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Alana: Introducing myself!

Thank you for the invite to join this wonderful group of writing mums. I feel like I’ve just walked into a room of old friends having just been on a holiday with a bunch of strangers. At last, people with my problems – and my ambitions! Thanks for the invite Miranda, and if it suits everyone, I’ll bring along a bottle of wine, put on my Abba CD and kick back with you girls for a while.

I’m a mum of two from Dublin, Ireland – one is 2 and a half and the other is 10 months… yes i know, I’ve told my husband he’s not allowed to even pass me on the stairs for at least another year…

I gave up my high-octane job after I had Daisy, and despite loving being her mum, i morphed from being the workaholic Iron Lady to the housework weary Ironing Lady. So I began to write. Ironically having kids has allowed me to fulfill my lifetime ambition of being a writer. I now write regularly for parenting magazines (although that makes me sound like a full-blown freelancer – the reality is I write when they sleep, and when I can’t sleep) and am attempting my first novel (note the optimistic use of ‘first’!).

Some days… most days.. I feel like a piece of my daughters’ playdo – uber elasticated for easy pulling in every direction, and maleable enough to morph into different shapes when the demand requires – mum, wife, cleaner, cook, writer, daughter, friend, mum, secretary, engineer, mum, daughter-in-law, mum, neighbour, houseworker, shopper, planner, mum, hugger, play friend, teacher, ……. me?

Every second of every day has a specific task dedicated to it – the nano-second my babes are down for their lunchtime nap (my greatest achievement was getting them to sleep at the same time!) I’m at my computer writing until the first squeak on the monitor pulls me back to the day job.

My novel takes a back seat so much of the time, it might as well be in the car behind. My mum and my husband tell me to slow down, and calm down, and sit down, and MOST IRRITATINGLY OF ALL tell me not to push myself with the book. I need to rest. Yes i do. But i can’t rest for needing to write another line. I have to get off chapter 5 for god’s sake – it’s been 4 months!

I have the same angel / devil on my shoulder arguments as you Miranda – should I rest and forget the burning (more like smoldering) passion in me, or do I plough ahead and write the damn thing? Every day when I’m beyond myself with exhaustion after another interrupted night (we’ve all been sick pretty much without break since the week before Christmas) and I look enthusiastically at the computer but gaze longingly at the sofa, I can hear Oscar Wilde sidle up to me and whisper his famous quip: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s trousers to the seat of one’s chair.” Clearly he was a man. With no kids. I write standing up, on the loo, in the bath, in my head as I wait for the traffic lights to change and in between verses of the Wheels on the Bus.

Anyway, I’ve turned into one of those irritating people who turn up at a party and hog the floor. Just wanted to say I’d love to join your group, I understand, empathise, and share your struggle and hope we can all get a few words written in the next wee while. Every little helps….

One Comment Post a comment
  1. alana – I visited your blog and just want to encourage you to take the time you need for you . . . . I know it’s difficult, but you will be better for it and so will those babies! I made the mistake when my older children were small of believing that I could only be a “good” mother if I was with my children all the time, entertaining them every minute of every day.
    Your observation about Oscar Wilde and his famous little quip is SO appropriate for us creative moms . . . . . he was a man, and had no idea what it is like to try to live your life and follow your dreams in the tiniest little bits and pieces of time. For writing, or in my case it is usually designing and sewing, the chances of my back side ever residing on a chair for more than about 30 seconds at a time is slim to never. We can’t play by the same rules as those who have never experienced the joy and the chaos of having pre-school children filling your mind and your heart with their own needs and demands. Because what they are thinking (or doing) at any given moment, may not be what WE want to think about or do. But we do it anyway, and steal from ourselves our very souls, in tiny bits and pieces.
    Find your corner, your cupboard, your closet, your drawer, whatever is possible for YOU and keep it sacred. You deserve it, and those babies deserve a mum who is becoming her true self. Do it for them, if you aren’t yet ready for a full-blown rebellion! ;o)

    April 11, 2008

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