April 12, 2016

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Annual Guilt Trip

It's summer. Hooray. Notice the absence of exclamation points.

I love having my children home for the summer. They are great kids. They get along (most of the time), and I really do enjoy their company.

However, it is not always good for my writing life. As I explain to my students when advocating for quiet writing time, composing poetry engages both hemispheres of the brain. The logic/math side is also home to your brain's dictionary, the awesome vocabulary you need to write a rich poem. The creative side of your brain helps a poet translate visual and sensory images into words, recreating experiences for the reader.

Exploration International.
So, with my whole brain concentrating, if a teenager interrupts my writing time to say "I can't find my socks," I short circuit. It feels a lot like getting a shock when you pull a cord out of an outlet too quickly. I have a hard time switching from that level of focus to laundry.

The push and pull of being a writing mom is never greater than from mid-June to August. That's why my biggest summer trip isn't to the beach or the woods. It is my annual Guilt Trip.

And, since this is only the second official day of summer vacation (13-year-old Julia finished school Friday), my children are happily laying on the guilt.

Here is Julia's parody of the Pink song, "Just Give Me a Reason."

Pink is a new mom. I wonder if she'll be taking a guilt trip this summer.
Enjoy, all you writing mommies and daddies. Then, let me know whether this should be a proud mom moment, or whether I should lobby for a worst parent of the year award.

Right from the Start
Parody by Julia

Right from the start
I had work to do.
It wasn't fun
but it needed to be finished.
You came along to the laptop
asking me for hugs
and I just couldn't focus.
Now I need to get this poem done,
Then we can have some fun,
Right now please leave me alone
so I can write

I'm sorry I don't understand
why you're so upset at me,
I only want a hug.
(I don't have time right now.)
Please don't get angry at me.
I'll just walk away slowly
so you can do your work.
(That would be very nice.)

Every time you do your work,
Your attention levels start to change,*
Why can't I just have a hug?
One hug. One hug.

Oh, llamas are cute**.
but you can't care
while you're working
at your laptop.
I want a hug. It'll just take a sec,
why can't you show me some love?

Here's the official Pink music video. I love this song. Julia and I are fond of singing it together in the car, when I am not busy writing.

*While I appreciate Julia's use of slant-rhyme in this line, I am even more relieved that she did not rhyme "work" with "jerk." As in: "You start to act like such a jerk."

**It's a family in-joke. Unless you're a Monty Python fan. Then you'll get it.


Linda B said...

I'm often surprised that young parents think it will be easier when their kids get older, but it isn't, is it? When you are just readying for bed, & the child shows up at 11pm or so, saying, "let's talk, Mom". Hard to say no, but... I think it is a push-pull, and at least you know some of the songs, Laura. Even with my kids grown, sometimes there is a little guilt trip-goes with motherhood maybe?

Ruth said...

This is fabulous. Glad I am not alone in the guilt-tripping. :-)

Linda, we were talking about this just this morning, that when they are babies you can meet their needs almost every time. Not so easy with a teenager!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Linda and Ruth. You're right. It doesn't get easier. It just changes. Nights are definitely hardest early on and then in the teen years. We had a long stretch when the children were in bed early enough that my husband and I could actually watch an entire movie. Uninterrupted. Still, I've enjoyed each stage for its own challenges and triumphs.