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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tightrope Tuesday: Another Year of Parenting Without A Net

            Another year of being a mom is underway. And I can’t help thinking: somehow this parenting thing eludes me. I always feel like I should be doing something more for or with my kids, and yet the tug to write is so strong as well...

            The other night they wanted me to carve pomegranates. Tearing myself away from my manuscript to paw at seeds and splatter crimson everywhere was not thrilling, and I let my kids know it. They laughed.

            Some mothers manage to fulfill their kids’ requests with a big smile. I can’t help wonder: is it genuine, or Zanax-induced?

            My son Michael made a little comment about my perpetual menu options the other night. “We know it’s either going to be steak, chicken or fish,” he said.

            “Excuse me, but this isn’t the diner,” I told him. “You’re lucky you get that. Besides, sometimes I make tacos.”

            What does he want? Doesn’t he know how hard it is for me to deal with meals at all when I’m in the middle of a novel? On Saturday night it took me an hour of wandering through the supermarket even though I had a list of only four things to buy, because I literally couldn’t focus. I kept running lines through my head.

            Living in two worlds is like constantly juggling. And when I leave the literary world for awhile, it takes me that much longer to reacquaint myself with the characters – let alone write something quality. Sometimes I forget plot points, or if I’ve tackled something yet. So the bottom line is, I don’t want to cook or shop AT ALL. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids. I just wish they could fend for themselves.

            I do what I need to do. I’m just not going to be researching any recipes. It’s only dinner. Eat it and more on.

            I love spending time with my kids. But I like to do fun things with them. You know, like those “Disney Dads?” Yeah, I get that.

            So what I need to do is get famous and wealthy enough so I can hire a chef and housekeeper, so we can just have fun when I’m not writing.

            Until then, I’ll cook and do the laundry and do marginal cleaning, but there’s no service with a smile here. Just can’t do it – I’m not a Stepford wife. I’m not a wife AT ALL!!!  

            But I am a mother, and I must be doing something of a decent job because my kids are interesting and funny and I’m proud to know and be affiliated with them. And when we sit down to dinner – I do smile and enjoy myself. I wish we could just cut to the chase.

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