Writing Keeps Me Honest. Parenting, too.

17 May

ArrowI thought about closing my blog down for a few weeks – saying “Closed for Repairs.” Internal repairs. External repairs. Repairs. There are so many things competing for my time.

Then I was packing my work bag – After my daughter had thrown a complete fit because I dripped water on a very important piece of paper she left lying in the middle of her bedroom floor – After I failed to keep my scowls and growls to myself – After I stripped the beds, threw sheets into the washer, and mopped the bathroom floor – the bathroom where the door knob had fallen off during a play-date the day before.

I was pulling papers out of my work bag, throwing them away, gathering all our bills into a rubber band to pay online at lunchtime because lunchtime in the office I share with other people is the closest I have lately to alone-time and for some reason I feel that paying bills requires this: Alone-time.

So there I was fuming, and I pulled out a set of stickers – those random stickers the school photographer sends home to up-sell families on stuff – those stickers that last Β year or the year before were plastic bookmarks instead – those stickers you get whether you want them or not but if you don’t send them back to school the next day intact, you have to pay for them. Those stickers. I held my daughter’s Fall 2012 picture-on-a-sticker in my hand.

She and my partner had just left for school and the house was strangely quiet. I held my daughter’s picture in my hand and I knew that I was going to have to make it work – this blogging, writing, parenting, everyday living thing. I just knew.

See, I don’t know how other moms find time to write and make it funny. Or poignant. Or useful. Entertaining. Something someone else may want to read. I really don’t. I don’t know how they do this and raise their children into gentle loving people, too. And cook. And keep the house sparkly clean. And jog maybe? Some moms do that. I’ve seen them. But I don’t know how they do it. All that, and work every day for a paycheck, too? Impossible. Right? There is so much evidence out there to the contrary – so many mom bloggers having it all, or looking like they do anyway. These moms are not me.

I am not that mom.

I find parenting a tween hard. Really hard. You get all this hype about the Terrible Twos – which for us were idyllic really, and I thought my life as a mom was charmed – and you hear horror stories about the teenage years. But tweens? Angelic, right?

Here’s the deal:

One minute, my darling daughter is on my lap kissing my hand and holding it against her cheek, radiating love from every pore of her body.

The next, she’s screeching that I don’t understand her, that no one understands her, that it’s not fair when she’s been nice to me all day and it’s not her fault. She’s slamming doors and stomping out of sight because I suggested that writing “1/2” as the answer for twelve consecutive math problems was not showing her best effort.

When she’s calm, we talk with her about big feelings, about how to express them without hurting anyone.

When she’s not, her big feelings bring out ours. I suppose it happens this way in every house along the block, but I only live in this one.

I remember stomping down the hallway hundreds of times in my parents’ house, slamming my bedroom door, turning the music up loud, but I don’t remember starting this young. I know for sure my mother never blogged about it.

So I thought about shutting this blog down today, saying, “Closed for repairs” or just “Closed.” I still might; I may need to. But not today.

I stood there with my little girl’s picture in my hand and I stuck it to the inside cover of my journal – because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past nine years watching my baby grow, it’s this: When I focus on her, eventually I know what to do. Because – shhhhhh! – don’t tell her – but when it comes down to it, for better or for worse, my little girl’s raising me, too.

So I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but looking at her, I know I must write every week to keep myself sane. To be the best mom I can be. To untangle the knots of the week gone by. To find balance. To remain honest.

And maybe sometimes: To find out if any one of you has been here, too.

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16 Responses to “Writing Keeps Me Honest. Parenting, too.”

  1. Tracy Jensen (@chimomwriter) May 17, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    I’ve posted once on my blog this week. It makes me cranky, when I don’t find the time to write. But the time seems to be hiding from me, too, lately. I always assume it’ll slow down “next week.” Write when you can. We’ll be here. xo

    • rrp69 May 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

      Cranky – yes – I feel SO cranky when I don’t write.

      Yet I spend all this energy pondering what’s share-able in such a public sphere – and then I read your blog and I think: Wow. The courage you show in telling life as it is, and the insights you offer in the telling… for me to support my friends (or mySELF) through similar experiences… and I think Yes, this sharing, this telling is worthwhile and I want to be part of it. So. Thank you for being out here to talk to!

