Tuesday, June 28, 2011
If there's one thing I've discovered from my days at home with small children, it's that things rarely turn out as planned. From cupcakes to craft activities, I've resigned myself to the incontrovertible truth that my vision of loveliness will be compromised. It's good for me: I'm learning to let go and accept that process is all, and the finished product is not nearly so important as the fun that is had making it. Take the tree mural...I had such ambitions for it...but now it is adorned with some very strange purple flowers and a couple of orange leaves. Little Miss invented a new technique of "water painting" (seems to involve flooding the kitchen floor and covering as much of the furniture as possible in watery purple paint) to colour the paper; then she drew "butterfly flowers", before practicing her cutting skills to create said tree decorations. Yep, nothing ever goes as planned and the journey is everything - pretty good life lessons for mum too.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
During one meeting of new mothers, back when my daughter was only a few weeks old, a child health nurse asked us all what we had found to be the more surprising thing about motherhood. For me, in all my naivety, it was how completely consumed I was by my new role. Even when she was asleep or being looked after by her dad, I still couldn't think about anything else. It was as if every other aspect of my life ceased to be of any significance. Well, it was early days and, as time passed, I was able to focus momentarily on other things, but never for long. I felt pressure to make the most of the time she slept: I had a novel that needed to be edited and a hunger for some kind of intellectual stimulation. I struggled to concentrate. If only I had my own desk, I thought, a space all to myself (a room was quite out of the question), I'd be able to leave all my books and notes strewn all over it, ready and waiting for me when the time made itself available. In an "antique" store, crammed full of junk, I found a discarded school desk, carved with obscenities. It was over-priced, but perfect. I set it up in the corner of the living room, deluding myself into believing that I'd be able to write while my daughter played at my feet. Of course, it didn't work out quite like that...
A couple of addresses later, I still have the desk. Now, it is tucked away in a nook of the sleep-out. My little girl's desk is around the corner; the toy box lurks behind me. If I'm lucky, I get to sit there about once a week, sometimes for five minutes, at most for a couple of hours. What I've come to realise is that the desk makes no difference - it's just another surface on which to pile stuff. Even if I had a room of my own, it wouldn't help, because the space I need to write is in my head and, for the most part, that is fully occupied. The best I can do is scrawl down scraps here and there, little vignettes that come to me in moments of clarity, and hope that one day, I can piece them all together and create a whole. Oh, and read, because all writers need to read and that I can still do, albeit at a much slower pace!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
It's taken me a while to come to terms with the fact that holidays aren't what they used to be. During a particularly taxing moment on our first holiday with two children, my husband exclaimed: "This is just like being at home, only with less toys". He had a point. We were in no way prepared; we didn't even pack enough clothes for everyone, let alone toys. For me, holidays have always been about doing very little, somewhere warm and beautiful. I like to keep things simple: eat cheese and bread, read several fat novels, and think, think, think. Children have made things a little more complicated and we're still learning how to have a "successful" holiday, but I think we might be getting there...