~ Sometimes I feel like my brain is spinning at Mach 2 with ideas and questions and little phrases and snippets of poetry that have to be put down somewhere - something like a cerebral springtime. I'm incredibly thankful for the natural boundaries of family, housework, the demands of relationship, to draw me back and settle me. The best days are when I give the whirlwind its allotment of time and then set it to simmer (forgive the mixed metaphor, k?) while I get on with laundry and sandwich- making and carpooling and kid-loving.
I am thoroughly enjoying the luxury of an alloted writing time, but I can tell you this: no way this kind of writing was happening when I had all my kids at home. Mothers take heart. I know there are women out there who homeschool and keep house and write/paint/dance/save the world all at the same time, but I promise you that somewhere behind the scenes someone is picking up the slack (or they're not, and something big is being sacrificed.) Most of the writers I know with families at home have housekeepers or tutors or a husband that works from home or a grandmother that lives next door or something and most of the time they have more than one of those things available to them. No one can do it all. And if you are looking in and it seems like they do it all, I assure you, you just don't know the whole story.
I think it's a terribly hard thing for modern women to balance the pressures coming at them from all sides. Even the christian world, who has championed a woman's right to stay home with her family and told her that is a worthy use of her time and effort, is complicit in this. The praise and esteem for simple motherhood begins to feel pretty shallow when you discover the community spotlight continually pointed at women who have families at home that they care for and raise up in the way of God AND speak at conferences and publish books and run world-wide charity organizations, etc. Don't feel badly, momma. She just works harder than you. Ugh.
Don't misunderstand me. I'm not criticizing anything except the double standard, the subtle messages we give women. You cannot have it all. Everything costs. Don't be ashamed of saying that the writing career or the business opportunity or whatever, is too expensive right now. Don't be ashamed of spending yourself on mothering. Can I say that again? Don't be ashamed of spending yourself on mothering. And if you are out saving the world and raising a family at the same time, well, be honest about what that looks like, k? We won't think any less of you for hiring someone to watch the kids for four hours a day. Most likely we'll feel relief and then we can cheer you on without that big rock of guilt sitting in our throats.
~ Speaking of mothering, I found a junco's nest this week hidden in the bushes along the driveway. Now that I know it's there I've spent the whole week watching the little couple trade duties at the nest, one or the other of them on guard at all times. Yesterday, I went out to the car and found St. George, the one year old kitten, underneath, crouched in the dirt directly opposite the nest, staring hard at that momma bird. She never even flinched. I love her.
I rigged up a little bit of fencing to cover the area around the nest, something with big enough holes for a momma bird but too small for a curious cat. I hope Mrs. Junco doesn't mind. I'm invested now. I can see her from the window, flying in and out of the fence grate. I'm pretty sure she likes it.
~ I'm thinking about being all brazen and entering this. When I started posting poems I never thought about submitting them anywhere, but it turns out that publishing them on the blog is considered "published" work and most places want "unpublished" contributions, so I'm writing fast and furious to come up with something good that hasn't seen the light of day anywhere. It's terrifying. And awesome. And exhausting.
All my poetry writing at home has had unforseen paybacks. The youngest boy has suddenly been trying his hand at it. He's not exactly the poetry "type" as he would say, so I'm secretly, wildly, excited about this, though outwardly, I'm all like, "Oh yeah? That's nice." He turned around once and caught me doing a fist pump, but I played it off. I introduced him to Billy Collins and we laughed so hard he was inspired to rewrite all the sappy love poems he could find. He's currently at work on an ode to the porcelain toilet. I'm a fan.
~ Lastly, we mailed out wedding invitations this week. Wedding. Invitations. People. As in, my child is getting married and other people will see it happen, which makes it really real. Really real. Really.
~ Well, the new poet-in-residence wants to go to the library, so I guess it's time to wrap this up.
Thanks for being wonderful and always coming by to read.