Ahh motherhood. It’s the easiest thing for me when I’m trying to do nothing else. It becomes the hardest thing when I am trying to do absolutely anything else. (Any woman who, before becoming a mother, could make a pie in her sleep and then attempts this with her baby around knows the struggle I’m speaking of).
What should take a half hour now takes an entire afternoon, an entire day even, when you have a child to tend to. Thoughts that fly freely and happily in my mind when I’m alone disappear the second my kids demand my attention. Like a dandelion seed that catches the wind, they fly away, never to be found again.
But motherhood is a beautiful thing. It can give you a taste of heaven like nothing else in this world. Yet there is an ongoing battle within, to hold onto your dreams, to hold onto yourself, and not be eaten alive by your role as mom.
Elizabeth Gilbert once shared this quote from the British novelist A.S. Byatt:
“I think of writing simply in terms of pleasure.It’s the most important thing in my life, making things. Much as I love my husband and children, I can love them only because I am the person who makes these things. I, who I am, is the person who has the project of making a thing. And because that person does that, all the time, that person is able to love all these people.”
Liz Gilbert comments “When we allow ourselves to become people who make things, we become open-minded and open-hearted people…and thus happier people. Happier people can love their families with joy, rather than resenting them with frustration.”
This could not be more true in my own life. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, by finding myself in that resentful, frustrated state wondering how I will ever catch a breath, find my heart, love the very people who are taking every last piece of me for themselves (or so it feels to a mother who is putting herself last).
But then I forced myself to get my butt in the chair, and started writing more. One of the ideas that has helped me most is this: It’s not about finding the time, it’s about making the time. And as I started to take this time, for ME, the resentment and frustration slowly started peeling away. They still show up every now and again, some seasons of motherhood and marriage and life are more demanding than others. But now I know the way back to joy — make something. Anything. But make sure it makes ME feel alive.
What stops me from doing this? A big part of it is not taking myself seriously. I value the dreams of others but not my own. I’m quick to encourage them, but not myself. Be an advocate for a dream that merely lives inside my head? That’s silly. Or, even worse, selfish.
But as I’m seeing it, it’s not my kids, or my husband, or my messy, messy house, that are stopping me from following my dream. The dust bunnies thankfully don’t speak a word of objection. My husband is kind enough not to block me at the door when I tell him I’m going to a coffee shop to write. Though my kids may do a lot of things to distract my writing, nothing they do could actually stop me from writing (they’re not strong enough…yet).
There is really nothing in my way but myself. (Best to step aside, then).
Tell me, are you a mother who is also pursuing her creative dreams? I would love to hear — what helps you make the time for your projects?