Yes, I am still alive. I promise.
But between the book, the newsletter, the kids, the full-time job, and life, the blog has had to take a backseat to my sanity.
I’m trying to help myself understand that a certain amount of insanity is healthy–not just OK, but actually healthy. For instance, the craziness of raising kids keeps me young (except on those days that are so exhausting I go to bed feeling like I’m a thousand years old). The chaos of work keeps my mind active. The insanity of thinking I should write romance novels is a creative outlet. Even when I’m editing–or getting rejected–the book(s) are something I’m proud of, and am happy I’ve done.
But in larger doses, insanity is just that–insanity. I go through fits and starts with my self-imposed deadlines and ultimatums. I MUST make sure that the kids are in swimming lessons. I MUST be the soccer coach (this, despite the fact that I don’t know the first thing about soccer, other than “You kick the ball into the net.” Thankfully, that’s enough for five-year olds). I MUST be a good mother and make sure my children have the self-esteem I never did. I MUST be the best speech pathologist for the kids at work.
So when I encounter someone who says to me, “Oh, you work for the school district. Must be nice, working 9-3,” I want to scream. 8-5, with a half hour for lunch, that’s what I work. And don’t forget the paperwork on weekends. It infuriates me that my work is seen as so superfluous to the functioning of society that our governor wants me to take between a 5-10% pay cut.
Why am I working so hard, then?
And outside of work, I MUST write the church newsletter, despite the fact that I hate doing it, because if I don’t, the typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors will make me want to hurl. And once that’s done, I’ll write the book(s). After all, I MUST get the edits done so I can send the queries and partials out to the agents who have requested them. So I stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning trying to meet a deadline that doesn’t really exist.
I MUST clean the house. I MUST make healthy dinners (sadly, frozen pizza doesn’t seem to make the cut). I MUST make sure everyone eats their vegetables, exercises for 20 minutes a day (I know, it’s on the low side), and gets outside for a portion of their day.
Despite all these things I MUST do, here’s what my life is actually like. The house is a mess. Chaos reigns supreme. I get snotty emails about the newsletter, and then my husband gets thanked for doing it. People yell at me at work, and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why. My son has taken to pinching people at daycare because, in his words, he finds them “annoying.” So I do up behavior charts for him, write him social stories, and take away the TV. And fret that I’m awful at the one thing I wanted to succeed at more than I wanted anything in my life.
I worry that not only am I not a “good” mother, but not even a “good enough” mother. Because that’s all I’m shooting for now. Good enough. My goals aren’t lofty–I just want the kids to make it through high school without setting the house on fire.
Only right now, I’m starting to think it’s too bad they don’t have one of those pre-tax savings accounts for bail money.
So I’m going to make an attempt to minimize the chaos.
Insanity in small doses.