A few weeks ago, I came across the book trailer for the Dinner: A Love Story book. As a huge fan of their blog, I immediately watched the trailer and then made M do the same. After admiring the dinner diary (and huge amount of work) that went into the book, M asked me, “So, years from now when you write a book, what will it be about?”
(Yes, let’s take a leap right now and assume that, someday, I will write a book, somewhat based on this blog.)
“Umm… I don’t know. Parenting, maybe? Or maybe about this thing I am feeling now about creativity and my passions. That for the first time in my life I’m actually writing and drawing and doing these things that I love. I’m making time for them and I’m making time to get better at them and really work on them.”
M stared at me with a look I know well. It’s the look that says ‘brace yourself, here it comes.’
“But you don’t ever write about those things on your blog.”
“No… I don’t.”
“I don’t know… Every time I sit to write for my blog, I feel like I have to write about Baby.”
And then, the ultimatum:
“Raising Humans is about raising the humans.” he said. “That includes you. You should talk about how you are growing too. Start writing about you on you blog. The next thing I read on your blog will be about you, not about Baby or parenting but about you. Promise?”
You see, this is what happens when the smartest person you know is also the person who reads everything you write is also the love of your life is also the person who sits next to you and asks you the tough questions and pushes you.
So I’ve been trying it. My last few posts have been about me. No Baby stories. Just me.
And… it feels weirdly decadent to write about myself and my passions. Baby is, of course, a passion of mine. And it is easy to write about her. She is dynamic. She is her own little person. Her evolving personality is as much her doing as mine. Time spent pursuing the honorable mission of raising her the best way I know how is clearly time well spent.
Writing, drawing, photography – these are also worthy passions. They are creative. They give me a release that I need in order to feel balanced and like I am being true to myself. I can use these passions for all kinds of good. But they are all mine. The words on the screen, the lines on the page, the exposures, they are all my doing. And they take time. Time I could otherwise be spending on Baby (or M, or other family and friends…).
It feels selfish enough to do these things, let alone write about them and draw attention to them.
And yet, I know he is right. I know that to be a true recording of our memories, a true space for me to explore, a true reflection of me, this space needs to include more of me.
As with all things, it is, inevitably, a balance. One I am clearly still figuring out how to strike.
How do you strike this balance? How do you balance time needed for your passions and time spent with family? How do you balance writing about your family and really letting your passions come alive when you write?