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.
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.