Tired. Long week. The children’s disparate reactions to Mrs. Dave’s absence are exhausting. I’m doing the thing where I run headlong into my own limitations, again. I’m finding it irritating. So, per the Irreverend’s advice, I’m lowering my expectations.
I do not have it in me at this time to write a novel while Mrs. Dave is elsewhere. I do not have the opportunity to craft bedframes for the littles, as we planned. I do not have the ability to do everything I’d wanted. Like I said: frustrated and irritating.
That said. I’m learning (and re-learning *sigh*) things about myself that I’ll be able to apply to my writing. Oh, I should note, I haven’t had nearly as much time to dig into Fiore as I’d like, so just let me digress a bit into the writing life and application sphere. This stuff is hard. And while my respected (and successful: far more successful than I) colleagues maintain that in order to do well at writing (at anything) you have to make it a priority.
And I’ll be frank: I’ve not been making art a priority. It hurts too much. It’s blood hard to do, when I’m worn out caring for two small children with hearts broken by their mother’s absence. It’s hard enough to do while everything is ticking along smoothly, but the military life is anything but smooth. So I’ve been falling down.
But I’m working with a small business consultant on some things, and one of those – tangentially – is the required shift in thinking to move from being a passenger in my own life, to becoming the captain of the vessel. Specifically, thinking like an economist. And economics isn’t money (that’s finance) it’s the study of resource allocation. Right now, all my resources are going toward parenting the Barbarian Horde.
What little I have left over is eaten up by keeping myself more or less healthy. On that front, I’m actually doing better than I have been. Kinda. Look, it’s complicated. Do I spend an hour after getting the kids down late sleeping, or doing the dishes in the sink so the morning sucks less? Do I read a thing I’ve been looking forward to for a week, or do something that needs doing so I don’t lose my mind? What’s the greater priority?
As I said, I’m doing better. I got a decent amount of sleep last night, which was nice. I’m eating more, which is one of those subtle things. Also, making sure to drink more water (even more subtle than being chronically under-fueled). And the other one is the exercise piece. Something about my wiring requires that engage in a minimum level of physical activity (I’d argue the same is true about other people, but I’m other people). Just in order to feel not-bad. This is despite my natural tendency toward sloth. If I go too long, my mood dips, which is a poor thing in someone with a tendency toward depression.
I’ve been getting used to little activities. I do push-ups most morning upon getting up. It gets the blood flowing, and works the whole body if you do it right (the key is flexing the quads and glutes). I’ve also been getting used to my Indian clubs. The movements aren’t completely natural, yet, but the weight are light enough to get high reps in, which conditions my muscles to get ready for higher loads. Those are within my limitations. I can do that stuff. I also don’t have to have a clean lifting space. Which I don’t have, at the moment.
As to the title, while I don’t feel like I’ve landed, I’m making some upward progress. Falling is all down. And I’m still telling Pretend Story every night. Tonight, the heroes have to steal an amulet from the good king to save the kingdom. Should be interesting. And this week I’ll be digging into the curriculum, and be able to give you a precis on Fiore’s footwork. Until then, give yourself a little space when you hit your limits. When you bounce off those walls, take a step back, and maybe a sit down, instead of shaking it off and charging right back in.
It’s hard enough to do while everything is ticking along smoothly, but the military life is anything but smooth. So I’ve been falling down.
Hang in there, fellow military spouse! And I’m looking forward to being able to allocate resources towards my improvement of health someday, versus ‘just getting enough spoons to make it through the day.’ And to do the latter I’ve enforced on myself a strict bedtime, during which the littlest one is happily asleep and stays so until the next day. Most nights anyway. There are still some nights that she wakes, and wants to play and cuddle, despite attempts to get her to settle down…
I just wish the stories wouldn’t come JUST as I’m about to sink into slumber, or flee once I get pen and paper to scribble notes down, but I recognize the exhaustion there. So. Small steps. Prioritize. Budgeting.
If anyone had actually convinced me how much work, time, energy and emotions went into raising children, I’m not not at all sure I would have dared.
From experience, make a date with yourself. Mine was Tuesday mornings at the library, reading science magazines. This was pre-internet. And I really looked forward to it. I didn’t get a lot of writing done, in those early years, but I did a lot of volunteer work at school, in scouts, even in local politics. As the kids got older, the writing started picking up, and I found I had a huge raft of new experiences to use with my character building.
Words on paper is only one metric of your growth as a writer. An important one, mind you, but one that improves with life experience as well as writing experience.
Hang in there. It gets better.
take care of yourself
Don’t forget the shorts! Short stories keep you going, give valuable practice, and prepare you by sharpening your craft.
I really needed this. I’m also not accomplishing as much as I’d like, given I broke my leg last Tuesday (a week ago). Not allowed to bear weight on it, stuck in a chair too often. I write better when I can pace around during it.
Also, husband is around for another week or so, which helps HUGELY with food and such. By next Monday, I’ll know whether I can manage driving a car (probably not for another week or so). Once I’m mobile, he’s back to full-bore working, which also gives me some breathing room around home.
Which I plan to use to get back to my book.
And it’s not even like you can count on the knowledge being useful in writing later. . . .
I read a thing once where a daycare lady talked about how it wasn’t that hard. I wanted to find her and put her head through the wall she bragged of letting the kids color on. Of course it wasn’t that hard *for her*… parents came and got their kids and she had the entire evening and through the night without *vigilance*. Because that’s what gets you and it never ends, not even for a moment, at least until they’re well beyond toddler. Constant vigilance is exhausting.
And it’s super easy to feel like you’re not really doing that much so why are you exhausted? It’s because even on your breaks, even through naps, even in the middle of the night, you’re *on*.
Did she lose her customer base later on, or were the parents too desperate to fire someone who clearly held them in contempt?
She may have been a great day care provider. It was just the notion that she actually understood what it was like to have overwatch for 24 hours, 7 days, without end, that I took exception to.