My mom stayed with us for a month and helped to look after Little M while I tackled a few creative projects that were gathering dust in the corner. I had the liberty write and draw freely and exuberantly.
I finished the dummy for a new book for Penguin Random House South Africa. And I made headway on two personal projects that I had been bursting to start. One has completely changed shape after a transformative weekend retreat at Gladstone's Library; the other is plodding along at a slow pace, but I'm very happy with its progress.
So... success all around.
But it's interesting to notice how success "feels" versus how you "thought" success would look when you were imagining it.
This is how success looked...
I didn't write 500 words per day.
Not even close. But if you consider that a picture might be worth a 1000 words, then I didn't do so badly.
I managed to close the door and turn off the internet.
But I ended up sleeping most of that time. I'm convincing myself that sleep can be as restorative and inspiring as drawing and writing.
I wanted to page through the dictionary.
I did look up a few words words (asperity, restive, adumbration...) but otherwise the tome gathered dust on the floor beside my bedside table. Perhaps I'll open it more now? One can only live in hope.
I hoped to read with reckless joy.
And I did. This isn't a difficult resolution to make because it's what I always do anyway.
And finally. I wanted to feel proud of anything I could accomplish,
even if it was less than I had hoped for, because being a stay-at-home/working mom is tough. Yes it is. No question. And I'm so proud of the small steps I've taken this month.
This month of rest and creativity has given me a lot of courage.
To all you readers who might be stay-at-home/working moms... it can be done.
It takes 3 minutes to sterilize Little M's bottles in the microwave. I often pop them in, and then quickly do a few chores in the kitchen. I wash a few dishes. I wipe the counters. I fold laundry.
It's amazing what one can accomplish in 3 minutes. I can do anything for 3 minutes, even the things I think are impossible, like sitting down to write or draw. (Someone, someday, will be able to run a 3 minute mile, even that's not impossible.)
Sometimes, when Little M is fractious and I'm exhausted, I divide my day into innumerable 3 minute parcels. That way things don't feel overwhelming.
I write for three minutes; I draw for three minutes.
I thread those little moments together like beads on a string, and suddenly I've accomplish more than I thought I could.
I'm not sure how I'll manage now that my mom has returned to Canada, but I saw a scintilla of light glimmering in the fog of confusion and exhaustion.
It must be possible....
It is possible.
The key is to realize that there's no way of knowing how to do it until you're in the middle of it, muddling your way through.
I'm just going to start and hope for the best. And hopefully I'll find inspiration, energy and a bit of luck along the way.