Thursday, October 25, 2012


Before the little man was born, I joined up with a group of writers for a critique group that meets a couple of times a month. It's been fantastic for my creative life. I've never been much of a sharer and even less of a finisher. If you opened my hard drive or journals, you'd find absolutely compelling tidbits of stories, scraps of ideas, thoughts and essays. Compelling nibbles. But very little that is actually complete, something that can stand alone. Be published. Be shared.

Thanks to my critique group, that is changing.

Especially now that I'm a mother, I need someone else to keep me accountable to write. I need the deadline of the writer's group hanging over my head. Between G's staccato naps and the ostinato thread of constant pain running through my days, I really need something exterior to motivate me.

As usual, I am scattered and disorganized, which is very much my style. I'm working on several stories with fairytale themes while I procrastinate on the middle grades novel that is languishing in my hard drive. I think I've just finished one story which we'll be reviewing this week and then I might try to send out for some contests or something. Not being good at finishing things, it's hard for me to say when something is definitively done.

Slowly, I am learning to juggle the new responsibilities of motherhood along with the old ones of being a productive human, using my talents before they go all rusty and fallow. I never wanted to be the 1950's housewife, though it's sort of the role I was handed after I married an expat whose salary will probably always trump my own. While I've never felt a push towards the professional, 9-5 routine, I've always worked several jobs, finding creative ways to pay the bills and bring a sense of worth to my life. With the arrival of a small human on our scene, I suddenly found myself without time to do those things that made me feel useful. I do not feel useful washing dishes or spending hours on the phone with the internet company to get them to stop charging us for services we don't have. There's little self-actualization in the mundane tasks that have to get done, especially when they take up all your time. It's a frequent refrain among the expats in Brazil, how much time it takes to do even the simplest task. I'm not sure why. It just does.

It's a juggling act, and I'm really clumsy, so I let the balls drop. A lot. But thankfully my husband and son are pretty flexible, and they don't complain too loudly when the house is clean but dinner is...random. Or when there's a gourmet meal on the table, but I look like the Bride of Chucky and the remnants of a zombie tornado leave a visible trail from kitchen to living room. So when the blog suffers, and you wonder if I'm still alive, I am. I'm just buried in dirty diapers, lying on my stomach playing drool bubbles with G or otherwise engaged in tasks that don't allow me time for typing or pontificating. Someday, I hope to be back to my normal self. It does happen, right?


anne said...

well, it does happen, or you adapt to a New Normal, as they call it. and small critters take of different bits of time, and you learn to make a routine that gives you time to do stuff that will make you feel less stagnant. However, for the moment, you have a fun thing, getting to be w/little G, and having to not worry about feeding him, place to live, enjoy and celebrate this particular time! and get crafty w/the upcoming holidays, and that sort of thing. All manner of ways to contribute to the world, and I know that you are/will continue!

(did they ever come to any conclusion about what to do for your elbow/arm?)

Paris! said...

It's only now, in these past few weeks, that I suddenly realize I can recapture a glimpse of my former self now that my 4.5 is in school full-time. I never planned for her to be in school full-time at this age, but then again I never thought I'd live in Rio de Janeiro, where having my child in school full-time is an unexpected blessing in disguise.

Up until a few weeks ago, my life (aka schedule) revolved COMPLETELY around the needs of my child. But now, with 9 hours to myself every day, I am quietly trying to figure out what to do with myself now!

I never understood what moms meant when they said the first 5 years are the hardest. That it does get easier once they're in school. Now that I'm in this position myself, I can say that I finally understand.

So the answer is yes, you can eventually get back to your normal self in 5 years

Then again, with your current plan to home school, this figure may need to be revised! ;-)

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