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I recently wrote a blog post about resolving social and solitary time. I’ve found I’ve become adept at being social when the kids are home (including email, Twitter, promotional stuff) and solitary every second they’re away. I take my husband’s offers of help and I don’t feel guilty, ever.
I couldn't be more pleased with the result.
When my kids were little, other mothers told me it gets easier as the kids grow up. I want to tell you how true this is. My children became more independent and able to understand/empathize that I needed my own time. The issues of constant labor for others and the safe vs. the unsettling still are there, but more doable.
LIFE IS HOSTILE. IT POUNDS YOU. ACCEPT IT. FIND HAPPINESS.
I feel it too. I have tried to say it to my husband; I have tried to say, “I hate my life.” I have tried to say, “I need help.” I have tried to explain why I am finding being a mother so difficult, but in the face of his questions, my explanations collapse. It isn’t exactly that spending time with the children is so horrible. I mean, sometimes it is, sometimes we have a bad day, but most of the time it is relatively pleasant: we go to the store, we go to the park, everyone is well behaved, the three-year-old says something cute, the baby does something new. The problem is not in what I am doing. The problem is in what I am not doing, which is writing every day, but which is also leading a life of the mind.
Beautifully written and so precise. THANK YOU, just perfect.
For me, the conflict between motherhood and my life as a writer is not so much Brooks’ fear that art’s job is to unsettle, while a mother’s job is to make safe. I unsettle and disturb my children all the time. I remain unconcerned that my safe, middle-class life as a stay at home mom makes me less edgy or interesting. I view my own interestingness as being directly related to the thoughts I think and the work I do rather than the aesthetics of my leisure time. After all, Wallace Stevens was an executive at an insurance company. The idea that parenting is any more boring than working at an insurance agency is absurd.