I am a registered nurse by day, ok only two days, a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom the other five. I work this schedule to be with my children. Let me tell you, it’s damn hard. Working for 32 hours over the weekend non-stop I will be up until 1 AM on my working days just getting the work completed. Then I have to be up bright and early on Monday morning to care for, entertain, and teach my children. I am the sole caretaker four out of these five days.
My husband is home with us one day during the week. In that one day we try to tackle every possible thing we missed out on all the other days, but in reality only manage to get to one or two things on our list. On this one day we have to make appointments, do grocery shopping, and chores around the home that neither of us can get to when chasing after a fifteen month old who doesn’t like to nap.
On this one day together my husband and I are crabby, neither one of us ever really having a real break or getting enough quality sleep. We take it out on each other, but we know we do, and we try to make up for it when we can. We are both understanding and forgiving after the initial period of misdirected frustration. Sometimes we even fit in time to be with each other intimately…once every one to two months. But, hey.
When he gets home after work it’s already pretty late. We have dinners late. The kids go to bed late. We hang on to the time we are together as a family, trying to make it last a little longer. Two hours a day just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes I will think of something I wanted to tell my husband, a funny story or a dream that I had, but then days go by before I even have a window of time where we’re even able to really talk to one another. Other times I just forget entirely and never share with him after all. He falls asleep putting the children to bed several nights a week. That’s where he is right now, actually.
Sometimes I cry about it, other times I get focused and determined. You see, it’s not always going to be like this. We do this so that we can have the life that we do want. We are both working towards other things. Yes, I am a nurse only two days, but it would honestly be zero if I had the choice right now. It’s not my calling, but that story is for another post. I do the two because I need to now, but I don’t intend for it to be forever. I can at least be with my children five days a week and that is so important to me. My husband is working towards other things as well and my staying with this job for now if essential in helping him to succeed in his endeavors.
So, we sacrifice a lot, both for our children and our dreams. Sometimes I get frustrated because things aren’t happening as quickly as I would like them to. Sometimes a week will go by and all I’ll have managed to write was a sentence or two. Some days the baby is particularly crabby or the five year old is defiant and I lose my opportunities. I become exhausted and uninspired and question my sanity, but I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t give up my time with them to make our dreams come to fruition more quickly. There is no replacement for this moment here and now. The little grin on my sons face when I tell him Mommy loves him will never be exactly the same again, my daughter continues to get bigger every day. She has her first loose tooth; her own grin will be forever changed.
Being present with my children is my primary goal. They need me and my focus on them. They need to feel loved and seen and appreciated. I want them to grow to be happy, self-actualized people who live peaceful, balanced lives. The things I do today will affect them down the road as well. So, for now, I am content to be a novelist by night and indulge myself in these stolen moments, sacrificing a little more sleep so that I can fulfill my own need to write. Being a writer makes me a better mother and wife, because when I fulfill that need in me, then there is more of me that I am able to give them. It seems strange, but true. I think being a mother also makes me a better writer, because it forces me to look deeply within myself to question my authenticity and what is real for me. It is a balancing act, and I do fall, over and over again, but I get back up there on the wire. One of these days, I will walk all the way across.