The momentum I had on this new WIP seems to be slowing, but I'm still here at my keyboard as often as I can be. OK, fine, I did finish watching the second half of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone last night when technically, I could have been writing. But aside from the occasional hour spent half-conscious in front of the TV, I've been working. So the slow-down isn't caused by me, it's my life.
Today I didn't even try to write during the day. I did crafts and stories with Little Boy, had floor time with Little Girl, made a stew for supper, folded some clothes. Cleaned a few feet of bathroom floor. Baths. Dishes. Days like this make me wonder how the heck I ever fit any writing in, which brings me to my point. Or rather, the thing I'm still mulling over.
There is no question that the time I spend writing while the kids are awake detracts from the time I spend with them, from the quality of their day. An hour, an hour and a half, whatever passing moments I'm able to corral - I could have been teaching Little Boy to read, or ride his bike. So am I wrong to take that time? Is it truly mine to take, or did I forfeit that time to him when I had him?
Yes, sometimes I feel guilty. Sometimes.
Dr. Phil - God love him - would say I can't give away what I don't have. This is the balm for my guilty conscience. Yes, the time might have been spent with a child who is growing up too fast. Or it might have been spent cleaning the floor. So I walk a line, perpetually negotiating with my conscience, always weighing my priorities. Play dinkies, bathe the baby. Forget about mopping, write instead. Throw a load in the washer, read a story. Stick a frozen meal in the oven. Write.
I think a lot of writing moms must do it this way. It's gruelling - what it lacks in actual sweat it makes up for through emotional conflict. Two for them, one for me.
The thing is, regardless of the gnashing of teeth, this lifestyle meets all my needs. I need to be here for my kids, and I am. I need to write, and I am. I hate to mop, and I don't. I want to set an example to my kids that you can do what you dream, but it probably won't be easy. It's work.
At the end of the day I take a deep breath and let the guilt go, and smell their hair as I kiss them, sleeping. Tomorrow, depending on the day, I will either feel guilty for writing or for not writing. It's just a part of the job.