Welcome to Interactive Diary Land! Dear Diary:

I am spending most of my time these days either dreaming about our beach vacation, scheduled for the week starting September 8th – and no, SA will be home so don’t even think about robbing our house, internet robby types – and wondering just when it is I will get myself organized to do anything besides keep the house free of ants and the things ants eat.

I give myself – and others – a free pass for the first year of a baby’s life. A free pass on whether or not your pants fit, whether or not you are being civil to strangers at the park or giving them stink eye, a free pass on whether or not you are interested in anything – at all – besides having a nice long shower. In my mind, though, when the year is up, all bets are off. I guess the year thing comes from our maternity leave in Canada, which can be a full year if one plays one’s cards right – and has a good hand dealt in the first place – which makes me wonder if American mothers have a shorter “free pass” schedule or whether, in fact, anyone else in the world has one or if I am just *so* lazy that I give myself as much time as I can to get my ship back up the right way and sailing in the right direction.

Today, Fresco is 16 months old. He runs fast, he yells loud, he climbs like a goat, he does not. lose. focus or loosen his grip and he will charm your pants off in a split second so you don’t notice him stealing your car keys. I think he is descended directly from those street kids in Rome who swarm you and play a sweet song on the recorder and take your camera while you’re fumbling for your change because how adorable are those ringlets, the poor child needs conditioner and who’s going to buy it for him? I love him to pieces, absolute pieces.

Yes, so he is 16 months old. My boat, though, my boat is still sitting half in, half out of the water. I just can’t seem to get – well, ahead is the word that springs to mind but I am discarding it because it sounds like I am working in a corporation. There is no “ahead,” anyway, there is only steady as she goes, only even keel, only recovering quickly from any bumps or storms. I can’t seem to get anything done.

One side of me says, yes, well, these are the most precious years of my precious blah blah blah and all I have to do is be here now and all will be well. OK. Some days that is cool. Just standing in the park saying, the children, look how they run and grow and skip and bounce off the cement. Astounding. Some days it takes 45 minutes to get our shoes on and the park is its own reward.

But other days, usually when I am feeling relatively even-keelish and things have been flowing more smoothly, I start to itch for more. More challenge and I am not referring to the children, they are plenty challenging. There is a list in my head that reads: get back to writing fiction, make a desk for myself in my huge bedroom, most of which is unused, paint a bathroom, really organize all the toys and toss half of them.

The crux of it is that the childrearing, housekeeping, day-to-day stuff feels endless and bottomless; after all, no matter how well / often / quickly I clean the kitchen, it will still be dirty tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. I know someday I will look back and think how fast it went but I think right now something in me needs a project with a beginning and an end, a project not doomed to be in constant progress (though this is the cool thing about kids, right, they’re always changing growing responding, they’re never “done.”) I need to start working on something and then finish it. Like needlepoint except not needlepoint because I’m not really interested in needlepoint.

(I see a red leaf on the tree outside our window. Fall is coming, yay!)

Please vote. Should I:

– haul out my first novel and edit it?
– start running like I said I was going to oh six months ago?
– focus on more focused blog / non fiction writing? (with some kind of deliverable attached)(yes I just said deliverable, suck it)
– make it my mission in life to eat 5 – 10 fruits and vegetables a day and ensure the children do the same?
– re-organize my bedroom?
– take up needlepoint?
– other? (but don’t say scrapbooking please.)(no offense to scrapbookers I just know this is not something I would find fulfilling and all those little bits and pieces of things and glue and AGH I’M PANICKING ALREADY!)

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18 Responses to Welcome to Interactive Diary Land! Dear Diary:

  1. jacqueline says:

    Well I get by on DIGITAL scrapbooking (no scissors and little bits of paper, glitter or glue here) and geocaching. I even found some geocaches very close to your home, including some in Queens Park.

    Somehow I don’t think either of those will appeal though. 🙂

    So I say anything where you can mark progress. Writing a novel or working toward a 10k run etc, would qualify. You really want to see that you are inching toward a goal – unlike wiping the kitchen countertop for the 40 billionth time this week…

  2. Beth says:

    My vote is for setting up a desk in your bedroom. It is an actual project with a beginning and an end. It will be there and stay there when you’re finished. And it will make the writing part easier. I say this with much selfishness. I love to read what you write and having a desk makes writing more official and attractive maybe.
    That’s my two cents which is what it is worth.

