I’m creatively constipated. My husband reminds me that I have a bunch of stuff swirling in my head. “Why don’t you just write on one of those ideas?” he asks as I sulk about not developing my blog more. But for some reason I can’t get them out. I’m not even sure if it’s stress or exhaustion or laziness or genuine writer’s block or just classic insecurity.
You see, I have to admit, I have started blogs in my head while standing in line at Wal-Mart or driving in the car or lying awake at night. Before I have a chance to make it to the computer, the doubts creep in:
“Who cares what I have to say.” “Hey, lady, you don’t have time to write blogs — you don’t even pluck your unibrow anymore.” “That’s not as funny as it sounded when your inner voice said it.” “You really suck at this.” “Oh, this would be such a good blog post if my reader was interested.” “You make too many typos.” “You’re going to piss somebody off with that blog post.” “Oh, forget it. It’s not worth your time. Just go sweep the floor covered with all the organic Puffs that baby dropped this morning.”
And with that, I’ve talked myself out of writing anything, blaming my desire to stream another episode of Downton Abbey as my excuse for not pounding out a post on a blog I think isn’t all that followed anyway.
Now granted, it isn’t like I only back down because I get cold feet or a tired muse. I really don’t have a lot of real time to mull over deep, profound, well-researched posts on controversial topics — you know the juicy stuff that sends me into long PSAs to my husband about how I plan to show up at Victoria’s Secret and breastfeed my baby without a hooter hider after hearing a nursing mom was banned from the slutty store (my husband is sure he will be bailing me out from jail before he dies, and I can’t say I necessarily disagree with him).
It takes a long time to write some blogs, which is why I often go weeks in between posts — I’m often pulled away by a screaming 3-year-old who has emerged from the bathroom sans underpants or two boys who haves shaved some patches of hair off their heads after finding a razor in the shower. “I wanted my head to be cool under my bike helmet,” said my 6-year-old as he defended his choice.
Never mind the baby who is protesting naps, has taken to using my nose as a teething ring, and is sending me into daily panic attacks as I remove everything from cat food to granola bar wrappers from the back of his throat. I’m getting very good at those finger sweeps. Yeah, I know, I should sweep the floor, but…
I am pulled in several different directions at once from piles of dishes to piles of laundry to piles of bills, never quite finishing anything I start thanks to a litany of distractions.
To give you an example, there are about nine tabs open on my computer as we speak. I was looking up astronomy lessons for the boys earlier but had to break away because the baby got stuck trying to stand up under the chair whilst he gagged on some old broccoli. I had Craigslist open because I was trying to list some items to sell for babysitting money so I could potentially go somewhere without children, but then one of those children started trying to pull the lips of another one of those children off his face, so I had to break away to deal with that.
I have my blog tab open, but we know how that’s going. I had two presentations open. I had a couple emails open, including one I started writing to my husband, complaining that I was totally alone, sitting in my noisy home with kids whining and cats barfing and my mind racing with assumptions that everyone is buddied up and getting together for some quality
non-Becky time socialization while I sit at home and scrape dried banana off my jeans.
Oh, what my poor husband has to endure when I get gloomy and caught up in Ally McBeal mental trips about feeling friendless and lacking babysitting options and having sons who use my breast pump as a pretend gun.
I try to feel good about the fact that I got a shower in and made it to the chiropractor for a much-needed adjustment, and then survived a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s where my three oldest ram their individual carts into, well, everything. But then I get home and stare at the mess and think, “I plucked my grays for this?!”
There are dinners that need to be made and homeschool lessons that need to be planned. There are radio show segments and presentations that need to be prepared for. And right now, there is house hunting amidst a ticking clock.
And it’s really loud. It’s just really loud in my home… and in my mind!
And of course, every time my 3-year-old succumbs to another melodramatic meltdown or my sons barely do anything but drool over their math books while I spend an hour trying to get the baby down for a nap, I am sure I’m neglecting my kids. I only emerge so I can snap at them over the milk left out on the kitchen floor or to tell one of them to get his hands out of his pants.
I know I need to speak more lovingly and gently. I need to try the expressionless face and the calm speech. I need to just breathe. Because there are days when I’m wondering, “Have I inhaled any oxygen recently?”
My kids are so… present and electron-like — just bouncing all over and causing mini destructions in their wake, and I have to yell just to get anyone to hear my voice. I’m not even mad about anything, but nobody hears me speaking! “IS THIS THING ON? AM I TALKING IN A CONE OF SILENCE RIGHT NOW? WHY DOES NOBODY HEAR ME!!!!”
Oh, and then it hits me. Oh, God, you must feel this way sometimes, desperately trying to get through to anyone who will listen but running up against deaf ears. You must hope that someone will invite you to be a part of their group. You must want to quiet all the clanging cymbals that have drowned out Love’s voice. You must think our atomic-like anxiety is gruesome and spastic and completely irrational. You must wonder when we — when I — will just calm down and focus… on You.
You keep reaching out… or should I say reaching in? You are both the source and the aspiration of my being. You are both my first line of defense and my final refuge. You designed the beauty of womanhood and so You are where my maternal heart must be fixed.
Thankfully, even as You’re ignored, You don’t ignore. You hear me. You see me. You know me. And when I stop and just welcome you into those moments — whether it’s a feeling-sorry-for-myself moment, or a mad moment, or an overwhelmed moment — you are there to offer peace and guidance.
Motherhood. Is. Hard. despite what a fruit loop named Amy Glass says about it.
So I must say, that after a day of moping and feeling a little frazzled, after a day of staring in the mirror and not being all that impressed, after a day of hamster-wheeling through the chores and childcare, after a day of trying desperately to name something I accomplished on my to-do list (yeah, I called the City of Chandler and got a bulk trash pick-up scheduled — woo-hoo!) or something I just do well in general (it’s not meal-planning or organizing or keeping a clean house in case you’re wondering), I can actually say I’m at peace.
I am where I am supposed to be, under-developed blog and all. Those bundles of chaos snuggled up in their beds are part of my daily purgation, and they need me! Dare I say that I am “working out my salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12-13) through the help of several peanut-butter-smeared faces? They are demanding more from me than I can give, tapping a well that would have long ago dried up if I were to rely only on my own strength… and frontal lobe.
So I turn to my Creator and beg for Him to take my dirty, finite water and transform it into an unending flow of life-giving wine — the kind that will quench my thirst and the thirst of four beautiful gifts who depend on me to be better than I am so I can become who they deserve: a mommy whose well runneth over.
- Dancing in the Minefields
- Out of the Mouths of Babes — humility edition