The Sweet Spot (Day #101)

I’m giddy.

Not because I now have a draft of my very first novel (which, as of 11pm last night, I do!!! Provided I’m willing to expand my definition of “draft” to include a piece of writing I won’t let anyone read). But because right now, I am right here.

And right here – in this particular moment, with this particular life – is exactly where I want to be.

(smile)

It worked.

This. My experiment. My premise.

IT WORKED.

Five days before Lil Mil was born, I said I wanted motherhood to be my “impetus for doing instead of an excuse for waiting.”

Four months later, I am emerging from the most – the most! – creative and productive period of my life.

Of. My. Life.

This did not happen automatically. This did not happen simply because I said it would. This happened because somewhere between then and now, I discovered what it really means to embrace a detour. I also learned what happens when you manage to do it.

You find the sweet spot.

Here’s the thing: when I started this project, pre-baby, I saw motherhood – and Life with a Newborn in particular – as this thing I was up against. An obstacle. An impediment. Something I need to conquer. Something I needed to control.

I treated motherhood like a rash. A energy-sucking, productivity-zapping, creativity-dulling rash.

Which is pretty much what it felt like those first few weeks after Lil Mil was born. There were moments when I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall, trying to just make it work. I didn’t want to be wrong. I didn’t want to look foolish. I wanted to be able to say, I DID IT. And, of course, I wanted that draft of my novel.

But it was so freaking hard. So. Freaking. Hard. So much harder than I thought it’d be. Not motherhood, but the juggling act of baby, boy, book and blog. There just weren’t enough hours in the day. I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions at once.

You are nodding your head right now. You know exactly what I mean.

Weeks passed. I struggled and struggled to find that perfect ratio of baby to boy to book to blog. I waited and waited for it to just click. For everything to fall into place. For it to stop being So. Freaking. Hard.

It never did.

And then, on Day #51, I took an old friend to dinner to celebrate her latest career milestone. As we were sipping cocktails and munching meatball sliders, I talked about this blog and how important it had become to me. How, through it, I had found my voice. Not as a writer (I’d like to think I already had that), but as a person. I felt cheesy saying this. More than a little cliched.

“It’s not the blog,” my friend said with a knowing smile. “It’s motherhood.”

It’s motherhood.

“You’re different now,” she told me. “Calmer. More serene. And you have this … self-assurance now. Ownership, maybe. Over yourself. Over who you are.” She smiled again, her eyes shining. “I’ve never seen you this happy.”

I am happy. Not in spite of my detour, but because of it.

In that moment, something changed. Everything changed.

I stepped into the sweet spot.

Life didn’t get easier. There weren’t more hours in the day or fewer things to get done. But after that night, the juggling and the balancing and the trying-to-figure-out-how-to-fit-it-all-in started to feel like part of the process instead of an impediment to it. I began to let myself enjoy the struggle, the tension between competing desires, the oh-so-many hats I’m required to wear. I let it be fun.

And it was. It is. So fun.

I am having the time of my life.

And so, today, I am giddy. Giddy with excitement. Giddy with joy. Giddy with the realization that what I have right now – a draft that’s rougher than I wanted it to be, a future that’s more uncertain than I’d like it to be, a savings account that’s smaller than I need it to be, a husband who’s more supportive than he has to be, and a daughter who is so much more than I ever imagined she’d be – is enough.

And that, I think, is the incredible, wonderful irony: the thing I feared would take me off track took me to the best place I’ve ever been.

Here.

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If you’re here from Momalom, please say hi! And check out the ETD Essentials on the sidebar for the backstory on my 100 day challenge.

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