Budget of Awesomeness spreadsheet, and I make invitations to parties because I think people like getting fun mail, and I have Post It notes all over my desk for when I have an idea but can't type it up, and maybe I have spent more than a few hours trying to figure out if there's an equivalent of Scrivener for a PC. Okay? THIS IS WHAT I DO. And I like it. It makes me feel like me.
But I don't think I've done very much of it since the holidays. I think I've mostly laid around my living room, despondent for various or no reasons. The weather is horrid - the kind of weather everyone thinks Seattle has year round, but really only shows up for a week or so to get everyone good and depressed. Exercising during nap time, routine as of a month or two ago, now requires massive mental effort. Most of the time I fail on this front, and the sad thing is how easily I shrug it off. And remember, I am not exercising to lose weight, I am exercising to MAINTAIN MY SANITY.
I am not doing a very good job.
Phillip is back in school. My weekend plans fell through. And even though everything worked out and we had a good time anyway and I've had enough time to myself - hello, I just got back from sushi and Red Mango with friends - I didn't do very much of what I DO. And I feel... at loose ends. Frustrated. Stifled, even. I came home and marched into the office where my poor husband is doing homework and snitted, "I need to WRITE. I am going upstairs to WRITE. DON'T TALK TO ME."
This, after leaving my him with the boy who didn't nap for a second day in a row, thereby turning himself into Actual Demon Spawn. I went out for sushi (which I don't even really LIKE, which my husband wants to MARRY) and Phillip put one child and one demon spawn to bed by himself. And is now doing homework.
I think... I don't know. I kind of feel like the month of November was this crazy eye-opening experiment for me, where I went full blast on something I wasn't sure about, and then, at the end: SO VERY SURE. But you know, life takes over, and there were weddings and holidays and families to attend to and then back to the doldrums of January and... wait. So how do I get back to that again? How did I make that happen? How did I arrange all the pieces of my life so I could DO what I DO?
First: I need to do my stupid at-least-twenty-minutes of stupid exercise. It's not even an option, Self. GET WITH IT. And second, I need to do what I do. More, and every day.