One of the things I really struggle with during the school holidays is the distraction/diversion/obstruction to my work.
See, I really, really LOVE what I do.
Part of it, absolutely, is doing that thing I am so intensely passionate and compassionate about. That thing I have little to no control over and that I just wake up motivated and driven to do.
That thing that is my “calling” according to some.
The other thing I do, that few people know I do, is write for others. Ghost write. Freelance. Et cetera.
Writing, for me, is my love, my sanity, my saviour. So if, for whatever reason, I’m not working on my own stuff, I’m ‘saved’ by writing for others. I just am. And I just do. Write.
I love it.
When I am in a circumstance where I’m not actually writing, planning what to write, scheduling what I’m writing, or scribbling down words that I will later read back on and not be able to decipher, or when I’m not working on those things I’m passionate about, then my mind is free.
And when it is free, it conjures up so many, many, many more ideas and things to write about.
Which means I have a world of words swirling around inside my head and approximately zero outlet.
It’s a little like this, really …
This may also explain why sometimes talking to me is like talking to a squirrel. I get it. I’m sorry.
It is when I am prevented, for whatever reason, from partaking in one of my loves, that I experience what I have chosen to refer to as The Nothing.
I’m not going to go all “I love my kids, but …” because, quite frankly, I loathe that pre-facing terminology.
I do choose, quite often actually, to spend time with my kids, and whilst I’m doing so, I am thoroughly enjoying ever moment of it (ok, maybe not thoroughly nor enjoying, it is mostly dependant on their behaviour and how soon I can choose not to be bothered by it, really …).
In school holidays, however, I have them thrust upon me 24/7, sometimes being adorable, other times being complete arsefaces. Sometimes we do stuff together, and sometimes we need a break from each other.
What I enjoy about my school term days is the quiet time and space I am afforded to do what I love.
When they are here all the time, there is constant noise. Not all bad, not all good. Sometimes it is the barely audible background noise of a TV, and other times it is the screaming, full on, sibling rivalry that makes me want to punch someone.
When I admit defeat and accept I cannot do my love, my passion, my work for that moment, I experiencing that Free Mind moment, and my mind goes into all manner of creativity and idea producing and I wind up … overwhelmed.
I do what I can with this time; I wash and yell at other people to iron.
I transferred hundred year old photos from a deteriorating photo album to a brand new, picture preservation album.
I cleaned and tidies, I organised and did all kinds of houseworky stuff.
I took various children to various places; the aquarium, the beach … places you take kids to during school holidays. We watched movies and played games.
And it is doing these things on a consistent level that makes me feel … Nothing.
I realise I don’t put much stead in my Mothering role. I don’t perceive it as some kind of reverence, or something to be held in exceptionally high regard. I don’t view it as “the most important/hard job in the world” and I don’t believe I’m particularly special, exceptional, or important in this role.
I just don’t.
Partly because I am one of some several million – billion, actually – women who do the very same things on a daily basis.
I’m not alone, I’m not doing anything completely remarkable, although I do fully appreciate that I am extremely important for the survival and wellbeing of at least three people. In that role, I hope that I have some influence in some level of “paying it forward” and that my “work” with these three impacts positively and is life-changing or better still, world changing, sometime in the future.
I’m not going to hold my breath on it, though, because I am not my children and my children are not me and they will do what they do. For now, I will do my best.
And I will do what billions of other women the world over because it is “just what is done” when you have children; you cook, you clean, you do the washing and ignore the ironing. You take the kids to nice places and listen to them complain about it and try not to lose your shit. You put up with sibling fights and constant noise and finding all the cheese you had purchased for the lasagne has been eaten by the teenager who cannot control his desire to eat.
Maybe I’m wrong in not revering motherhood, as it appears a vast majority of mothers, at least those on parenting websites in the Internet do. I just cannot bring myself to feel I have achieved great things, mind changing, life changing, world changing things when I do mundane tasks that billions of others do, all over the world, day in and day out.
I’m not unique, none of us are that unique.
This does not, by any means, mean I don’t appreciate the effort that goes into parenting, nor that I am judging or undermining those that do see it as something worthy of putting on a pedestal.
For me, personally, making a bed is not an achievement worth noting, nor worth gloating about. To be fair, I don’t actually make beds, so I’m not sure if it feels like an achievement or not.
I also fully understand and feel incredible compassion for those whom making the bed is a huge achievement. I have been in that place, where just getting your underpants on in vaguely the right way (inside out is considered ‘right’, back to front, not so much) and on before your jeans is the most difficult of tasks, and the most bringing of joy when you get it!
I have been in the place where making two cups of instant coffee has gone horribly wrong, and sent me into the foetal position. The only thing stopping me from slitting my wrists at the time, so overcome with beliefs of incompetence and uselessness in the moment, was that I had stupidly forgotten to grab the most suitable of implements on my way down the floor.
Getting up was far too difficult.
I get it, and I’m not undermining any of those achievements and successes.
I’m not dismissing that feeling of elation you feel when you can manage to put a teaspoon of instant coffee into one cup, then follow it up with a second teaspoon and second cup – and get it right!
For me, where I am, right now, that washing, cooking, cleaning, photo sorting … for me, that leaves me feeling empty. Like I’m Nothing. Like I have done Nothing.
For me, where I am, right now, is catching up on all the crazy my brain conjured up, sifting through the multiple post it notes covered in scribble, and devouring as much writing; my own and that requested by others, and satisfying my Soul.
This joy and fulfilment allows me to choose the time with my kids, and being absolutely present when I do, and the mundanity and ‘just’ requirements of living in a household of five, and smiling whilst I do so.
For me, the ability to embark upon that which fulfils me – and ALL of those things do – and for which I am so revoltingly grateful that I am currently in a position to embark upon them, that’s when I feel Something. That I am Something.