16 March 2009

Missing brunch

Damn it! I missed our SuperNOVA brunch meeting this week. It was scheduled a week earlier than usual, for various reasons, and this suited me perfectly. On Tuesday I have assignments due for my novel class, and a test for my editing students, so I'm going to be busy marking next week. Plus I've just accepted a commission to edit a novel for a small press publisher, and it's on a rather short timeline. (I had thought I was going to be busy on it this weekend, but as things have turned out, I haven't received the manuscript yet. I do try not to take on editing jobs as editing time replaces writing time, but usually my jobs have been nonfiction, and fiction is where my heart lies, so I thought I should take this on. Plus it's good for me to keep my hand in. I like to do at least a job a year, and I didn't do one last year, so it was time.)

Instead of brunch, I spent the day sitting in a hospital waiting room with my son. He'd hurt his arm the previous Thursday, but hadn't been too fussed by it. It was nicely bandaged up, but I was getting suspicious by the fact that a few spots were tender, but most movement was okay, so I didn't think it was a sprain, but perhaps a fracture. Sure enough, a bone is broken, and he's now sporting a cast, and I'm feeling like a heel for not having it attended to earlier. But I suppose I walked around on a fractured pelvis for three days too, till I told my mum it was hurting badly enough to warrant a trip to the doctor's.)

Instead of talking writing with my SuperNOVA friends, I got to do some reading, some people watching and thinking about issues (mainly to do with hospitals, funnily enough). Perhaps it was important to my son that I gave up my brunch (which he knows I value) for him. Too often he makes the accusation that I put my work (whether it's my teaching or my writing) before him. This time he was first. It's often a matter of priorities. If I have to have student papers marked, I have to have them done, and I'll stay home to do them rather than attend the family picnic. It's just the way I've been brought up to be: my dad's working class work ethics: work hard and never take a day off sick unless you're nearly dying. But family is important too. We have to make time for them. 

When I was early on my journey of taking my writing seriously and with small children, some of my friends would tell me to always put my family first, that I'd never regret it. My impatience didn't allow me to always do this. But I've never put it so far in front that it sidelines my family either. Both are important to me. I don't always strike the right balance, but I try. That's all any of us can do, really.


Lisa66 said...

I hope Sir T's arm is feeling better now that it's been attended to.

You know I think that people often forget that we mothers are people too. We are not superhuman and we have needs too. Sometimes work does HAVE to come first. Especially when it is that work that is helping to put food on the table, or pay for excursions, or whatever. And it's OK for us to make time to do the things that make us happy too. Of course our families are important but we are important too. I'm sure there's some saying about a happy mother making a happy family.

Tracey said...

You're absolutely right. I used to tell myself that when our kids were in kinder and the other mothers were going off shopping together, and I was going home to write. I estranged myself from them, but it was a price I was willing to pay for my writing. Sometimes, I still think it was selfish, but at others I realise we have to be a little bit selfish about our art too. If we don't, it will be strangled by all those demanding commitments. Those demanding children! But thank you for the reminder. It was a very timely one!