I have been sick for four weeks now. When I have thought about writing this post, I draw a blank. Finding that the topics that are sticking in my head are my toddler’s new ability to fully undress himself, the constant mess that is my house, the unending mountains of laundry and the bags that have taken up residence under my eyes. As a writer, I try to carve out time in my day for writing and thinking about writing. But sometimes, all I get is laundry to fold and a trip to the grocery store because the fridge is suddenly empty. Being sick does not fit well into this already cramped picture of my life. There is no time to be sick.
I was talking to my dad earlier today and I told him I wish I had less interests so I could really focus on just one or two. The fact of the matter is that even if I was only interested in writing or making art, there still wouldn’t be enough time or brain energy some days to commit to creating something new. There just isn’t. Sometimes all that we can hope for is to clean the toilet or fold one basket of clothes before we are rewarded with a few hours of sleep.
It has taken me a while to come around to that being ok. When my identity shifted to being a parent when my son was first born, I was so caught up with all of his firsts that I forgot to remember what fulfills my soul beyond his great big blue eyes. Then one day, I remembered me. I remembered that I love to write and I love to make beautiful art and I love to run. I think it is so important that my son see me carving out time for myself, for doing the things that have always made me happy. It is important that he see that he is a great big part of my universe, but that I exist outside of him and that he can always exist on his own terms, too.
Really, I don’t wish I had less interests. I just wish there were more hours in the day that don’t require sleep or cleaning or cooking. That way, I could laugh and play with my boy in the sunshine and stay up late putting my thoughts down. So that way, nothing would have to give. Reality is that sometimes things have to give. Sometimes the laundry doesn’t get folded and sometimes I stay up too late trying to feed my soul. And that is ok.
Betsy Fife Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Master of Social Work degree from Smith College. She has spent seven years as a therapist working with children, adolescents and families of all configurations in various contexts. She has presented to college audiences in Massachusetts and North Carolina around being a queer parent, being in a long-term relationship and working against unjust laws that make her marriage in legal limbo outside of the northeast. She is a founding member of YouthPride, a queer youth organization started in Atlanta in 1995 that continues to this day. Betsy continues to volunteer her time with the Campaign for Southern Equality, an organization based in Asheville North Carolina which serves to promote the “full humanity and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in American life and to increase public support for LGBT rights.” Betsy is also an active artist specializing in hand-hooked rugs, fine art embroidery and wedding photography. Betsy teaches fiber arts workshops across the south and photographs weddings wherever someone will pay her to go. Betsy lives in Asheville, NC with her partner of more than 15 years and their amazing toddler son. Betsy is working with her friend and fellow blogster, Charlotte Caponga-Amias, on a guidebook about becoming a queer, non-gestational parent. She and Charlotte blog at turkeybasterandabottleofwine.wordpress.com.