People sometimes ask me why I bother. Writing is hard. Authors spend hours upon hours upon hours of their time working on stories that people . . . might not love. But, if you want to succeed, you have to work hard. It’s something that’s becoming more apparent the older I get.
Yes, spending time with family is important. If you have children, they’re only going to be young once, and no one can ever get that time back. But, that doesn’t mean you have to stop being you. It doesn’t mean that your needs are no longer important.
I started my family when I was fairly young. Having children young comes with many pros and cons. Even though my hellions are growing older, running farther, and playing harder, it’s still easy for me to find the energy to keep up. And, while many of my friends are dealing with diapers and night feedings, these days I sleep pretty well. My husband and I are enjoying some great years right now: the years between babyhood and the teenage terrors, the years when our kids still want to play with us.
But, when our first hellion came along, like most new mommacitas, I was completely unprepared. I became a stay-at-home parent. I went from being an incredibly social, outgoing 22-year-old to becoming an introvert at 23. For a long time I obsessed over being perfect. I (stupidly) thought I could fix the “mistakes” of my own upbringing by getting everything right.
A funny thing began to happen as my kids grew older. I matured, too. My outlook changed completely. I realized that my parents never made mistakes with me, not really. Because parents are people. Most of us are just trying to do the best we can. When I realized that, I felt like I could breathe again. I didn’t have to be perfect. I just had to do the best I could.
I have two kind, smart, incredible stepdaughters and three funny, witty, intelligent kids, who need help with homework, who need to be loved, who need my attention. But, on the flip side of that coin, a parent should never become so wrapped up in their children that they lose sight of their own dreams and aspirations. It’s not healthy for the parent, and it’s not healthy for the child. One day, my kids are going to move out. I want to lead them by example. I want them to know that I worked hard on my dream so that they’ll work hard on theirs.
So, I woke up at 4am to write this morning. I tried to get my five hundred words in . . . but ended up hitting that delete key more times than I care to admit. Tonight, I’ll have to try again. Some people think of that as torture. But, I’m going to do my best to become my best. No one is going to write my book for me. No one is going to make sure I get the time I need to write but ME. Unlike the characters in my book, we only get one life, and I would hate to look back on mine one day and think, “If only I’d tried just a little bit harder . . . .”