Tag Archives: parenthood

Expectations of a Mom and a Writer…


We are all born with expectations. Expectations of how our life should be. Expectations of how people should act and what to expect. 

The dictionary defines this term as:–noun. 1. the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation. 2. the act or state of looking forward or anticipating. 3. an expectant mental attitude:  .And every day, these ideas are shot and shredded by  some person with a Glock, laughing his or her head off at the human race. At least, in my world.

Let’s talk parenthood. As everyone knows, my first son trotted off to school and I anticipated what would happen. My disastrous orientation only fueled my fears. To update my dear peeps, I will tell you when the bus pulled away, I collapsed onto the driveway in a state that foreshadowed a funeral and not the first day of school.   The bus driver promptly stopped the bus to call out the window if she needed to call an ambulance, thinking I had a heart attack. Bless my husband. He just waved her off while I sobbed and said I was always like this. Great first impression.

Got myself together and followed the bus to school. Parked the car, raced out with Joshie hanging from my hip to be promptly told by the crossing guard I was not able to park there.  I burst into tears. She then waved me onward, stating first time kindergarten mothers could park there. I rushed in to make sure Jake did not wander off somewhere and get lost, and was impressed by the organized chaos in the building and realized they had all the kids under a strict watchful eye. I snuck into his classroom to find him sitting perfectly still in his seat. When he spotted me, he gave a big grin and waved, “HI, Mommy.” I asked about the bus ride which he replied “Was fun.” With nothing seemingly to worry about, I trudged off and spent the next few hours crying and marveling that my son was ok without me.

The days have passed with normalcy and my expectations of sheer disaster have been averted.

When Joshie started pre-k, I was feeling quite confident. He was more social than Jake and knew the teachers. I assumed he’d kick me to the curb in a minute and I would trot off happy. NOT. He clung and weeped and did not want to participate for most of the session. Needless to say, I got in late to work because I stayed, completely nonplussed that each child had done what was least expected.  A lesson that keeps repeating over and over and over….

Expectations.

How about marriage? Whew – that one is interesting. I used to think finding my soul mate would defy all odds of normalcy. Marriage expectations are so unfair, because they are based on dating. Dating your soul mate rocks. Sex all the time, dinners out, partying to all hours and sleeping in late. You actually go places and see things of culture and interest. You actually talk about meaningful topics. Why wouldn’t you expect it to go onward and upward?

My husband and I passed our 6 year anniversary and my hope of all hopes was to go and see a movie together. Maybe even get to talk over a slice of pizza. We are not sex/love partners. We are work partners. We have crap to do: take care of the kids, the house and pay our bills. We like to watch Survivor together and Big Brother for fun. When I am excited to tell my husband about something, I have to rush through the story because the kids sense they are not the focus of our lives and hurriedly try to halt the conversation immediately and loudly.

 And the sex?  The last time I was exhausted and asked him why we were doing it again so soon. He sadly informed me of the real length of time that had passed. Quite embarrassing, so I won’t share here.

Expectations.

Let’s take our writing. I expect certain things from characters or myself and get waylaid each time.  During the writing of The Marriage Bargain (which I am still trying to sell), my secondary character leapt off the page. I had originally been using her as a subplot, but she was so dynamic and stubborn, she completely overshadowed my poor heroine. So, I decided to dump her and give her her own book. Have not started it yet but she is still bothering me – tugging at my subconscious consistently saying, “What about me?” in a demanding voice. This one does not whine, she demands and she gets. But I am still unsure what man is a match for her – I think I have him but until I am completely certain, she is going to have to stay put.

Don’t you love when you are writing with a plan in mind and suddenly, the book evolves into something completely different? Characters are organized and plots are loosely laid. You can actually eke out a synopsis, thank God, and maybe sell it on proposal with the first three chapters. Then you begin writing only to discover you were so very wrong, and now have to quit the book or change it. These little devils of our imagination literally grow in leaps and bounds and take over the book. Of course, they don’t give a crap. They are not paid for their story – it’s all on us to sell them – but they just want to be born and do what they want. 

Expectations.

The good news? You know there is always good news. The surprise element. When our expectations do not go as planned and the outcome is even better. When the book soars to new heights defining any outline. When your child makes you laugh out loud or cry because they have done something completely unexpected and suddenly you SEE them for who they are. When your husband buys you a diamond ring in the Cayman Islands and shrugs the whole thing off because he just loves you, and isn’t that reason enough?

Time…


Cliché after cliché has been written about time. Time heals all wounds. Time passes so quickly. Time after time…and the list goes on.

The other day, I took my oldest son to get a haircut.  He was starting to look like a rockstar, and he likes getting haircuts, so we headed out and the stylist gave him a buzz cut for the hot summer months. As the hair fell off to the side and his face was revealed, I felt my heart literally jump out of my chest.

                He was getting older.

                His normal apple cheeks had thinned. His best asset was always his eyes, huge, chocolate brown with eyelashes any woman would be jealous of. Now those eyes dominated his older face and took on a different quality. The mischievous glint that always gleamed there danced in the light of the salon. I noticed he was much taller than the last time he sat on the chair, and he conversed with the stylist in a grown up manner.

                He was changing. Right before my eyes, on a daily basis, my first born baby was growing up.  Five years had passed like lightning – a blink of the eye – a moment in time. I remember thinking to myself: I hope I didn’t miss out on too much while he grew. I hope I didn’t wish away his age under the physical and mental exhaustion that is part of a being a mother in 2010.  And then I calmed because I knew, deep in my heart, that I had truly been there.

                Each moment of parenthood and life makes up the whole journey. And I had long way to go to witness many more moments. But I do remember…laughing at each disaster that occurred, and loving him in the best way I could day by day. I remember reminding myself that one day my son won’t be wanting to spend every moment with me, or kiss me openly, or hold my hand or snuggle and say “I love you.” A different time will be unearthed, and I will be truly there for that also.

                A little of my heart broke at that moment in the salon. It was a life changing revelation, and I was a little sad along with being proud.  This reminds me so much of my writing journey. In the beginning, my manuscripts were pure raw passion – unformed pieces that flew off the page and made me feel alive. As time passed, my thoughts and writing evolved and changed based on my age, experience, and journey.  They deepened in a way and I could only go onward, not back. I could never write like I once did because I was a different person. But I could accept the changes and make them the best they could – use the experience to forge something new.  I thought once I was published it would be so much easier to get published again, yet here I am five years later, still struggling to break back into the market, and write something for me and something that fits – the perfect blend that every writer struggles for.  I love my writing now, but it’s harder. Sometimes, I think I know too much, and it’s easier to get waylaid on the details rather than just hit the seat and fly.  Sort of like parenthood; and growing up.

                Children and writing are the two cornerstones in my world right now. My passion and devotion to them will make a mark on this world in my own way. Natalie Goldberg said it best, in her fantastic book, Writing Down the Bones:

                “Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live and die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles. We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have these magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all winters we are alive on the earth. We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter “  

We all buy yellow cheese, don’t we? And we all want to mark our place. Words on the page scream:: I WAS HERE. I lived and mattered and loved. Children do the same. Mistakes get made in both writing and parenthood, but as long as passion and good intentions are present, all of it will matter in the end.

Pay attention. If you pay attention to your writing – wherever you are and whatever you write – you will not be wasting precious time. Same thing for the kids – be in every crazy wonderful moment and you will never have any regrets as time marches on.