It's Friday, the sun is shining, there is a crisp breeze in the air and although my body is tired from our action-packed week, I feel energized and hopeful. These past two weeks have been amazing. I will be honest, this past year with the pregnancy and Mr. Level-Headed's new job were really tough on me - mentally, physically and spiritually. I felt stretched beyond my abilities, chasing a toddler and growing another baby in my aging body. With Mr. Level-Headed finished his MBA-CMA and switching careers from real estate to the corporate world of JDI, we were suddenly living on a fixed income for the first time in our married life, and as nice as it is to have a consistent paycheck rolling in and medical insurance, it is very stressful trying to make that paycheck stretch far enough to provide for our family, and to be honest, it does not stretch far enough. I felt like I never had enough energy, never enough money and never enough time to be successful at managing and mothering a family of seven. Feeling physically tired and being unable to keep up with all the demands of our busy household left me doubting myself, my abilities, and my sanity. Throughout the day, I would beat myself up with thoughts like: what have I done? why did I think I could just quit work and have more babies? why do I do these foolish things?
Gradually, these negative thoughts chipped away at me and I started to believe everything I was telling myself. No, you cannot do this. You were crazy to think you could start over. You are not responsible enough, disciplined enough, caring enough or patient enough to be a mom of five. I stopped writing, I stopped dreaming and I stopped being me - that girl who runs head first into life and hopes for the best, who has great big ideas and chases after them, who does crazy things just for the heck of it and who believes she can do anything. I had suddenly become fearful.
So, what has changed? Why have I woken up each morning for the past two weeks feeling energized and hopeful? We are still living off an entry-level paycheck, I am still an older mama with a large herd of munchkins and I am still dreadfully behind on the laundry and the housecleaning, but I am writing again. I am consistently writing again, and as crazy as that sounds, it has changed everything.
I had an epiphany the other day while reading the book Bernadette, Where are You?. It is a very funny but very insightful book about a woman who loses herself in the demands of caring for her family and who eventually goes crazy because of it. There was a line in the book that spoke volumes to me: "Bernadette is an artist and if she does not create, she will become a menace to society". No, I am not a menace to society. . .yet . . . but I am also not an artist like Bernadette, who was an architectural genius, but this line struck a chord with me because I am a writer. I create with words, and even though this silly little blog is not popular enough to make any money for me or polished enough for me to consider myself a true artist, it is a creative space that I have carved out for myself. It is where I come to create the stories of things that matter most to me, the everyday adventures of my family, and it is where I come to feel alive and to reconnect with myself after spending the majority of my day engulfed in the mundane but very challenging demands of raising a family. I love being a mom! I love my children and my husband, but I also love writing and in order to be best the mom and wife I can be, I now recognize I also need to be the best writer I can be.
What gifts do you have? What makes you feel alive?
I would love to hear from you.