Some days when I sit down to write, I get stuck and wonder if I really have anything important to say. I try to keep at it anyway, now that I’ve committed to keeping a blog, mainly because I know I’m happier when I’m writing than when I’m not writing. I love the way it helps me to put my feelings and experiences in perspective, and to find balance between my emotions and impulses – and the bigger picture of my life and my family. I also love connecting with people: relating experiences, sharing ideas, and learning not to take myself so seriously.
When I get down to the task, though, my brain doesn’t always want to cooperate. Writing has a very important place in my life – and in my journey through motherhood – but sometimes, it just feels like so much work! Which, I recognize, is not actually that different from motherhood itself.
I’ve been able to embrace most of it, highs and lows. Becoming a mother has brought so many blessings into my life. It’s made me realize I’m a lot stronger than I imagined I could be, from our struggle with infertility to a high-risk pregnancy and a pre-term birth. I’ve learned to have a little faith for the first time in my life: in myself and in general. Four-and-a-half years into raising twin girls, I feel more comfortable being me than I ever have, and I love the little world we’ve established as a family.
And yet, at times I’ve never felt more vulnerable, like my shortcomings and failures overshadow everything else.
Most recently, H was sick this week with a fever and upset stomach. Dealing with intestinal distress is pretty near the top of my Can’t-Do List. I could handle wearing spit-up or washing it out of my hair for the first year of the girls’ lives, but now when one of them says, “My tummy hurts!” I panic. My heart races, and I go into this insane, Lysol-everything-in-sight mode, and I lose sleep worrying about who will get it next and when. How maternal, right? My husband is completely un-phased by this, and effortlessly embraces the hugging and comforting and dreadful clean-up that comes with such an illness. I’m grateful for his ability to do this, but it makes me feel like a jerk. I did my best, and I want to be better, but it definitely makes me feel like less of a mother. Especially when I’m holding H and she says to me, “If you get a fever, I’ll snuggle you ALL day.”
I know there will be no shortage of reminders that I’m a work-in-progress as a mother – which is much harder to accept than being one as a writer.
When the girls fight with each other relentlessly or they’ve each been in time-out twice before 8 AM, I wonder what I’m doing wrong. When I just need some time to myself, or I’m trying to get something done while they show me something for the tenth time in as many minutes, I’m afraid I’m not giving them enough attention. There’s no end to the list of things that stick in my mind. Somehow motherhood keeps me in check, no matter how good I might have felt the day – or the minute – before. And I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’m in over my head. Stuck.
One of the best things about writing is that when I stop over-thinking and actually write, eventually, a piece comes together and falls into place. With two little people depending on me, I have to trust that the same thing will happen with motherhood – that with love and patience, commitment and good intentions, somehow, we’ll all be okay.