2018 Check-In

Dear 2018,

So far so good.

If I had written this just a few weeks ago, I would have written something more along the lines of… Dear 2018, I’m failing. But, that’s simply not the truth.

After having my baby on the last day of 2017, besides feeling exhausted, I felt renewed and rejuvenated. My desire to write was strong and I felt I was being given an opportunity that I needed to cease, I needed to take advantage of having 18 months off from teaching to focus not only on my baby boy, but my writing.

The thing is, it’s hard to focus on anything other than the little guy. He’s a baby, and baby’s are demanding. I’m always either tired, exhausted or extremely fatigued. As such, I often find myself, just as I often found myself pre-baby, writing in my head…and not quite getting all of the words in my head onto paper.

Baby boy is 6 months old now, and I’ve spent a lot of time admiring other people. I admire their discipline. I just don’t seem to have it. I mean, I have it…but I don’t have IT. What do you do? Especially if you’ve got a little one around? Turn your tv’s off? Stop scrolling? Hire a nanny or an Au Pair (an au pair is the same as a nanny, right?).

I find myself wondering, do people who blog just sit around writing all day? Do they wake up in the middle of the night and write their ideas and thoughts down? I’ve tried that before, the waking up and writing my ideas down; but I really need to sleep or I get sick. I can’t afford getting sick right now, not with the little guy being so demanding. Do regular bloggers and writers have full time jobs? I’m seriously curious, because I feel like I’m struggling.

I guess it’s a lifestyle. And to achieve it I need to make some changes. But what do those changes entail. I honestly don’t care to lead a public life, because I’m actually pretty private. I don’t care to have a perfectly curated IG page, I post whatever, whenever. I don’t care to have thousands of followers; well, that would actually be pretty cool, but I have no intention of paying for them. I’d rather gain my followers organically. Really, I just want to write. And if I put my self loathing aside, I can acknowledge that that is exactly what I’ve been doing. Do you make a schedule and stick to it at all costs? I tried that, it’s been hit or miss for me. I’m trying to to be firm with myself, but I’m also trying to be gentle. 

I started this blog in February 2018 with the mindset that I could no longer ignore the signs the universe was presenting me with. I’d received my most important wish; my baby boy, and it was time for me to go for my other wishes…my goals. I was on a high from just having a natural, unmedicated birth and felt I could do anything I put my mind to; I’m told that childbirth can have that effect on new mothers. I resolved to write. But when?, was the major question, my major obstacle. Do I write when he is sleeping? Or do I sleep too? Do I do laundry or eat? Do I stare at him in wonder? Or do I write? Typically, I do a bit of them all. I try to enforce a routine for myself, but it doesn’t always work. Often, I find myself writing in the wee hours of the night or in the early morning. This was something to be proud of, right? Despite the fact that baby boy was and still is not sleeping through the night and I’m really really tired…I remind myself to be gentle with myself.

In March, when the little guy was around 3 months old, it was time for us to get out of the house. I joined a city program run by Toronto Public Health nurses. After the first session, I received what I perceived to be another sign. I started talking to one of the other moms and found out she was a writer and had just published her first book of poetry. Instantly, I got goosebumps and shared with her my desire to be a writer. Her words of advice for me were to take advantage of my time off from work…and write! We talked about the extreme tiredness of having a newborn, and how hard it is to combat it. Despite this, she insisted that time won’t wait. Even though it’s hard to stop and write down your ideas, you simply must. If you don’t, in the morning they’ll be forgotten. We talked about being sleep deprived, and wanting so badly to just…sleep, but instead it is imperative to indulge in the act of writing despite inevitably, losing more sleep because it’s so hard to stop once you’ve started. I was inspired. I was excited. And I kept on writing.

What am I writing though? I keep asking myself this question. Mostly, reflections. As a new mom, I find myself reflecting a lot on the process of becoming and being a mother. I reflect a lot on my dreams and goals. I reflect a lot on my life experiences in general. And these reflections are great, for me… They help me keep everything in perspective. They help me maintain a balanced outlook not only on myself, but on the world and those around me, like my sweet boy. As mentioned earlier, a few weeks ago, I felt as though I was in a rut. I felt quite unmotivated and couldn’t muster the energy to write, anything. I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing what I’d set out to achieve in terms of my writing goals. This feeling has passed however, and six months into 2018, I look back and realize that I’ve written about 12 blogs so far. How can I feel down about that? At this halfway mark, in 2018, with only 12 more months to go of maternity leave, it’s important that I reevaluate my writing goals. I need to use my time effectively. I’m writing, great. But, what am I writing? What do I want to write? I already know the answer to that question. I want to write children’s stories…picture books…children’s literature.

As a teacher of little ones, I read many amazing, impactful children’s stories, and have many ideas for my own. But for the life of me, I don’t know how to start. I don’t know how to approach turning my ideas into reality. I need help and starting today, I began Summer Writing School! I joined an intensive writing program for one week entirely focused on writing picture books. And while I’m sad to be away from my baby boy for the week, I am so excited to be really honing in on my writing goals. A goal that has plagued much of my being for many years.

I have other goals for 2018 as well. Like, getting my driver’s license so that I no longer have to be at the mercy of others and finishing up my Master’s Degree. But the writing, actually turning my ideas into tangible manuscripts and picture books excites me the most! I will continue to write my reflections and resolutions on my journey through mothering and writing. But more importantly, I’m going to write some children’s books! Momentum has started and I can’t allow it to stop.

What are some of your goals this year? Have you made any progress in achieving them? How have you kept yourself on task?

Reflectively yours,

12 Raisins


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