  3. Shelley says:

    My vote’s for running – that will ensure for you however much time you need for (1k/5k/10k/whatever) yourself… alsoplus? Didn’t you buy new runners? For me, at least, running lets me get rid of whatever I’m dealing with at the moment and return refreshed and ready (if a bit sweaty).

    Ultimately though… what do YOU want to do on the list?

  4. I also vote for the desk. That will clear more room in the storage locker for beer brewing stuff.

  5. Duncan says:

    re organize your bedroom

  6. Arwen says:

    Novel.

  7. Arwen says:

    And can I say? That sometimes, confronting another stack of dishes/load of laundry/dirty floor/peanut butter handprint, I think “Yes, that’s right, a woman’s work IS never done,” like it’s some kind of sacred secret roots of feminism cross-stitch sampler has thwacked itself into my brain.

    I’ve chosen this and have an equal and supportive partner and other things in my life. It works for me: kids, growing up so fast, being where my heart is, time for work in the evenings – but musing on life where you didn’t get to pick your husband and this never ending housework was it, every day, from now until you die – well. Makes me wanna run right out and suffrage.

  8. cheesefairy says:

    No. kidding.

  9. I vote for anything not child focused. The home-and-kids stuff is, as you note, endless. Find something fun for you.

  10. schmutzie says:

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  11. cat says:

    congrats on 5*friday; that is a great post.

    maybe…
    haul out first novel and edit it
    start running

    every other day

    (and eat some fruit or veggie after each)?

  12. t says:

    although i like the desk/novel ideas, the negative me can’t help but be pessimistic about such a thing. you go to bed early and the kids don’t go to sleep at 5, it seems impossible you will ever get much done, nor will you escape the craziness that is home (if yours is anything like mine!). i think whatever it is it should involve leaving the house. how about you and i hone our 8 ball and then become hustlers?

  13. kim says:

    I would selfishly like to say that you should work on the overhaul of your novel… mainly because I would like to read it one day.
    But I agree that it’s important to find something with an end in sight… to have that feeling of accomplishment.
    Good luck! Much more motivated than me… I am still working on the 1 year mat leave, so I’m entitled still, right?!?!

  14. Erin says:

    Desk, then writing. It’s quantifiable, with a beginning, middle and end (even if, with writing, those points of the process are a tad ambiguous at times).

    PS: I would really love to read your novel. Arwen’s novel too.

  15. sarah says:

    I, too, am waiting to read your novel and Arwen’s. A desk to write on sounds good to me. At that point in my 2nd’s life I did community theatre. And since wiring is your thing like acting is my thing, it sort of makes sense. But since when has anything you did had to make sense? What about that Swedish class you’ve been wanting to take for the last 18 years?

  16. miranda says:

    i vote for a combo.

    an immediate goal – go for a run today (or this week, whatever). one run. i tend to say “oh i’m going to go to the gym all the time – imagine this prebaby please and don’t look inside my pants for the size – and then because that’s a ridiculous goal for me i don’t and feel badly. but deciding to go once would be good. and then once again. and then once again, if you like it.

    a medium-range goal: the desk is good! not too large but not too quick, and something with a long-lasting appeal.

    and a long-range goal: like the novel – one that may get shelved from time to time, but there it is on your to-do list, as important as the daily stuff, even if it’s slowish going at times. hey, at least you’re not writing an iphone app or something that needs to be done quickly to remain relevant! 😉

    and i guess i vote for more blogging, because i’m still selfish and like to read your posts.

  17. An immediate goal, since fall is coming:

    Go back and find that red leaf and paint it black.

  18. eva says:

    Running is great. 10 fruits and vegetables a day? For toddlers? Good luck!

    And I too would read any book you wrote. I’d even get my book club to read it and then invite you to come along and self-consciously talk about it! There you go – that’s motivation, right?