Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waiting for the "Perfect Moment"?

How many times have you heard someone say, or said yourself, "I'll do that when the timing is better?" It is often said of the decision to have children, to go on a trip or to embark on a new project, be it learning to knit, writing one's memoirs or getting all those photos into an album. Today, I wish to make the case for the near-impossibility of that elusive perfect moment.

First off, children. It always seems that there will be a better moment for beginning a family; when your career has gotten off the ground, when finances are more stable, when the house has been remodeled, or at the very least, completed, when you've both earned all of the degrees you wish to acquire, when you've played all of the video games you wish to play, read all of the novels, visited all of the countries, slept in all of the weekend mornings, etc. At what point do you say "when"? In reality, most likely when the pregnancy test reads double blue. More importantly, who says children are the end of all things free and easy?

Children bring so much more than they supposedly steal . The pure joy of your own tiny baby in your arms wipes out any other consideration you may have had before. Time flowing through your child's eyes is infinitely sweeter and clearer than when it is merely our own heartbeats drumming out the hours. This article:
"Are Children The Enemy of Productivity?"
says it better than ever I could, from the perspective of creativity and children according to historically given advice and a modern father's perspective.

Taking a trip, be it to go camping for a weekend or to the other side of the globe, is another thing to stall, for so many reasons. Work is busy right now, we have no money, the kids have a soccer tournament, a flute concert, want to be in a big theatre name it. While finances may be an issue, as with most things, where there is a will, there is a way. Your trip may be closer to home, shorter or with less frills than you'd like, but go anyway. Our trip last year to Lake Superior, should have included sailing around the Apostle Islands and classes to certify us as charter-worthy. Due to a shortage of funds, we neither rented a sailboat nor took classes, but merely camped for a week on land and enjoyed the empty beaches and perfect weather of September on the lakefront. Poor us. It was one of the most fantastic vacations we've ever taken. Even the day we had to do laundry in the town twenty minutes away became an adventure when we discovered a local bakery with good coffee and divine bread and scones, and my children had their first ever Dairy Queen ice cream cone. On the way home we spent two days in a town hosting the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. We listened to a library loan book on CD version of "Little House in the Big Woods" during the drive and the kids enjoyed a ton of free activities all over the town, cheap fun.

As to your own creative journey, I have just two words; start now. There will never be a finer, fitter moment to do so. Here are articles and books to help you on your way, "The Artistic Mother", by Shona Cole, the photography and illustrations in this one are so very gorgeous I would like to own it just for the beauty of it. "Big Purple Mommy: Nurturing our Creative Work, Our Children and Ourselves" by Coleen Hubbard, "Writing Mother, Tapping into Your Creativity as a Mother and Writer" by Lisa Garrigues , this article from a favorite blog:, Jennifer is a great source of inspiration on writing and motherhood. Please see "my favorite blogs" section at the bottom of the page as well, for a bunch of cool blogs written by creative mothers allowing themselves a little time for their inspiration to take form.


  1. This is so true. It's so easy not the live in the now, but keep planning for the future or thinking about the past. I've done both, but children normally draw you back to the here and now, especially the really little ones. Thanks for the interesting book recommendations.

  2. Hi Eva,

    Too true! The little ones enchant and engage us, keeping our attention here. The older ones, though, have long-term plans of their own, like "I'm going to be so rich I'll never have to pick up my own socks." In the mean time, we also have to keep them focused on the here and now; "You're not YET, so please pick up after yourself, now."

  3. Your description of the "pick up your socks child" sounds like my son, (or maybe my seven year old daughter). They are always in the bird world.

  4. Aren't they funny? And even on the days when you'd gladly ship them off to some shoe factory in India for a taste of "not fair" (and they, if you asked their opinion, would ship YOU to the end of the world and drop you off the edge), you know they are the most precious, wonderful part of your world.


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