Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'm (Not) #1!

Yesterday brought a professional disappointment in the form of a rejection email. It's not as dramatic to click and open: "Great piece. It's just not right for us at this time. Keep writing!" as it was back when I had to tear open a self-addressed, stamped envelope that arrived in a stack of mail. But the sting is the same.

I wonder if I will ever get mature enough to keep rejection from clouding my day. I am fully aware that the world is crammed with writers far more eloquent and clever than I. And I know very well that writing, once you nail the grammar rules, is a subjective exercise. I suspect mathematicians never feel rejected professionally. Numbers either add up or not. No opinion gets in the way of what's right and what's wrong.

When I was a young writer (and soon to become a young mother) the prevalent message was "You can have it all!" I think "having a bit of both" is more realistic. "All" is just too much to wrap up and hold in two arms. (Honestly, if you have help in the form of nannies, house cleaners, trainers, etc., you actually have what you want and have delegated the rest. And good for you who can afford to do so.)

The problem with having a bit of both is that I will likely never be outstanding at either. Most days I'd say I am a good mom. And most days I'd say I am a good writer. But there's not really a day when I'd say I am great at either. And I can promise there's not a day when I can say I am great at both. Throw the good wife role into the mix and it's tough to even pick up what I choose to carry on any given day.

I'm not ever going to be that mom who makes a hot breakfast every morning, but I will make sure we have your favorite cereal and enough syrup for the frozen waffles. I'm never going to hit a bestseller list, but I will keep writing and trying to improve. I'm probably not going to greet my hubby with his slippers and a daily massage, but I will do what it takes so he doesn't forget that he's my favorite person.

Maybe maturity is figuring out that running in the middle of the pack is just fine. Superstars up front. Slackers in the back. Those of us with our hands full can keep each other company.


  1. Good post, Susanna. "A bit of both," so true. Still, I sometimes find it hard not to compare myself with writers who seem to combine fiction writing and kid-raising so easily. (Thinking of one literary novelist with four kids who has produced a bunch of great novels and short stories...oy!)

  2. Some of us only have one job - raising 4 kids and feel like we are still only good at what we do instead of great (what we hoped to be). Sometimes the only hope is to remember we are doing exactly what God has asked us to do!

    Keep writing your "good" blogs and running with those of us in the middle of the pack!