I want something. I am trying very hard to get it. But I haven't figured out if I'm being addict-y about it (a bad thing), or if I'm simply motivated and pro-active (a good thing). The questions I am asking myself, in order to label my behavior, are perhaps the same ones you have asked yourself at one point or another.
How do I define myself?
What do I want for my family?
What do I want for myself?
Can I have both?
Over the years, I've read a lot about the idea of "balance" in our lives. Work/home balance. Mother/self balance. But I think there is no "balance". Our lives aren't math problems that can made equal on both sides of the equation. There is only isolating the variable. If I want "x," I'm going to have to subtract something to get it. I call this practical harmony.
Practical harmony means if I decide to spend the day outside in my garden, my kitchen will not get cleaned. If I choose to go to bed with my husband, I will not stay up late and write. If one child has the equivalent of a nervous breakdown, the others will not get as much of my attention. There is no balance; there is only borrowing. And right now, I'm struggling with how much I can borrow for myself.
I have never had a career "outside the home." I've had jobs, but when One was born, I stopped working to focus on his medical needs. I went back to work part-time after Two, but when Three graced us with his presence, I was home for good. I'm not complaining; I feel like I kick ass as a mother, and I am proud to pencil in that title when I fill in the "Occupation" box on medical forms. But, now, for the first time in my adult life, I see the possibility of amending the form. I want to be a Mother/Writer.
I am excited about all that has happened in the past month, since I made the decision to publicly declare my intentions. I've opened my ears to other writers, and offered up my work for review. I've decided to share my thoughts, and been proud of the result. I signed up to volunteer (a lot!) at the Romance Writers of America national conference, because even though the damn book isn't done, I thought it might be nice to meet some other writers, and learn a few things. And that brings me to my dilemma.
I want to go to another writer's conference. It will be smaller than national, so I think of it as a chance to get my feet wet- a practice run. Lucy March is a featured speaker, and I wouldn't even know about it if I didn't follow her blog. But I do follow her, and I did find out about it, and I feel like I already know some of the women who will be there, even though I've never met them. But that connection is already inexplicably powerful, and I'm not sure I should ignore that, even if it doesn't make sense.
The problem is that the Captain will be away at a hockey tournament the same time as the conference. I've called my sister to see if she can watch my children. (She hasn't fully commited). I've mapquested the route. (It's a five hour drive). I have a friend who will share her hotel room with me. (But I'll have to drive home late Saturday night). I'm trying to cover all my bases. And it feels a little addict-y. Like I want it too much, and I'm willing to really manipulate the universe to get it. If it's this hard to make it happen, is the universe saying I shouldn't go, or is it asking me to prove how much I want it? Can there be harmony, or is that impractical?