Thursday, August 09, 2007

Just Do It

This post is in response to two events. One: another aspiring mom writer asking "How do you find time to write with twins?" And two: My recent excursion back into the land of pain, sweat and abandonment issues (aka- I joined the gym) And the abandonment issues are mine, not the boys.

Let me just say that when you bring children into this world, something has to give. You have to give up part of yourself or something in your life. I know we would all like to think we can have it all and do it all but--if we're honest with ourselves--there is just not enough time. Unless, of course, you can afford a nanny, and you don't care if your kids call her mommy.

Giving up writing, for me was completely off the table, non-negotiable and necessary for my mental health. That's how I find the time. I just do it. It's a priority. Actually it's a sickness. Trying to find time to balance the rest of my life between these two priorities--kids and writing--is the real problem, but life is all about balance. About not getting out of balance. There are other important things: friends, other family members, your physical health, food, down time...sleep. All of these things must be squeezed into a measly 24 hours, only to begin again the next day. This repetition of needs is both necessary and corroding. My coping mechanism: a schedule. If I have to squeeze something else in and things get jostled around a bit, that's fine. I do this so I don't have to think, because I have a tendency to think too much. If I start thinking about how I'm going to get two toddlers to the gym with all their labeled sippy cups, snacks, diapers, extra clothes, etc or if I start thinking about how I'm going to finish this monster of a novel I have bitten off...I start to panic. I freeze.

I was thinking (see what I mean?) about this while dying on the back half of my first real workout this morning. Why do I do this to myself? Is it worth it? I don't know, really but I know it's necessary. It's for balance. It's for the completed circle: Mental, Emotional and Physical health.

So, what did I give up?

Sleep.

13 comments:

Gary said...

You know what the problem with "work out" is, it contains the second most vulgar bit of profanity in the English language: w. o. r. k. I can't even write it, almost. The second? j. o. b. Ooh-hoohoo. I shudder just to voice these things aloud in my head (of course, given survival mode, I probably shouldn't joke about that one right now. :-( So, I shy away from such improprieties, and I'm very disappointed in you that a woman of your caliber doesn't too!!!

Now, sleep. Well, I've done all-nighters, and for nights without end, I must confess, but, in the end, my 30 some odd year affair with sleep has even surprised me how often marriage comes up in regards to it. Oh, I can't say I'm there for her every night, but in the end, sleep will probably be having my babies. Oh, yes, passionate, torrid, a real sleeper of a success story, but we're there... OH, yes, I'm looking at bassinets as we speak.

What keeps it alive after all these years? Devotion, total devotion: I will kill the man, woman, child or animal that disturbs me when in the throes of this passion! ;-( Don't tell anyone, but I have already... many times...

Like sleep, writing does demand that certain devotion, or it'll nag you like your first wife until it gets it. Well, one must not keep his ex-plaintiff's waiting. SO, the only thing to do is give the children up for adoption. I know, you were looking for that answer, weren't you?! :-) You should be ashamed , I am only kidding.

Boarding school in Siberia is best. And they take them almost out of the womb. :-o Ha!

(p.s. I think I'd die without my "list." Eat, check. Bath, check. Go to work, check...) :-D

Shannon said...

LMAO! Okay, now that I've gotten up off the floor...

Siberia is way too cold. They have my blood...something in the Virgin Islands would suite them better. In fact, I wonder if anyone there wants to adopt me, too? And..."bath"! Damn, I knew I was forgetting something.

Shawn said...

I definitely sleep less than I used to, even as a college student. But, I still get a good chunk of it because I need it. I never mix my work/writing with the girls, unless it's absolutely necessary, which it hardly ever is, or if I'm just jotting down some notes.

Schedule is important. But, for me, it's discipline. As soon as they are in their cribs for a nap, I"m up on the computer, writing. Period. Sometimes, when I've accepted more than I can handle, I am on the computer, writing, early mornings and late nights.

You're right. It's a sickness. An obsession. But, we do always find time for the things we want in life. I'm a believer in that.

Shannon said...

I'm right there with you, Shawn. Naptime=writing time! I try to remind myself of that old saying "you can sleep when you're dead". Not very comforting, I know..lol, but it's the best I've got right now.

Gary said...

You guys are so funny: for Gary, nap time = NAP time! What is wrong with you people!!!!!! LOL ;-)

Shannon said...

We just exist on a different math theory, where things like 1+1=0 (0 time for naps)

Karen said...

Ah! You GOT it.

Shannon said...

For the moment, Karen. There is no going back to my life before...they win.

:-)

Christian said...

Take it from someone who is in the throes of working out...it's worth it. I can see the benefits every day. Keep at it!

Shannon said...

That's what I'm hoping, Christian-about seeing the benefits. I was trying to work out at home but I was just getting frustrated because it didn't feel like I was doing anything. I'm hoping being at the gym with no distractions will work better. Glad to here you're still sticking it out!

Tia Nevitt said...

Yup. Sacrificing sleep is familiar to me, too.

bella said...

I too rely on the schedule. Not that I necessarily follow it. But having it allows me to actually let go of control, odd as that may sound.
“A schedule defends against chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days”. Annie Dillard.

And I love knowing there are other moms out there who make writing a priority, not as leisure but because they MUST. Wonderful to know I’m in such good company as yourself.

Shannon said...

I like that quote, Bella. Plus, a schedule allows you to enjoy rebelling against it on the days when you need to :-)