Give Me A (Summer Blogging) Break
We had a great kid-free weekend in Nashville. We ate, we drank, we listened to music and visited record stores and wandered around museums and, one day, slept until the mind-boggling hour of 9:30. I’ve been meaning to write a post about it all week.
I’ve been starting and not finishing posts about a lot of things: my dad, for his birthday last week; my terrible adventures with Target; my ongoing dilemma about whether or not to go back to work.
But I can’t seem to finish anything. At least not to a point where I feel good about sharing it. It’s been hard to make time to write, which stresses me out. And when I do find an hour – during Rory’s nap while Noah’s playing Legos, or after the kids finally go to sleep at night – I’ve had a hard time focusing on writing. It feels more like a chore than something I’m eager to do.
And that stresses me out even more.
Summer should not be a stressful time, and yet it has been. It’s been stressful having both kids home all day. Stressful trying to balance getting things done with having fun. Stressful to find activities that keep them both entertained. Stressful to answer all of Noah’s questions. Stressful to go anywhere or nowhere with Rory. You guys, this kid.
Yes, sometimes I let them keep the television on for way longer than I should, and then I have some non-stressful time. But then I get stressed that I’m rotting their brains and causing obesity and degenerative eyesight and probably violent tendencies and God knows what else.
Yes, I have issues, and I get stressed by a lot of things that don’t bother other people. Some of my stress is self-imposed. Some is culturally-imposed. Regardless, it is imposed. And I am stressed.
Summer is halfway over. I registered Noah for kindergarten today. I felt neither overwhelmingly sad at the thought of him starting school full-time in the fall (though I’m sure that will come) nor so ready for him to get out of the house that I started outfitting a giant countdown clock with a confetti cannon to set off on his first day (though I’ve certainly had those moments, too).
Filling out the paperwork in front office of the elementary school while trying to keep Rory from pulling all the books off of a shelf and/or dashing out the front door of the school (he did both), I just felt stressed.
I can’t control most of the things that stress me out. Rory will still scream for no reason and spill milk on the floor and then jump in it like it’s a rain puddle. Noah will still whine and argue with everything I ask him to do and have emotional breakdowns out of the blue. It will still be unbearably sticky outside and the slides at the playground will be flaming hot and carseats will be buckled wrong and the laundry will pile up and there will be nothing to make for dinner and I will trip over the shoes Pat leaves in the middle of the floor. There will be conversations about money and people will be sick and seemingly ridiculous expectations will be imposed.
There will be stress.
But I do have the choice to not let the blog stress me out. I can give myself a pass to take a summer vacation from writing.
I hesitated to write about writing. So much navel-gazing. But I have to imagine that some of you have an analog. Something you once enjoyed doing that’s now become just another glaring item on your to-do list. Something you could give yourself a break from, but feel too guilty or worried to do it.
And I’ll confess: giving myself a break stresses me out a little. I’m afraid that if I don’t keep going, I’ll lose momentum, and it will never come back. Which would be really hard, since writing has been one of the few outlets that’s helped me keep stress at bay in the year I’ve been home. One of the few things I’ve felt is all mine to own and enjoy and feel proud of.
I suppose there’s a part of me that hopes a break will have sort of a reverse-psychology effect, and tomorrow I’ll wake up full of energy and ideas and focus and dying to write. If I do, you’d better believe I will.
But if I don’t, I’m not going to get stressed. Instead of telling Noah “I need to work,” during Rory’s nap time, maybe we’ll bake cookies or play Legos or I’ll read him one of the five books we got at the library about space and do my best to not have a panic attack when he asks me about the size of the universe.
Or maybe I’ll still tell him that I need to work, and then I’ll go take a nap.
Instead of staring at my computer screen at the end of the day, maybe I’ll take a longer run (in this heat, doubtful, but a girl can dream) or just lay on the bed and read a book (I’m working on both “The House Girl” and “David and Goliath”) or watch more than one episode of “Girls” or, heaven forbid, go to bed before midnight.
Maybe I’ll read more blog posts, or write an email to a friend, or actually go out with a friend, or put together that budget sheet that holy crap I still haven’t put together.
Whatever it is, I’m hoping that it will help me enjoy the rest of the summer more. Enjoy being with the boys, instead of trying to figure out what to write about them. Enjoy running, or reading, or cooking, or hanging out with Pat, instead of being plagued by nagging feelings of what I “should” be doing. And hopefully, eventually, enjoy writing again.
And I hope you’ll keep in touch, and I hope you’ll still want to read the blog whenever I do get back to it, whether it’s next week or two months from now. Because if you don’t, well, that will really stress me out.
What are you taking a break from this summer? What could you give up that would make your life a little easier? And can you break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar?