Why I Couldn’t Write About Parenting for a Month
Last month, I was all set to start blogging 2-3 times a week. I even managed to do it for one whole week — the week I was away from home when my uncle had a heart attack.
In many ways, that was a magical week. I’d driven to Dallas at the last moment in a bit of a panic. My husband and I had been in San Antonio the week before, and we hand’t even been home for half an hour before I had to get back on the road for Dallas. I had expected to find my uncle on death’s door, but instead hung out with a man in great spirits who went back to work three days later. I had expected the week to be a wash, work-wise, and yes, I did spend nearly the whole week in and out of meetings. But, I also had whole mornings or afternoon free to just write or blog or whatever. I haven’t been that productive in years.
That week was a wonderful liberating experience. Oh, I missed my husband and kid, but I got to FaceTime with them every night. It was the best of both worlds: lots of me time to myself, and evening conversations when my kid was being cute. No meltdowns (of the adult or toddler variety). No whining (again of the adult or toddler variety). No worries.
After that week, I started the four hour drive back to Austin. And as I passed downtown, I started to cry. I was not crying because of horrendous traffic — although Dallas traffic, especially right there can be bad. No, I was crying because I was going home back to my life.
How depressing is that?
And my life isn’t that upsetting. Thinking about it doesn’t normally make me cry. My family doesn’t normally make me cry. (Don’t get me wrong, they can be incredibly trying, but most of the time, they don’t inspire tears.)
And of course, that then inspired the guilt.
It’s taken me about a month to come to terms both with the feeling of relief I’ve had every time I’ve had to travel back to Dallas since then, and the intense guilt I feel because of this relief. The result of this self-reflection has led me to the following two conclusions:
- I need to be taking more time for myself. Clearly, if I was getting more me time, I wouldn’t feel so relieved when I do get some extended time for myself. I have started trying to carve out at least a half hour a day when I’m not working but am alone. (I get plenty of work time these days, but that is definitely not ME time.)
- I have to accept my guilt for what it is: an emotional response. I can’t really control how something makes me feel, but I can control how I respond. I’ve decided to chose to not let the guilt overwhelm me anymore. Instead, I am trying to confront it and move on. On a more concrete, less abstract, note, that means I’m doing things like writing about it here.
Doing this has helped me tremendously, but I’m always up for more recommendations. Any other suggestions?