guilty rambles with a divided heart

denby || cityhippyfarmgirl

From the very first page I started underlining sections. Highlighting paragraphs, drawing arrows to particular lines I liked and folding tiny corners of the pages back.

I nodded, I sighed, I sat back and contemplated. I understood, I could identify and times I simply wanted to shout YES!

This was the book that spoke to my very bones. Rachel Power understood, and all these wonderful women that she had interviewed understood. They spoke of the joys, the heart ache, the balancing acts, and the guilt. The guilt that seemed to go hand in hand with being a mother and living a creative life.

And yet I carried my own special little brand of guilt. A slightly different slant of guilt, as I felt guilty in even identifying with these famous women. I wasn’t a composer, a journalist, a musician or writer. I didn’t make a living from my creations, not even slightly- I didn’t make one dollar.

And yet, there the guilt sat.

I love writing and I love taking photos and would dearly love to get better with both of them. So, I get up early, I go to bed late and utilise the hell out of nap time. My children always come first during their waking hours but come sleep time, and the call to create can be hard to ignore. I greedily want that time to myself or at least partially.  I want that time to somehow put my creative stamp on the day. I know I’m a more levelled parent and considerate partner if I have had that time and yet still the guilt can quietly sit.

the divided heart || cityhippyfarmgirl

To solely write or just take photos as an individual act can often feel incredibly self indulgent and selfish in contrast to parenting; where at times it can feel you are giving, giving and giving to everyone within in the household on a 24 hour basis to all but one.

I am lucky, in that I quite often also use food as a creative outlet. I can get creative and feed my family at the same time- incredibly convenient for all of us. I’m also lucky in that doing things in five, ten minute increments- can actually feel incredibly satisfying at times. I’ve been doing that for so long now, I’ve got no idea what it would be like to just sit down and write for six solid hours. Bliss I would imagine. Sheer bliss. My mind would probably go into a spark inducing overload, the inability to multitask would feel quite strange.

And yet occasionally there are those moments of a couple hours to myself. Everyone is out and a whispered ‘write, just write’ is called as the door pulls shut. Then the pressure is on, the pressure to create something of note in the allocated time. I twitch, I feel scatty, I procrastinate and then finally something clicks and the fingers begin their work. Immersed in the moment, the intensity, the zone- I’m finally neck deep in words and suddenly you hear little people voices in the stair well, the key in the lock and the shout of what’s for dinner?

I reluctantly give a deep sigh, the silent click of ‘save’ and you greet them with a loving hug and a kiss, wondering too, what on earth we are going to have for dinner?


* Having a clean bathroom isn’t nearly as satisfying as having written something and edited photos for an hour and a quarter during little girl nap time. Grout will always be there- coherent words falling out my head, no. They can disappear in a blink of an eye.

* Giving chocolate ice cream as a starter for dinner- 1/ gives you bonus points as a parent, surprises the hell out of everyone when it’s suggested, buys you crucial minutes to pull together something more nutritious to follow on with while they happily eat it; and being the awesome little vegetable loving imps that they are, they will always eat their greens after their ice cream.


In the lead up to International Women’s Day on the 8th of March– this post is one of three with a feminine curved theme.

42 thoughts on “guilty rambles with a divided heart

  1. Guilt is a complete waste of time and it makes you feel bad…just make the most of the time you have with your lovely family and enjoy some time for your self. The balance will shift in time.
    I really like what you have written here.


  2. I hear you sista! The guilt, the guilt, the guilt. But I too feel like a better parent/wife when I’ve had a creative fix for the day. I must read that book… I’ve heard a lot of good things about it!


  3. I hear you! I’m like that too. I crave uninterrupted time. I find when the house is quiet and I start to write, it takes at least two hours for the words to flow freely and sadly, by then, I’ll be interrupted again. It’s off/on, off/on, off/on and sometimes very hard to feel you’re getting anywhere. I definitely used to make the most of nap time too – that was how I got one manuscript finished. Good luck to you xx


  4. I remembered feeling the same way when my kids were little….. stay calm, they grow so soon, any day this time you´ll discover that they are grownups…. they ´ll be grateful for everything you gave them, they´ll still need you but you´ll have time for everything or not …it depends on how many things you want to do..ja ja ja…
    I´ld love to read the book…..


  5. Amen to that Brydie. I too get the guilts but am happier to have some creative outlet – blogging is great for being able to write and photograph because it is easy to do in snatched moments. I do sometimes miss the hours on end to lose myself in writing that I had when I was younger. But I also love all the creative aspects of parenting – food can be so much fun and making gifts is also lots of fun.


  6. I don’t know the lack of time exactly as you know it Brydie but I know it in a different way. Try to let go of that burden of guilt though no matter how lightly it sits. The kids will learn far more of the joy of creativity if they see it bringing you happiness, they’ll be more inclined to try it for themselves.


