I used to love to write. After I became a mom, and occasionally tried to spend time writing something, I realized I had stopped loving it. It became one more thing to try to cram into my busy schedule. It became something I do with half my brain, and a small fraction of my heart, because the rest is occupied elsewhere, with kids, homeschooling, housework and other distractions and priorities.
Many things are the same way. Sometimes I escape for a short while to go for a bike ride or a walk, I sit down for a little bit to read a book (until the next interruption), and (very rarely) I even pull out my paints and paint something. These are things I loved to enjoy when I was single, and even when I was newly married. I could escape into one of these pleasures for hours on end. I could use a whole Saturday afternoon drinking coffee and reading a book if I wanted (sigh… right?). I could paint every evening for a week straight and get through a project from start to finish. I could go on a bike ride and not worry about how long it took. Part of what I loved was the freedom to do these things for as long I chose, without distraction. It was a way to put work and other pressures aside and escape into my own little world for a while.
Now all of these things come with added pressure, interruptions, and seemingly not enough time. There is no true escape. I have a baby who needs me, at a minimum, every three hours to nurse. Sometimes she needs me much more often than that. Today she is cutting two teeth, and she has been extra fussy and upset. Neither of the adults in our house got much sleep last night, and I could use an escape more than ever. My husband is wonderful about taking all three kids out for a couple hours here and there on the weekends (when I know he could use some down time himself), and I am so grateful for that. But today I can tell the baby needs me.
Even on the days when my husband and all three children are out of the house, there is this pressure I place on myself to get something “productive” done. You know… all the things that have piled up during the day-in-day-out rush of life with young children.
When I do decide to take time for my passions and hobbies above housework, and dismiss the guilt I also place on myself, I often feel like I need hours to get to the point where I can fully pour myself into something like I used to. The first hour is just spent decompressing and trying to clear my head from the million distractions and worries rattling around inside.
But this morning, I am loving writing in the thick of things. My husband took my two older girls to church, while I plan on writing this morning and going to church tonight. Fussy Baby stayed home with me, because I just couldn’t send her with the pain she is going through and how much she has just wanted mom during the teething. I wondered, when the rest of my family left, if I would get any writing done at all with the baby at home. I thought about going with them, because I might as well go, if I’m not going to get to write.
But here I am with a snuggly baby in a carrier pressed against me, fast asleep. The house is quiet, and I get to write and enjoy warm baby snuggles at the same time. Life is even more peaceful in moments like these than it was before children.
While moments of calm may be few and far between, I can practice enjoying the peace that comes with knowing my children are growing up loved and cared for, and with a knowledge of the Lord. And when the quiet moments come unexpectedly, a grateful heart helps me see and appreciate them for what they are.
Writing centers me. It makes me see my life through the eyes of others. It shows me when things I have been worried about are really not such a big deal, and when there are things in my life that I need to appreciate more. I need it. I am learning to let go of my desire for how it was to write and love writing again as it is now.