We spent the weekend in Mendocino where our friends bought some land. It is incredibly beautiful there, just a cabin, acres of rolling hills, a pond, fruit trees and incredibly beautiful light. It was such a stark contrast to how we live our lives at home, going from task to task, creative work to housework, to caring for Ben to more work. There is a myth about working for yourself, that somehow your time is all your own and you can be found eating bon bons on your way to yoga class.
The truth is that your work life is much more flexible and the boundaries can be blurred. At best, this means that your work life and your personal life are so integrated that you can feel like you are never working. (You can actually catch me on occasion eating bon bons on the way to yoga class) At worst though, you can feel like you are always working… and that there are no breaks and no natural separations between you and all of your responsibilities. Most of the time, I am feeling grateful about the flexibility of my day and thrive on my work, but by personality I am pretty much always in doing mode.
And so it took me a while to wrap my head around the weekend. But what are we going to do there? I kept asking Matt. I don’t know, he said. Hang out, play music? I don’t know… I was only satisfied when I realized there was a beautiful redwood grove where we could hike. Turns out I don’t know how to just hang out and relax. 🙂
This past week we have been reeling from all sorts of change. Ben started preschool! which is incredibly exciting and also a huge adjustment for us. We have never had to get out of the house at a specific time with him and be organized about his meals and have his clothing labeled and all of that… (I am also noticing how self-conscious I am about what I put in his lunchbox and all of the odd things he eats. My wanting to be perceived as a good mother stuff is kicking in hard.)
I was wondering why I was having a little meltdown today until I talked to a friend who put it all in perspective. “Ben just started preschool, you let go of the nanny, he stopped sleeping through the night, he stopped napping, you put him in a toddler bed for the first time last night and you are wondering why you are having a meltdown?”
A few people asked me recently about balancing work life and motherhood. The truth is that I have to let go a lot. I have to let go of the house being in order, the dishes being done, dinner being made. I have to let go of doing anything perfectly and settle for good enough. I have to let go of making plans to allow for what shows up (inevitably) in the moment.
I have been living with the belief that I can probably have everything I want, just not everything at the same time. Right now, I am choosing my creative work with Mondo Beyondo and time with family over most anything else. This means that we eat a lot of macaroni, takeout thai food and drink a lot of coffee around here. Our house isn’t grand or exactly how we want it, but we live next door to a park and we spend a lot of time outside. In the end, I want to know that I didn’t miss this time with Ben. I also want a rich creative life, to do work I love, and to enjoy how things are right now.
I suppose that’s my version of having it all right now. Or maybe I need to add personal chef and house cleaner to my Mondo Beyondo list. 🙂