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?
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