Sprout is recovering from a sinus infection this week*. As a consequence of a stuffed nose and an icky disposition she's very clingy and doesn't want anything to do with food or drink other than breast milk. As she sits on my lap nursing, I'm aware of the smell of berry-flavored antibiotics and yet another wet diaper blending in a not entirely unpleasant way. My mind is wandering and making lists of the things that I'm supposed to be getting done.
I knew when we decided to have a child that, during the day at least, everything else in my life would come second to taking care of Sprout's needs. On days like today, that means that writing a blog entry can take 4 or 5 hours or that any hope that I might have had of catching up with business correspondence or shipping is doomed. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't counting the minutes until Sprout's dad walks through the door and I can go into the bathroom by myself or, even better, go out to the studio for a couple of hours and try to get some work done for the craft fair which I have coming up in less than 2 weeks.
My goals now are so much different from my goals before Sprout entered our life. I used to dream of writing the definitive book on ceramic beadmaking and traveling around the U.S. and the world teaching workshops. Now, I dream pensively of typing a complete sentence with both hands.
It is hard sometimes not to think about these changes as a narrowing of my horizons or a loss of momentum. I've heard other women artists speculate that the reason that there are so few important female artists is that women throughout history have allowed their careers to be hijacked by childrearing and then caring for aging parents. Whatever progress has been made in the last 30 years, women are still the lower wage earners, and if one income must be sacrificed, it comes down to us to fall upon our swords. That's what the "mommy wars" are all about, isn't it?
I have to admit though, as I listen to my little Sprout laughing as she watches Noggin, it's really hard to think of her as an interruption. Instead, most times I find myself closing the cover of my laptop and inviting her into my lap so that I can laugh with her.
* This entry was actually written in mid-march, soon after our return from vacation in North Carolina. Our Sprout brought the sinus infection home with her as a special momento. She was so sick on the trip home and it actually really scared me a lot that she was feverish and miserable... Her daddy and I took her to Urgent Care almost as soon as my parents dropped the kiddlet and I off at the house. (Daddy didn't get to join us for the whole vacation.)
28 June 2006 -- Edited at the request of Sprout's father.