Mom Guilt; with Guest Blogger Shawna Falvey
The dry, generic voice over the podium reached Adriana’s eardrum's.
“Please remember, Voting hours are today between Noon and Midnight. If your votes are not in, your calculated tax income will be used at the Governments Discretion.”
Adriana sighed, it was going to be a tight schedule with work and attending her daughters recital. Fortunately enough people voted to install more conduits for ease of access. She should be able to squeeze this weeks Tax Vote shortly before the recital at the school conduit.
She looked at her TaxTracker and took advantage of the long SkyLine ride to read up on the Solicitors Requests. The controversial Health Bill was only a quarter of a million dollars away from replacing the current legislation, Adriana has dedicated $100 each month to replacing the current Health Bill, which has left over 15 million citizens dead. Adriana had to contain the growl of anger when thinking about the latest Pox epidemic that went unchecked, again, because of a small loophole in the Health Bill letting hospitals block victims from entering their buildings. The new Health Bill closed loopholes that were designed to cater to the Priority Party members. Adriana automatically signed her name on the YES slot. She then began her research shortly after setting her app to Layman Setting.
This simple entry was 2 years in the making. I remember the moment when the idea of writing a novel hit me, it was less ‘this could be fun to explore’ and more ‘this needs to be written’. Since college, I haven’t had that drive and pure need to put a story idea into real words and sentences.
Why did this take 2 years? Simple: Kids, every excuse in the world to not do it, and what I refer to as mom guilt (being a mom isn’t required, anyone with a kid qualifies). That devastating, awful feeling when you are doing anything that isn’t about your child. It’s quite deterring for things such as showering, eating a meal, or writing a novel. Before having my son, I could sit down (ha!) and completely lose myself into what’s going on in my mind. The pictures that were so vivid in my head poured through my fingers. Now, the only pictures in my head are dinner options, bathroom etiquette and an alarmingly large library of manners that I’d forgotten and need to teach. It was as if I’d swapped brains with The Nanny, even down to the unbearable, nagging voice. Then one day my brain reclaimed part of its former creative glory. I wanted to write again. No, I needed to write again. I had ideas and the ability to write these ideas down. My son was gaining some independence by now, and life was calming down once again. By George, I was going to start!
Any day now!
Any day now...
Just as I stopped making excuses, I got pregnant. Again. Just when I’d thought of the my big break; the book that was going to put my name and talent out there. Once again I felt that little voice getting smaller, until it just hung out on the very back of the furthest burner. Mom Brain along with the everlasting Mom Guilt was in full swing, however this time that voice persisted. It was once free, it refused to be ignored again.
I remember what turned it all around; what pushed me to begin writing. My very good friend needed to write her novel and she needed her community’s help for motivation. I’ve always been a sucker for serving a community need so long as it’s not to my sole benefit, we can thank the Mom Brain for that. So, in keeping with my duty as a good friend, I offered to help. And since it wasn’t for me, I could prioritize it quite highly!
All it took was one laptop, one idea, one supportive husband, and the duty of friendship. After years of serving others, making all the meals, cleaning most of the messes, park visits, potty training, school enrolling, chauffeuring, working, playtime, character building, manner training, counseling, educating, story time, bedtime rituals, goodbye rituals, ALL the rituals and last but not least, kisses for owwies, I was finally able to sit down at a coffee shop and ignore the enormous guilt of doing something that wasn’t serving my family. For the first time in 3 years I simply wrote. I wrote 300 words that day, a huge achievement. I was pumped and felt that familiar surge of creative adrenaline. I was starving for it.
Over the month I did my best to meet with my friend once a week, and largely succeeded with only a few rainchecks, but with cold season upon us, a not-insubstantial move coming up, and some very large life changes I am now back in a rut again. I feel my little voice fading out, which is why this article exists. I fell into old habits like putting my story at the bottom of the to-do list, prioritizing my family’s needs over my own when I needed to meet my needs just as badly. This isn’t what this story is about however.
This story is about allowing your family help meet your needs, accept that you’re not the only one who gives and promotes personal growth. We raise our children to take care of themselves, by allowing them to take care of others. We partner with mates that value our time and energy we give to them and the family. So why not let them shoulder that weight? They so desperately want to, in their own ways.
This story is also about giving yourself permission to let your freak flag fly (in my case, writing a novel under a ridiculous presumption of free time) and embrace your passion. Pursuing your passion is a legitimate need. I can’t tell you how many times a day I hear the term ‘I can’t’. Sure it’s partly because I have a 4-year-old, but adults do it too. I used to write down how many times a day I’d say any variation of ‘I can’t’. In a 12 hr. period it was 47 times, so I decided to say ‘Yes I can! Yes I do have time!’ 47 times instead. This was one of those world-changing moments you guys.
If you take anything away from this silly diatribe of cliched motivationals and personal testimony, have it be this: Feed your soul. Don’t let guilt motivate you but rather excitement. Write because that little voice in your head (medication not included) makes you giddy with anticipation. You’ll be a better human, mom, dad, clan leader or whatever role you find yourself in.