  7. Well written. Guilt is not a totally bad thing. It helps you to keep your perspective clear and also adds some pressure. Personally I deal well with a deadline and guilt can be a good deadline. You are so well balanced, Brydie, and love is a total priority for you that you and your family will all enjoy the opportunity to enjoy pre-meal ice cream!


  8. I don’t think there’s ever ‘enough time’. Too much and you waste it. Too little and you crave more. I know you already do this Brydie, but just do what you can when you can. And never feel guilty about it. It took me way too long that I NEED to be creative. It keeps me balanced. I can tell you NEED it too. Looking forward to your next two posts 🙂


  9. I hear you Brydie, it is hard to remember what is was like to have endless hours of uninterrupted time. And…on the rare occasion this does happen I often feel guilty if I am not doing domestic stuff! As Rachael said: too much time and we can possibly waste it, too little and we get bogged down and frustrated. This book sounds great; thanks for the recommendation. Happy Sunday x


  10. Yes to everything you’ve written here Brydie. You’ve described it all so well. I crave time to myself and stay up late for that reason. I’ve generally been pretty laid back about the surrounding mess and chaos, preferring to spend my time focussing solely on enjoying the Kids, but tithe household stuff really got to me last week for some reason. I need to read this book! Sounds right up my alley! Mel x


  11. If you don’t make time for yourself, how can you make time for someone else with anything other than resentment? I guess we all need a reminder that the balancing act of parenthood and personal time is a difficult and delicate one but time spent in creative endeavours that feed your soul is NEVER time spent badly and Celia is right…only we used black grout! 😉


  12. The book sounds interesting. The creative side of me has only emerged since I have become a stay-at-home mom. I guess that is the luxury of time, though not enough time! My brain isn’t filled with office work stuff, so it has time to think more creatively. However, I don’t have the time to do all of the things that I think of! I chose to stay home with my little babe so that she can have my undivided attention, but I still feel divided now!


  13. It’s so good (and healthy) that you have kept your creative outlet consistent and pushed through instead of stopping to do menial housework like dreaded grout cleaning. Helpful “reminders”. It’s taken me a long time but I have learned especially with child number two to find time every day to knit, sew or cook creatively otherwise I will forever being doing housework. I should read this book to help inspire me to include studying and working and family responsibilities in to my creative needs. I’m not very good at it.


  14. Love this – especially the reminders! It is sooooo true that although cleaning up paves the way for some serene creativity, most often than not, the time – and inspiration – runs out before the creation happens. Write don’t clean – my new mantra!


  15. i have learnt to let go of the guilt in the realisation that it is super important for my children to see me looking after ME and not just everyone else.
    I did it after it occurred to me that I was teaching my children that they should never put themselves first and that was not a good thing.
    I also love to feed my children Ice cream for dinner. sometimes not even with the veggies next 🙂 fun is such an important part of parenting as well as childhood.
    beautiful post Brydie.


  16. Such a beautifully written post Brydie. I agree wholeheartedly with the importance of nurturing what makes you tick. It is a really hard thing to get past the guilt when you have kids and I struggle with this every time I sit down at the computer but I know it is important for me to continue to do it. The chores will never be ‘finished’ so best to just look past it I say!


  17. I’m so with you on this one Brydie – such a balancing act – and the guilt is always there – even if you’re giving them 100%. I’ve been a full-time working mum and also a stay-at-home mum and they both come with their share of guilt! I’m learning now to give in to the self-indulgence, because ultimately, like you said, it makes me a better person x


    • I’m yet to find a woman that doesn’t have that fair serving of guilt pie, regardless of their circumstances unfortunately. I think it just sits at different levels for people…thanks for dropping by Flick. x


  18. This is something I have lived with for 25 years. Just hang in there – keep at it – more time will come eventually, and in the meantime, expressing your creativity is a wonderful thing to model to your children.


  19. Beautiful post Brydie. Guilt get old as your kids grow up and they need you less on a daily basis. After my ex had a few rounds of chemotherapy, I realised that if I wasn’t happy and healthy and spending time doing things I loved before I had kids like writing and creating, that everyone would suffer.


  20. You are doing a marvellous job. And it’s impossible to say ‘go on, indulge yourself and let go of the guilt!’ Yeah right. I totally get it now. That guilt will be there as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It’s parenthood. It compliments and completes each other. Like a cowboy on a horse, they are dependent on one another. I have only had 10-ish weeks of it and I can’t imagine ever being creative ever again. (Please excuse my complaining. It’s the sleep deprivation talking). But what I’m probably most impressed with, above all is that you get your children to eat vegetables AFTER ice cream. You must do something very right. And your are now officially my idol. Keep utilising the hell out of those nap times, girl. You are one your way. You are doing it.


  21. The dreaded grout!!!! I think bathroom designers should un-design grout! On a more serious note – love your post. May we all make the most out of our days to add creativity to the world! x


  22. Pingback: The distracted feminist | cityhippyfarmgirl

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