Mother, May I Write?

My entire life has been lived in anticipation.

If you’ve read my earlier posts you know that I am the youngest of four and the only girl. There were many benefits to being the youngest, the only girl and the only red-head (a trump card I used to advantage many times!) I knew how to get my way and to get my brothers in trouble while I was at it. But the one thing that I absolutely hated about being the youngest was that I was forever being told what to do.

I couldn’t open my eyes without someone telling me where to be, what to do there and how to do it. Although it bothered me to no end to have things dictated to me, as I got older I didn’t mind the constant direction. I don’t mind being told what to do, as long as a certain respect comes along with it. When I was younger the directions came with a sneer because I was the youngest. I didn’t know how to do anything. People who tell me how to do things now do it with a respect that they’d show an equal, not as if they were talking to a child, which makes it a huge difference in how I respond.

Unfortunately, since I got used to being told what to do I am still waiting for someone (my mother, Sparky, God, the local Starbucks barista) to tell me its ok to write. I often find myself sitting in front of my computer feeling like I need to ask permission to do this and that pisses me off.

Instead of creating a world of mischief and intrigue for my characters I start to think, “I should be doing the dishes” or “I should get the kids snacks ready” or “I should irrigate the lawn.” My back stiffens and I look nervously around the room as if someone is going to jump out of the mud room with their finger wagging, “You’re doing something fun while you’re should be doing housework. I’m telling!”

Why? Why do I feel like I need permission to do something fun? I’m adult. I make sure my kids are taken care of before I settle down in front of the computer. Sure, the housework can pile up every now and then, but thankfully I have a partner that knows how to step in and help out in that area. Ok, so most times he waits until putting a dirty dish in the sink its like playing a twisted game of Jenga where you place the dish on top in hopes that the hole thing didn’t come crashing down. The kids love the anticipation.

In short, I’m not used to being able to do things just because I want to.

Don’t worry, I obviously overcome it. I don’t think I could stop writing now that I have started. It changed me, for the better. Permission or not, I’m doing it, so there.

Have you ever felt this way? Is there anything that you want to do that makes you feel guilty for doing it? Do you let your chores fall by the wayside in order to do what you want? Does anyone ever jump out of darkened corners threatening to tell on you?

 

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About Karen DeLabar

A writer who divides her time between her family and her computer while sparing some time to her other loves of theatre, books and scotch.
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9 Responses to Mother, May I Write?

  1. Ana Quinn says:

    I have the same problem at times with feeling like I am doing something I shouldn’t when I write. There are dishes, laundry, dusting, and vacuuming to be done. I think it is all those years as a housewife. 🙂
    Lucky for us, Pookie and Sparky have not only given us permission to write, but they have encouraged it. Now we just need to convince ourselves they mean it.

    • Kaye Peters says:

      I’ve resigned myself to the fact that its just the curse of the youngest sibling rearing its ugly little head. It’s a scary feeling knowing that you can basically do whatever you want and there will be no one there looking over your shoulder making sure you’re doing it right.

      It was like a security blanket growing up; knowing someone would fix my mistakes when I made them.

      Yet at the same time I’m super excited that writing is my choice and I’m very happy that I get the chance to do it everyday on my own accord.

  2. Lisa says:

    I often feel this way, but then I realized that writing makes me happy, and when I am happy the rest of the family is happy. I think you should create a fabulous screen saver, with images that you love and these words emblazoned across the screen: YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO WRITE!!!!

    • Kaye Peters says:

      Oh. My. God. That is the best idea I have ever heard of! We should erect a statue in your likeness in honor of your greatness. (Ana, get on that.)

      Thanks for the suggestion – I think I will honestly do that. 🙂

      • Lisa says:

        Hmmm, that might be going a little overboard, especially as I have yet to reveal my likeness on a regular basis in the blog. 😉 I have yet to find the right picture. I will accept a mere mention in the acknowledgements of your most famous book, “Thanks to the Women Wielding Words who gave me permission to write” or something like that. 😉 Only kidding, of course. I hope it helps!

  3. Kaye Peters says:

    Lisa,
    You’re too funny. I’m so glad you stopped by our blog. 🙂

  4. Great blog post, Kaye!

    Yes! For quite awhile, I have felt guilty for doing something I love, writing! Sometimes, I even get mixed messages from my husband and family, which piles on the guilt. Just a few weeks ago, I (finally) forced myself to write all day and “pretend” it’s my real job (I’m a housewife), and so far it’s going pretty well. Yes, the laundry is a mile high, we’re running out of clean silverware, but at least I get most of it taken care of at night or on the weekends. In the end, if the husband and cat are fed, then I’m happy, and so are they! 🙂

    • Kaye Peters says:

      That’s great that you’re writing like that – good for you!

      I think I came to the realization that the person I’m seeking permission from may be in fact, myself. What a concept?!

      All I have to say is thank God for plastic utensils and paper plates because they come in handy once in awhile 😉

  5. Pingback: Mother, May I Write? | Γονείς σε Δράση

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