Like Mr McCourt said...

Last week on NPR's On Point, an interview with the recently passed author Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes) was re-broadcast. One caller was a former student of Mr. McCourt's who commented on the fact that he appeared to be unhappy while teaching. Given his jokes and jovial attitude on the show this did seem surprising. After stumbling over his answer a little, he admitted he was very frustrated during his years of teaching at a New York high school. His hours in the classroom left him very little time or energy to write.

It's 7:12PM. I have walked the kids back to their beds three times in the last 20 minutes, and DAMNIT, here they come again. My glass of red wine is half gone. It has not been a good day in the life of this stay-at-home mother of two.

I am tired. So very, very tired. Not due to lack of sleep - my two monkeys decided to share a bed last night and it worked, thank the lord of all creatures small and sleeping. No, I am bone tired. Crying tired. Want to book a motel closet and not emerge for a whole week tired.

Sunday found Hubby and I, out of desperation and concern for Little Lady (Tator likes to turn the light on as he leaves their room for ours at 2AM), moving out of our beautiful, chaos-free-zone bedroom into the 5AM-sun-blasted office. We took apart our bed and the kids' exorbitantly heavy bunk beds and heaved all the pieces into their respective new locales. At the height of the move when neither room resembled its former or soon-to-be orderly status and the hallway looked like a flea-market, I picked up one end of my small writing desk, took a step backwards, and... oooooweeee! My hip gave way. I spent the remainder of the day on my knees pushing baskets of dress-up clothes and stuffed animals or carrying one book at a time slowly from room to room. For me, who moves furniture and rearranges the house at least once a month, this abrupt halt of activity was incredibly frustrating.

My mother, bless her cotton socks, came to help that afternoon and even took a child away for the night (the one who couldn't quite cope with all the change and took out his unease on his sister's head, multiple times).

Four days later I am walking upright again and I am still organizing the mess created by the move. Or trying to.

1. Move pile of papers from floor, to table, to shelf.
2. Pick up discarded diaper, round up boy who is now running around covered in, well, you know.
3. Transfer one stack (of the 25 stacks) of novels, books on writing, psychology, and who knows what else, from upstairs office to downstairs.
4. Break apart the screaming, thrashing muddle of limbs on the living room carpet that is my children.
5. Go through two months worth of mail, praying no unpaid bill will surface.
6. Make sandwiches, skin apple, make more sandwich, find suitable dessert for staaaarving children.

And in the middle of all this I think, what am I doing? I'm not up to this. I wasn't meant to be a mother. I just want to be writing.

It is so hard trying to squeeze your own needs in between the responsibilities of life. There are days when I am far from happy. I am happiest when alone and I am rarely that. I understand Mr. McCourt's frustration. He was a writer who had to put himself on hold in order to teach and make a living. I am writer who has to put myself on hold for my children and my home (and my hip). Some days I am at peace with this and manage my day-to-day life with ease. Other days I run on suppressed anxiety. And then there are days like today.

I write this as therapy. I write this to fulfill a need I have yearned for all day. I write this while barely able to keep my eyes open or my heart from hurting.

I'll be OK tomorrow.

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Breeze said...

here here...Mr. McCourt is wonderful and I'm sad at his passing. I still list Angela's Ashes as one of my favourite books.

I just want to be writing too....

off to wash cat poop of my bedroom carpet...sigh.


Noble Savage said...

I get this. I so completely get this. I feel the same way on a regular basis. There have been times I've ignored a crying child while I tried to finish a sentence and then slammed the lid of the laptop down when it had vacated my brain before I could get it written down. I too crave alone time, more than anything else in the world. To sleep, to write, to read...ahhhh.

I have already informed my husband that as soon as our youngest is weaned I am going away by myself for a minimum of three days, preferably a week, to do just that. I don't want beach holidays or nights out, I'd be happy with a comfortable bed in a hotel room, a bench to sit on and read and writing on my laptop in the bar with a glass of wine in hand. That's the dream, anyway.

I hope you have a better day today.

joanna said...

Is it right to be so torn? To be so unhappy, so discontented, so guilty? What is the answer? I guess the only solace lies in knowing there are so many of us all feeling the same way... not that that helps on another rainy morning when your daughter won't stop whining and your son just dumped worms from the composter all over the kitchen floor. I wish we could all gather from around the cyber world and have a giant group hug (and then go away to our own rooms for a long, long time.)

Morgan U said...

I feel your pain. I am not even sure yet what i want to be when I grow up, but I know that it is not the tired and cranky mother and th naggy, pretty much wife that I have become!