By Estelle Sobel Erasmus
It is the heart of summer, and we’ve just been through a heat wave that feels as if the minute you step outside you are roasting in the sun like a rotisserie chicken. This serves to create a feeling of exhaustion in me that I remember from back in the days when I was trying to get pregnant while working in a job that I purposely chose because it had no stress, and was close to home.
However, while working in that job, I realized that there are four situations that create a huge energy suck on me: working in a dull job with no challenges, trying to get pregnant, becoming pregnant while in that job, and then actually having the baby and doing all the early work of child raising. All my energies (and for me, creativity is a part of that energy), went into diapering and swaddling and feeding and caring…and mothering.
So from 2007 to late 2010 (my daughter was born in 2009), my creative output was low-extremely low. I was unable to write; the words that had always came, just wouldn’t come. I didn’t know how to make them come. All I could do to keep my head in the editing, journalism world from which I had come (before the boring job), was to do some freelance editing work for a publishing company; and pen a Mom’s Talk Q & A column for my local Patch. It wasn’t creative writing, but it certainly kept my head in the game.
Which is why in 2011, it was such a surprise when I woke up one day after taking my daughter to the library for a book club and wrote about the experience. You can read about it here. I called it And She Danced, and writing it truly was the rebirth of my creativity. That led me to audition for the reading show Listen to Your Mother (this is the YouTube Video of my reading), which opened me up to the world of blogging, which opened me up to expanding my world…and my creativity.
Suddenly, the words flowed.
Now my four-year old has finished preschool for the summer, and is home with me, and I find my energies diverted once again. I spend my days taking her to the pool, the playground, arranging and having play dates, doing errands, reading to her, helping her write her letters and numbers. We’re having fun, but by the end of the day, I collapse into my bed, and the aforementioned flowing of the words, well, it’s gone. Temporarily.
Kids are work. Important work; but I want my words back.
What challenges have you noticed with your work due to the heat, raising kids, having babies, or dealing with older parents?