Margot Merrill on modern parenthood and the writing life

24Apr/120

Hard to say

It's hard to say you need help. You haven't got it figured out. Your shit don't make no sense.

That sounds very dramatic, right? One reason I'd never say any such thing.

But it has been a long time since I've written you. I've been thinking and fretting and falling apart a bit. Happens sometimes. You know, when you've got too much going on? And you want to know the answer, and where it's all heading, but you don't? Yeah. That's where I've been. Feeling sucky.

Before my suck-fest, Rafael was home for a gloriously long time–5 months including the holidays. Everything was rolling. And then...

1) Rafael got a big project in LA. Followed by another one.

Yea! Work! It pays for everything! Sweeeeet.

But with the exception of two nights, he was gone for four weeks. And here, we had Sickness. Alejandro had a fever for fours days so I couldn't work, Story woke up one night with croup (terrifying to be alone holding her, wondering how I'd take Ali to the emergency room.) It all just got to me. It was rough. And when I say rough, mean hard-as-shit hard. I wish I was tougher. I wish I could do it all.

And I pretty much did, for those four weeks.

2) Then I crashed and burned.

You could call it a "depressive episode" or just a "big deep crash" after an extended period of stress. But it got dark there in my head for a bit.

Today I feel better. But I'm still looking at the Modern Parent's Puzzle. How to balance competing needs:

  • to hang out with family at home
  • to pay for that home
  • to give the tots the best caregivers and education; the best start
  • to pay for all that TLC
  • to do laundry and buy food and clean up again and again
  • to have down time
  • to talk, even once in a while, with friends
  • to sleep
  • to laugh with the kids and listen to their stories and take them to the park and read books and eat popcorn with them

Is this list ambitious, or just a given? I clearly haven't figured out the solution.

I just have to feed Alejandro, wash my face, and go off to San Francisco now.

More later. Thanks for being here,

Margot

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