Right at this moment, I should be writing about three different articles that I have floating in my head. Really, there’s nothing to stop me. It’s 9:10pm and the rest of my family is in bed… asleep…probably. And therein lies the problem.
Before kids I loved commitment. If anything, I was over committed. At work, I took on duties that were not part of my job description. If I thought of something that would help my coworkers or the organization I worked for, I took it on and made sure it got done. In my free time, I was committed to training for sprint distance triathalons. And of course, I was committed completely and without competition in my love for my husband.
Now, “after” kids, I have a hard time with commitment. For small-scale commitments, I often find myself paralyzed by my fear of starting a task or project. The primary basis of this fear is interruption. I can’t stand to leave something undone. Being the owner of two toddlers means that life is lived in 15 minute segments. Anything that cannot be accomplished in that amount of time is a dangerous escapade of recklessness, most often resulting in wailing children, teed-off mommy, or both. Even within these 15 minute segments, I do not have control at least 50% of the time. I’m outnumbered. They know it. I know it. They know I know it and they rub it in by alternating who pushes my buttons in each 15 minute time segment. Tasks that are nearly un-accomplishable during daylight hours include washing dishes (hence my hatred for the task and the name of this blog), mopping floors, folding laundry, talking on the phone, showering, writing, and many more.
Now, certainly I do have occasions where I go an hour or more without being interrupted. Nap time, evenings, and the theoretically huge but perceptively small four-hour blocks of time when the kids are at parents day out and I am not working. The problem there is that my fear of interruption has become a bit irrational. Sure the kids usually sleep from 8pm to 2am. However, I still hesitate to start writing because someone might wake up, or my brain is not as sharp at the end of a long day as it should be for my best writing to come out, or if I do get a good draft written, how long will it be before I’ll be able to come back to it, and can I keep my train of thought?
My other commitment issues come from that time-honored scape-goat that all mommies are strapped to (willingly or un): guilt. As I mentioned, before kids I had three large-scale commitments: hubby, work, and hobby. Now, the kids, in all their innocent, dependent, defenseless glory, have taken that list and smashed it to bits. I feel guilty about where this lands hubby on the list, but I love him with all my heart, and feel that raising our children well is one of the best gifts I can give him. Work has nearly disappeared from the list, and the little amount of work I do makes me feel guilty for taking away from family time, although the extra cash helps a little as we’re currently paying two mortgages. Anything I do that gets anywhere near hobby-ish (including writing and fitness) immediately gets soaked in guilt, what with all the other commitments I am already not satisfying. On the other hand, I feel that I’ve earned the right to have some time to myself, and that truly, I need that time in order to be the best mom I can be.
So, I am struggling to strike a balance, to ascertain whether I have too many commitments on my list and what should be scribbled out. I need to reprogram my brain to work without fear of interruption, to utilize my “me” time to the fullest extent, since “me” time is what gets scribbled off the list first. I love my children to bits, but I don’t want to be one of those moms who lose themselves to the process of mothering. I’m curious as to how other moms do it, and how long it takes to learn this skill. I’ve been at it three years and counting. Isn’t there a class I can take?
Filed under: Mommyhood, Write & Blog · Tags: after kids, before kids, Cleaning, efficiency, Housekeeping, Kids, kids interrupting, mom guilt, nap time, relationships, SAHM, Stay at Home Mom, working with interruptions