Arrested Development*

Is there a type of arrested development that is specific to mothers, or at least stay-at-home parents?

Because I think I have that.

Lately I have been very focused on making life changes and getting my writing career started, or re-started (which it is, is arguable).

I’ve been reading a ton about setting and achieving goals, as well as books about writing — mastering the craft, finding time to write, building a writers platform and so on. And it has struck me that I’m exactly where I was ten years ago.

Incidentally, ten years ago I was pregnant with Neko, and she’s now nine and quite self-reliant.

Does this happen to all of us? Any of us who had dreams or career goals or creative pursuits aside from mothering? Our youngest turns ten or so and we feel the need to really hustle, suddenly, and then we come across a journal from when we were 21 and realize we still have those SAME goals and dreams and we still haven’t gotten any closer to them?

Wait, let me change that a bit.

Does this happen to all of us who started having babies young?

Because maybe this isn’t a thing that happens to people who have their first kid at 28, 30, 35. They’re on this happy career train and they’ve built a name and a resume for themselves and then they have a kid or kids and they know what they need to do to keep that train moving or at least waiting for them at the station until they’re ready to hop back on board.

It’s an odd feeling, isn’t it? Feeling so fired up to get going on your writing, your art, your dream of a university degree, and looking around at others your age and realizing they’re ten years ahead of you. And then looking around at your competition and realizing they’re 20. And god, they have so much energy and they know all the coolest bands you haven’t heard of yet and they’re working on publishing deals and gallery shows and then you sit down to watch Girls and you love it but at the same time HOW OLD ARE THEY?!

But yeah, you have this awesome kid or these awesome kids. And you know that all these young’ns will be so tired chasing a toddler at 39 years old and that brings you some measure of satisfaction.

How is it that I still don’t understand how to pitch an article properly, that I’ve still never been featured in a national magazine, that I don’t have these really amazing connections that it seems like everyone else has?

But hey guys, we’re raising the next generation over here to be rad feminists and make the world a better place and that Costco trip isn’t going to run itself because god damn, do these kids eat a lot.

And yes, I know there are tons of parents who achieve creative greatness with little ones underfoot. Hell, I’m friends with some of them. I’m not saying parenting is an excuse. It’s just that I know I’m not the only one to find myself in this place.

Now what?

*Yes, I love the show as much as you do. Sorry if you feel misled**.

**Once in Gr. 8 I had to read a textbook passage aloud in class and the word “misled” was used repeatedly throughout. I pronounced it “MY-zuld” each time and when I finished the whole class and the teacher snickered for the longest time. Thanks for pointing it out the first time, jerks.

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