Hi there! I’m taking a 15 minute “coffee break” today to blog with you.
I write it, you read it. That’s how it goes. Unless you care to comment. That makes me even happier! Go on…
Have you ever gotten home from work just exhausted, flat-out drained, and sunk into the couch thinking, “I don’t even have the energy to call the pizza delivery guy, much less talk with my spouse and family.”
Yeah, I feel that way some days. My head is buzz buzz buzz from brainstorming and meetings and conference calls, and then I crash.
When I was a journalist, I had a housemate, another reporter who worked in my newsroom. Sometimes we’d both get home from a deadline day, take one look at each other, and head to our respective rooms. It wasn’t personal. Robin just said, “I’m all out of words,” and that was that.
But as a parent, I no longer have that luxury. I have two little people, Drew (age 3.5) and Audrey (11 months), and I find myself constantly teaching, talking, comforting, explaining. There is no break in the action, no opportunity to just tune out for the evening.
One of the teaching topics I visit occasionally with Drew is helping him learn things about our family. How to spell our last name, our address and phone numbers, and what his parents do for work. My husband’s a professor of mechanical engineering with a PhD in chemical engineering.
Guess how easy it is to teach that to a three-year-old?
We started with “Daddy is a teacher. He teaches big people.”
Now we’re onto “Daddy teaches a science called engineering to college students.” I think that’s stellar understanding for age three. And if you have (or had) a preschooler, you’ll know the ultimate follow-up question to any statement of fact, no matter how obvious.
Why. Why? Why? Why?
As we were describing Derek’s job and mine (“Mommy sells big buildings” and “Mommy teaches marketing” is our interpretation of my role in marketing commercial real estate), Drew asked why do we do our jobs?
Here’s one answer: “So we can get money to pay for everything we have, like our house and our food and our clothes, and so that we can take you fun places like the zoo.” Yep, I used that answer one time shortly before a trip to Seattle for work.
When I got home from Seattle, Drew asked, “Mommy, did you go to Seattle? For work?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Did you get money?”
“Then can we go to the zoo?” Drew asked. Dang. That kid doesn’t miss a thing!
So this time, when he asked why we do our jobs, I told him another truth: “Because we like to. Daddy does science because he likes it. I do marketing because I like it. When you grow up, you can pick a job you like. What do you like to do?”
Drew didn’t have to think long.
“I like to paint!” he declared.
“Well, sweetie, when you grow up, maybe you can be an artist.”
Drew didn’t miss a beat. “I’m already an artist,” he said seriously. “I paint every day.”
Whoa, didn’t that just knock me back on my heels!
And so the truth I take away from that exchange is this: Don’t wait until you ‘grow up’ or some other milestone to give you permission to be what you want to be.
Be it now. Right now.
I call myself a “novelist” even though I’ve only written one and a half novels. I’m not waiting for an agent or a publisher to give me a nod before I can suddenly claim that title. I wrote a novel, I am therefore a novelist. Drew paints, right now, he is therefore an artist.
What you want to be? Can you claim it right now? Make what you want to be who you are (and introduce yourself accordingly). Go on. Do it. GO.