Yesterday was Tuesday. 3 things happen on Tuesdays: French class, Cub Scouts, and Writers Group. Yesterday, I chose to go to my writers group over my son’s Cub Scout Pack meeting. That wouldn’t have been a big deal except that he was receiving his first merit badge. Needless to say, Guilt was in town and shacking up at my house. Now, yesterday wasn’t the first time I’ve prioritized personal creativity over family but it was the first time I had a conscience about it. And even though the hubby said, “just go, no big deal,” I still couldn’t shake the feeling (or the fear) that this could grow into an ongoing occurrence if I continue on the artistic path.
I’ve always said that Art is an extremely selfish career path. It has to be. And that’s ok! Actors. Artists. Musicians. These are careers that exhaust not only your full mental and emotional energy, but also your time. And usually, INCONVIENENT time. Late nights. Weekends. The kind of block scheduling that is typically reserved for family. I remember when I was working as a casting assistant for a local casting director here in Houston, my hours were INSANE! 12, 13, sometimes 15 hour days. The money was great but I was constantly apologizing for it. My text messages read like lousy boyfriend douchebag excuses. Sorry. Still here. Don’t wait up. Love you. It felt terrible. And it was probably the main reason I wasn’t devastated when that casting director relocated to a different city, leaving me jobless and subconsciously relieved. Now, I know writing will never demand that level of absence (I write from home, after all). But there’s still conscious absence, and sometimes that kind of absence feels worse. Clicking away at my computer instead of joining my husband at bedtime. Neglecting to play outside with the kids because “I’m on a roll” and can’t stop because the inspiration might not be there when I get back. Hell, even the house! I’m a stay-at-home-mom. There’s no reason the house should look like shit, regardless of my writing habits. I should be able to spare 10 minutes to load the dishwasher or fold a basket of clothes.
Maybe I’m making too much of a big deal about it. Maybe its my Catholic Guilt returning, pissed that I haven’t been to mass in weeks (Ok, months). But my hope is that all this will pay off. And that writing will prove to be the prefect hobby (and career choice) for a mom like me. I just have to keep it in check. I have to make time everyday to step outside of the writing box and evaluate my roles. Mommy first, writer second. Don’t forget it! Scribble it on a Post-it and slap it on the belly. Constant reminder.
So today, I’ll pick up my needle and thread and sew the Bobcat badge onto his little blue shirt. Regretting that I wasn’t there, but happy that he can run his tiny fingers across his badges thinking, “mom sews all these by hand.” None of that patch adhesive shit here! Gotta keep it real.