This feels wrong.
Not wrong, like in a “this is seedy and immoral” way. Not wrong in a “I’m not doing this right” sort of way. And I don’t mean wrong like “this is the wrong medium for my message” either. What I mean is that at the moment, making a blog post doesn’t feel like the best use of my time because I’m neglecting cleaning the living room and doing a little laundry.
But the reason I’m doing the blog post is because last night I stayed up following through on some obligations I made as part of my church council that really didn’t get anywhere and I found myself thinking that I hadn’t written anything for a while, and maybe should do that instead. And the reason I was up late doing the church stuff was because instead of doing it earlier in the day I was doing things around the house. And so it goes.
My life is less like the spinning plates analogy and more like deciding who I want to serve with the plates I have at any given moment, like at a dinner. Most decisions I make about where to take a plate of food to most often feels like neglect for all my other tables. I have the hardest time answering the most common lead introductory question from strangers in America: “So What Do You Do?” The answer is usually either “I’m a writer” or “I’m a stay-at-home dad” depending on the audience and whether I see an opportunity to pother someone with the latter one, like when I’m amid a group of Promise Keepers at an interdenominational gathering as a representative of a church council. Never gets old.
I am a stay-at-home dad, and I have been very proud and upfront about it. I am also proud and active in my activities as a writer. But both roles have been growing exponentially, and the time in a day hasn’t. I have gone from one child to three, and doubled or tripled the number of projects I’m working on at any time from when I started staying at home with Emily in 2004. In the last year, I had to do two things that I had never conceived I would do: 1.) turn down good-paying freelance work because of the time commitment and 2.) get someone to nanny my kids for me on a short-term basis in order to free me to get some writing done.
It doesn’t help that life has poor timing. It’s always the week after I turn down an assignment that the car breaks, and it’s always the week after I take one where Emily lays the guilt trip on me for not helping out at her school. When my wife comes home from work and “all I did” was play with the kids all day and take care of them, I feel guilty that I didn’t send out a query or something and try to bring in some more money. If she comes home and I got to work most of the day because the kids played by themselves or slept or watched videos, then I feel guilty about not having taken them outside that day. Whatever I choose to do, the other things feel like they would have been more productive.
Even now, as I type on one hand, my inner alarm bells are telling me it took way too long to write this, and it’s time to get to picking up the living room. Except little baby Kirsten, whom I just fed a bottle with the other hand, has fallen asleep on my chest, making getting up, moving around, and cleaning up quite difficult.
I might just have to sit here until something happens to me.