Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You Cannot Have it all. . .

It is summer. I am working. I missed going to see Kungfu Panda with my kids last week Monday. Our older daughter and son took the little ones as an outing while I worked.
I also missed going to see Wall-E with my kids two days later. My good friend knew I had a lot to do for my book (Images of America: West Linn) deadline and she offered to escort them. I was torn but also realistic. I had too much to do. I was happy that they would have fun without me.
Sort of.
I also skipped a musical at the University of Portland with my daughter and husband three weeks ago and an outing with my sister and kids.
Then on another recent weekend, my husband took the kids camping, again, sans Mom.
Usually, my work as a freelance writer and editor allows me to have flexible hours where I can go to the movies, go camping, go see musicals, but with this deadline looming for my book (which I actually had to extend), I have had to cut back way back.
I love my job. I hate missing out.
I don’t care what they say -- you cannot have it all. To borrow the title from the 2003 movie with Jack Nicholson, “Something’s gotta give.”
My friend, Shelley Mathewson, who is a professional musician and mom of three, struggles with this all the time. She wants to be there 100 percent of the time for her children, ages 18 to 9, yet she loves her music. She thrives on performing, stretching herself, growing creatively.
Yet, she hates missing out on activities for, and with, her children, which sometimes is required.
Every summer Shelley and her family travel to a music festival where she performs for the week. It is a family working vacation of sorts, and her musician husband also plays at the festival some years.
Shelley has wondered if she should give this summer activity up, but realizes it is a way to combine her work—her art and her passion—with her family life. To expose her children to the world of music.
During that week, though she has her kids with her, she does miss out on activities they do while she practices.
But, her children see her commitment to her art and how she’s living out her dream of being a professional musician. When work and our passion intersect, what a gift.
This summer as I labor toward completing my first book – a dream come true – but miss out on some family fun, I remind myself that my kids are seeing me complete a goal. Realize a dream. Do something I love. It does take sacrifice.
A couple of years ago, as I planned my “business trip” (okay, writer’s conference), my husband decided to take the kids canoeing and fishing and bicycle riding. There was talk of Smore’s to eat and crawdads to catch. All this fun to be had while I would be “working.”
I asked my husband (teasingly) if he could wait for me to go with him. While I was away, he could stay home and work around the house until we could go together. I just hate missing out.
He reminded me -- You cannot have it all.

My book website is www.westlinnbook.blogspot.com


Linda Austin said...

I spent the summer of 2007 working incessantly to meet a self-imposed deadline of finishing my book (after 10 years of now and then writing). We all lived through it, but my youngest begged me to never write another book! Sometimes we do have to meet deadlines, but I hope to never have to work that hard and that long again. All you can do is hug your husband and kids every day and tell them you love them.

Cornelia Becker Seigneur said...

that is so true - about recognizing your family...how'd the book turn out?

Cornelia Becker Seigneur said...

that is so true - about recognizing your family...how'd the book turn out?


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