“Leave Mommy alone, she’s working.”
I overhear it more times than I can count now. Every time, harder to swallow than the last and every time, causing me to stop everything I’m doing. I wish someone warned me about the guilt that consumes you when you fall into your passion, trying to find a balance that somehow seems unattainable.
This weekend, my partner and I got into a spat, with me arguing at the top of my lungs about how no one understands how much guilt intertwines itself into delving into your calling. In the heat of the moment, I touched on how people claim to be supportive of your endeavors until they realize you’re slowing slipping away from them and into purpose. People claim to understand and yet, have never experienced an ounce of your struggles. Maybe I should’ve directed my anger elsewhere or channeled it in a different way. Maybe, it just is what it is because that’s truly how I feel.
The loneliness that consumes you as a writer isn’t the same as your winter cuddle-buddy leaving you at spring’s arrival. It’s a little bit of hearing your partner and your children laughing until their bellies hurt in the next room and you not being able to partake in the excitement because you have deadlines to make. It’s some, shooing your son away who wants to share something with you, but you don’t have a second to spare because you don’t want to lose the words you’re sharing with the world. It’s something like asking your boys the reasons why they love you and their father, and there’s an extensive list for dad and a short set of words for you.
“Quality over quantity,” you tell yourself to not feel so bad. The excuses help for a little bit, but at night when you come home and your children are sound asleep, you lay beside them and ask for forgiveness, more than you would from God. In the midst of composing your first couple of paid posts, that emptiness that’ll overwhelm you, in conjunction with the excitement in your heart, is simply a price you have to pay.
I don’t think I’ll ever find that “balance” because it’s just that – the price you pay – and I have yet to come to terms with that truth. It’s as if the universe is playing tug-of-war with my spirit, with me torn between doing what I have to, in order to get where I want to be, and giving in to the guilt and putting things on pause.
“What do you think you’re showing the kids,” he asks me.
“That nothing comes easy and you have to work for what you want.”
Sometimes, I wonder if that’s what they’ll get from all of this. I resented my mother for years for not being home as much as I would have liked her to. It wasn’t until I became a parent myself, that I saw that same drive in her, naturally a part of me. I don’t know if I should laugh at the coincidence of it all or be upset, because I know that how I once felt, there’s a possibility my kids will feel too.
Someone should’ve told me this guilt trip is an insufferable disease that’ll hopefully go away with time – just not on my watch.