  2. Melisa May 17, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    What Tracy said! Nobody “has it all”, contrary to how some might make it look. I have a big thing about “buckets”, ever since a friend told me that I should look at all of the areas of my life as different buckets. If I try to carry too many at once, it becomes awkward, difficult, and some water might get spilled. Every now and then I have to put a bucket down in order to balance out the others, and it’s up to me whether I want to pick that bucket up again at some point or let it go. (Obviously the ones I have the option on picking it up again are not MAJOR buckets. πŸ™‚ ) Ever since I started looking at my life like that, it seems easier to check myself than before. If you need to stop writing for a couple weeks (or however long), you don’t need to announce it: just do it because you have to find whatever works for YOU. But like Tracy said, I’ll be here too. I love your writing. And I adore you.

    • rrp69 May 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      “Buckets” – I like it. Such good advice. Thank you. It feels good to hear you like my writing at a time when I feel so all-over-the-place with it. And worth mentioning – I adore you, too!

  3. traceybecker May 17, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Buckets, yes. Or juggling, like I wrote about a few weeks ago. I can juggle scarves, not balls.

    It made more sense in my post. Trust me: it was poignant. πŸ˜‰ Just like this post was. And I like the idea of calling tantrums “big feelings.”

    • rrp69 May 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      Ooooo it makes me so happy to hear your response to “big feelings” πŸ™‚ It sort of takes the sting out of it in our house, when we can all see it that way. Now I have to go check out your post on juggling!

  4. outrunning the storm May 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    You know, I have a new theory I’m tossing around in my head. What if our mom’s generation *did* blog about us? What if there really was this record out there following them through time as they struggled in the all to human ways that we all do to love us and be the best parents they could and still be whole human beings. Imagine what a gift that really would be to us to have that insight. just my thought for today.

    • rrp69 May 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Can I *LOVE* your comment? Where’s the button for that?!? I think that would be very much a gift today.

  5. Janine Huldie May 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Balance is something I struggle with all the time. I am a stay at home, who blogs daily and also does web design, too. Many days I feel exactly as you described though and I thank you for linking this up today, because I really could relate. And do hope you link up with us again in the future!!

    • rrp69 May 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

      Thank you! I was stunned – in a happy good way – to see your theme – and fully plan to check y’all out again. So glad to hear something here resonated with you today.

  6. Considerer May 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    This is a very cool FTSF post. I love your honesty – thanks πŸ™‚

    • rrp69 May 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks! I look forward to doing another FTSF at some point – what a great way to get the creativity going, and see how different people delve into the same theme.

  7. Kristi Campbell May 25, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    I love this. I love that you admit that you’re daughter’s raising you, too. I also think most bloggers have a really hard time finding balance – I know I do. I recently started working part time and am continually shocked at what giving them 20 hours of my week has done to the time I have to blog. Great post!

    • rrp69 May 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

      Balance! For awhile there, I felt it – I tasted it – I reveled in it – and then the fulcrum shifted and here I am again. I imagine you know what I mean. Hang in there with the job – it’s a HUGE life change – I hope you are patient with yourself as you and your family adjust.

  8. debweeks May 26, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I too look at moms who “do it all” and “do it all” with such great ease wondering how they get it done. Then I realize that outward appearances don’t always tell the true story. Just because someone looks like they have it all together doesn’t necessarily mean they do. I don’t have it all together by any means, yet I have friends who tell me they wish they could do everything I seem to get done in a day. It’s all a matter of perspective. It’s the grass is greener in their yard syndrome. I can only be me and do the best with what I’ve got. I made the decision years ago that I would continue to blog no matter what. My blog is a glimpse into our lives. It’s a story that my kids and grandkids can carry with them. It’s part of their history and for two of my kids who are missing a part of their history due to adoption, it’s a little thing I can give back to them. Blogging is a commitment I have made, but we all have to decide for ourselves what’s important. If you should decide to let your blog go for a time, I’ll be here waiting to read again. If you should decide to let it go permanently, I’ll be disappointed, but will certainly understand.

    • rrp69 May 30, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Thank you! I really appreciate your comment today. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Because blogging keeps me sane – and I know I need my head in the game, now especially, but the more complicated this parenting gig becomes, the more – shall we say – “distractable” I become. Yet at the same time, tomorrow is the last day of school and a few days later, my girl’s off to Camp Grandma, and there are things to DO that don’t involve pens and typing fingers. So what’s avoidance distraction and what’s just life? Here’s my conundrum.

      Anyhow, I appreciate hearing from you – and know what you mean about your girls and their missing history. How lovely that they have your blog to come back to as they grow.

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