Several years ago when I decided it was time to make a serious go of this writing thing, one of my first tasks was to create time designated for this purpose. At the time, my oldest was just a toddler and I was expecting my second child. For a while I would try to sneak in an hour or so of writing in the early evening after I got home from work and before dinner. But this time of day was when I most wanted to reconnect with my family. Besides, my creativity was strongest first thing in the morning. So, my husband, wonderful man that he is, agreed to take on the morning parenting tasks on his own. This entails getting the kids up, dressed, fed, ready and out the door to school/daycare, giving me a couple hours to write before I have to get myself off to work.
This has been our daily pattern now for probably five years or so. I go into my office when the house is still dark and quiet. I do not have to close the door (most days) and I love it when each of my kids come to me for a morning hug and kiss before they go about getting ready for their day. Though my oldest daughter is starting to get away from that habit, my son still stumbles in with his eyes sleepy and his hugs warm and of course, there is my youngest… the little giggling monster who runs in to show me her dolly and lifts her arms to be pulled into my lap for a long squeeze before daddy gets her dressed.
Some days it is difficult to stay at the computer while the kids are starting their day. I try hard not to get drawn in by the drama of homework that isn’t done yet, socks that don’t fit right, missing gloves, or the dreaded cry “we’re out of cereal!” And no matter how much their daddy does for them every morning, there are some things they just have to come to mommy for. The interruptions are expected and I have learned how to shift my focus from my work to the kids then back again without too much disruption to the writing flow. But then there are days when the words are stuck in a jerky pattern and I can’t seem to get my thoughts to flow. On those days, I might have to close (and sometimes lock) my office door.
Every day I do this. Every day. Weekends too. I set my alarm and get up before everyone else to sit at my computer. Of course there are occasional exceptions that require I leave my little room and assist with the morning rituals. And it is always difficult around the holidays for some reason. But every day it is my intention to get up and get to work while the kids are corralled by their dad. And sometimes, I feel a mother’s guilt for insisting to my family that my writing time is important…for giving my kids that morning kiss and hug and then gently shooing them from the room. I do my best to balance this out by being as fully present and available as possible in the evening hours when we all congregate back at home after work and school, but some days, it is still hard.
I hope that by committing to this practice of writing and staying the course I am demonstrating something valuable to my children. It has long been my dream to be an author, but it was not until I put in the necessary work and dedication that the dream started to come to fruition. This is what I hope my kids are learning as they find me at my computer every morning…that it is very often not enough to simply want something. If it is important to you…if it is your dream…you have to make it happen. You have to put in the time, the commitment, the effort and the occasional heartache to reach your goals. And if you do, no matter how lofty it may be, any dream is attainable. Anything at all is possible if you believe you are capable of making it happen.
My oldest daughter, a nine-year-old who is practically obsessed with animals of all kinds, has decided she would like to be a veterinarian when she grows up. A few weeks ago, she asked me what she could do now to start working toward this goal.
I don’t know if her inspiration to put forth this effort has anything at all to do with being a witness to my determination in making my dream come true. But I do know we are now volunteering at our local Humane Society so she can begin to learn what it takes to care for so many animals. If it gets her that much closer to achieving her own beautiful dreams, than it is well worth it.