What I want is to curl up on my futon, close the playroom door, and sip my hazelnut vanilla coffee while I write and write and write. I want to dig into the pile of books I have sitting there, some of them written by friends, others by college classmates as their PhD dissertation. I have a chapbook of poetry written by the girl who lived down the hall; a novel from the boy who sat across from me in Biblical Literature.
What I really want is to see my own book sitting in that pile.
But for yet another day, that dream is going to be pushed aside by a mountain of laundry to wash and fold, a little boy who needs to play Candyland for the sixteenth time in an hour, and a baby girl whose tummy isn’t quite feeling well. The book floating around in my brain is going to be once again crammed to the side by cheerios on the floor and a fort that needs building out of couch cushions. By the time this afternoon when the kids are settling down enough that I could write for an hour, dinner will need to be made and taken to Daddy at work so the kids can see him today, and then Joshua is going swimming with his aunt. Maybe, I think, I can write while he’s swimming.
But then the dinner dishes will need to be done and the little girl with the upset tummy will be crying to be held and cuddled and rocked, so I won’t write then, either.
And when Josh gets home, he will need a bath and a story and to be tucked into bed, and by the time that is all done, I will be so tired that I just want to go to bed myself–but I will have forgotten to change my bedsheets that the little girl threw up on last night, so that will need to be done.
And once again, for one more day, the book will be pushed aside.
I am all for taking time for yourself. I’m not the mom who gives and gives until she loses herself in her children’s needs. But there is a balance between taking time for ourselves and recognizing that our children’s needs are just as valid as our own. Right now, the fort building and Candyland playing and rocking sick babies take precendence over my need to write. I wrote in college, in fact, my bachelor’s degree is in writing. Right now, my time is spent with my kids, and later on, in stolen moments between soccer practice and music lessons, I likely will be able to write again. I don’t have twenty years of little children ahead of me; I have only now with these precious little lives. The days are long with these kids, but the years are so short.
Life ebbs and flows, it moves in seasons. Right now, my season is not spent on focusing on my own needs–taking care of myself, for sure, but not putting my needs ahead of my children’s. Eventually the cycle will turn, and once again my time will be my own.
But right now, it isn’t.
And even when my glances turn longingly to that pile of books I want to be a part of, I know that day will come. But until then, there are games to play, and forts to build, and there is so much love to be given.