Archer won’t go down for a nap. The monitor is flickering but I don’t want to turn up the volume because I’m afraid, then, that I’ll hear him cry. I can’t listen to him cry without wanting to make it stop. I can’t make it stop unless I go to him. If I go to him then he’ll never go back down which means I’ll have to finish my work after my night shift is over at 1am. When the house is quiet and I have five hours before Archer wakes up in the morning.
Some nights I spend at the coffee shop when my husband gets home from work. Two nights a week, maybe a Saturday thrown in. This is supposed to be
the time in my life when I focus on my career. This is supposed
to be the time in my child’s life when I stay home with him. Take care of him. Be his world.
“I’ll just do both,” I said to myself. I say to myself still. But I can’t be good at both. Can I? Not when all I can think about when I’m working is my child, and when I’m with Archer, all I can think about is how much work I have to do.
I need him to nap. For my sanity and so I have time to work. So I don’t fall behind. So people keep reading. And paychecks keep coming. So I can finish what I started. Keep them coming back. Do it all…
Last summer I struggled with the same feelings:
…Make everything seem easy.
Make life seem easy and parenthood and marriage and freelancing for
pennies, writing a novel and smiling after a rejection, keeping the
faith after two, reminding oneself that four years of work counted for
a lot, counted for everything. Make the bed. Make it nice. Make the
people laugh when you sit down to write and if you can’t make them
laugh make them cry. Make them want to hug you or hold you or punch you
in the face. Make them want to kill you or fuck you or be your friend.
Make them change. Make them happy. Make the baby smile. Make him laugh.
Make him dinner. Make him proud.
the phone, someone is on the other line. She says its important. People
are dying. Children. Friends. Press mute because there is nothing you
can say. Press off because you’re running out of minutes. Running out
of time. Soon he’ll be grown up and you’ll regret the time you spent
pushing him away for one more paragraph in the manuscript no one will
ever read. Put down the book, the computer, the ideas. Remember who you
are now. Wait. Remember who you were. Wait. Remember what’s important.
Make a list. Ten things, no twenty. Twenty thousand things you want to
do before you die but what if tomorrow never comes? No one will
remember. No one will know. No one will laugh or cry or make the bed.
No one will have a clue which songs to sing to the baby. No one will be
there for the children. No one will finish the first draft of the
novel. No one will publish the one that’s been finished for months. No
one will remember the thought you had last night, that great idea you
forgot to write down...
I don’t know if that feeling will ever go away. It certainly hasn’t, almost a year later.
So on days like today, when napping is out of the question and my blogging duties fall by the wayside. And my freelance assignments are late and my book deadlines seem impossible, I don’t know what to do. All alone at my desk with my hands over my ears.
Quick! Write as fast as you can so you can be done for the day and go back to being a mother!
Sometimes I wish I could have chosen to either stay at home or go to work, instead of trying to do both. By myself. Because, no matter what I say or think I can handle, sometimes it’s just too much.