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Overwhelmed and Overbooked

Overwhelmed and Overbooked

As parents, we all know the time we have to pursue our passions can be limited. At times this inconvenience is made worse by circumstances outside of our control. As a blogger, I’m not terribly prolific. When I began my blog, I thought I could commit to writing a post a week. I did, at the beginning, make time to write creativity throughout the week, sneaking away for an hour with my laptop at the nearest coffee shop.

However, as with many things in parenthood, I missed a couple opportunities for writing because of my family’s needs and before I knew it, my creative escape had completely taken the back burner to all the other daily minutia. I, in full honesty, haven’t written on my own blog in months. This is not merely because I’ve lost my structured time and can’t seem to figure out how to get it back, but because during my prolific starting period, I had agreed to write for two other, much larger mom blogs. This was invigorating for a while, and I was excited to feel like a real freelance writer. Unfortunately, as with my own blog, my ability to keep up with the writing demands fell apart. Too many demands were already being made by my family and I was suddenly extremely overwhelmed.

The daily grind of motherhood, be you a working or stay at home mom, is enough to challenge the most creative people to keep up their momentum; but half way through this independent writing life I had started, I found out my dad had cancer. It was hard enough finding the creative steam to write when I was exhausted and caring for a toddler all day, but coupled with the devastating diagnosis of my dad, it completely eradicated my desire to write.

I had to part ways with one of the online publications all together and cut down on the amount I could offer the other. I haven’t even looked at my blog since that diagnosis. The thing is, balancing your life with your work is hard enough even without kids. Add in a child or two, a sick family member, and you’ve got a recipe for personal productivity disaster. The burn out, both emotional and physical is very real. At the end of a day parenting my nearly two-year-old, all I wanted to do was collapse on the couch with a beer and a bad television show. I knew this should be my writing time but I was exhausted, mentally and physically, and my creativity was kaput.

So how do we do it? How do we push through the demands of our daily lives and keep our passions alive? At this point, I don’t even need my passions to thrive. Right now, if I can write just enough to have one post a month on my blog, and contribute one additional post somewhere else, I’ll feel like an absolute champion.

My husband opened a new restaurant last week, and I am presently a ‘work widow’. Asking for time away to write isn’t realistic for the next few months. It becomes a battle of priorities. When my child naps, instead of making lunch and folding laundry, maybe I stuff a granola bar in my mouth and write (like I’m doing right now). But then again, sometimes my kid doesn’t nap, and then what?

Self-care is so important, but there are always one million things to do as a parent. Sometimes all those things happen on one day. Sometimes you get bad news, sometimes your partner can’t be there to help, sometimes you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. There’s always something, ladies. So! What’s the take away here? Well, unfortunately this isn’t one of those catchy articles that includes a FIVE WAYS TO FIX YOUR PROBLEMS AND BE A PROLIFIC CREATIVE. Alas, I wish I had something as snappy as all that to offer you. What I am going to offer you isn’t pretty, but it is the truth I’m living:

Keep Pushing.

I wish I knew when, or how it would get easier. For now, I’ll stuff granola bars in my mouth, I’ll solo parent my child from morning till night, and I’ll be the emotional support I need to be for my parents while we find out how this cancer will ultimately play out. It’s a hard job, guys. I can’t sugar coat this. However, the strength we incorporate into ourselves when we keep putting one foot in front of the other, the realization of competency, and knowing we’re not alone, that goes a long way.

I see you moms. I see you supporting your families, your loved ones, your coworkers. I see you crying in the dark when your kid wont sleep and you’re so tired and you haven’t had a chance to process all the emotionally catastrophic things happening in your life. I see you put on your shoes every day, I see you sacrifice, and I want you to know that you are doing one hell of a good job. We will make it through this, I can promise you that.

Just Keep Pushing.

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Autumn B

Autumn Bettinger is an outdoor-minded momma with a toddler and a lot to learn. She started writing about her experiences as a way to connect to other mothers and inspire them and their kids to get outdoors. Her blog has since evolved into writings about the day-to-day mom life with sprinkles of environmental education. Turns out, she was going to be an incredibly ambitious backpacking mother... before she had a baby. Now it's everything she can do to keep her son from stuffing leaves in his mouth on walks through the dog park.
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