Jaunty Post

Okay, let me lay the ground work here. My guy–The Geek–works with robots for a living. (The probably surprises no one since his nickname is The Geek.) In particular, he works with First Robotics, which is an organization whose goal is to turn robots (ie. science and technology) into a spectator sport for high school students to participate in.

This past week, the kids and I went with The Geek to the First Robotics World Championship. Picture 10,000 high school students screaming their enthusiasm. For science and engineering. It’s pretty freakin’ cool. I always get excited when I see teens excited about their learning.

But here’s the other thing that’s cool about going to events like this. My hubby is kind of a rock star there. When I introduce myself to strangers at these things and mention his name, people’s eyes light up. “Oh. Wow! Yeah, I know him from …” It’s very cool to see how valued he  is within that community. It’s doubly awesome because it’s a cause I believe in. He’s doing great things for the world and it makes me so proud! (And these kids! Wow, are they impressive! If you’re not familiar with First, you should totally look it up.)

When the kids and I go to these events, it’s mostly just to be supportive of The Geek. Sometimes, whole days go by when don’t even see him. Sometimes we’ll catch a meal or two with him. And I love that the kids get to see their daddy shine.

Despite all the wonderful things about going to things like this, there is a weird side effect. I end up feeling a bit invisible.Like I’m drowning in my role as mommy. This past week, I was wife and mother (and even daughter and granddaughter, ’cause I visited my grandmother first), but I wasn’t a writer at all. The huge thing that’s normally a huge part of who I am, got caught in the undertow and disappeared completely. This week, I was barely a writer at all. It’s weird for me. I came home feeling exhausted and bit unbalanced.

The good news is, next week, I’m heading out to Romantic Time’s Booklover’s Convention. I’ll get to be the writer 100% of the time. That too will be exhausting, but in a different way. But for now, I’m still drowning in mommy.

How do you find balance when you travel?


7 thoughts on “Robots, super stars, and drowning in mommy

  1. That’s a great question, Emily. Don’t know that I have an answer, but it’s true…sometimes we get to drop one side of ourselves for another. I kind of like those times, to be be honest. The hardest, I think, is having to be two things at once: mom and writer, as when I took my daughter to a writers conference. Still, it was worth it! My daughter said, “Mommy! You’re kind of famous!” 😉

  2. Shana Shana says:

    I kind of feel like Kristan, that it’s easier to be one or the other, instead of trying to be a writer and a mom when I go to an event. But it’s never fun to have all the responsibility of parenting dumped on you. I know USF felt that when we took Baby G to Orlando for the RWA conference a few years back. It was hard for me, too, because I felt I should be with them and also that I had other obligations. I wonder if dads feel the same?

  3. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    Your husband’s job sounds so cool, Emily!

    I agree with Kristan and Shane, most of the time its easier to be one or the other.

    I bet your husband feels the same way you did when he’s with you at a writers event…

  4. I’m with Shana and Kristan. It’s hard for me to do much of anything else when I’m writing. Or the writing is sacrificed when I have to be somewhere else or play another role. I just had a big dose of that when my father lived with us for about five months. I immediately fell into the daughter role, even though I was in my own house. It was hard to write with him in “my space” (even though I love him dearly and definitely wanted him here – see that’s daughter-me speaking). I admire authors who can write while they’re at conferences or on vacation. I try. Boy do I try. I used to lug my laptop with me, as if the albatross would remind me that I needed to work. 99.8 % of the time I didn’t. Now, I bring a notebook. Maybe the next time you travel you could try carving out even an hour for yourself? Time when someone else takes the kids so you can concentrate (but I know how it is, you can’t just trust the kids to anyone…). When we’ve been away, I’ve actually written (in my notebook) in the hotel room bathroom late at night after everyone went to bed. Even if it was just a few paragraphs that moved my story forward or solidified my idea, I felt (a little) better – at least I acknowledged writer-me. But it’s hard. I know. If you’re anything like me, if writer-you has to take a backseat to everyone/everything else for too long, I start feeling resentful and it can get ugly. Hang in there, Emily. I know it seems like the kids will be young forever, but it goes fast (easy for me to say, huh?). Tomorrow the Norwegian and I are picking our “little girl” from college (first year is OVER!!). Seems like just yesterday I thought I’d never have any time to myself. But of course, I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that tomorrow I will be wife/mom-me. Write-me will take a day off – and for a great cause. I’m so excited that she’s coming home for the summer (but writer-me may try to get a little bit done in the trusty notebook on the way up to get her). Great post, Emily.

  5. P.S. Have fun at RT and reconnect with writer-you!

  6. Luckily, I’ve never had to bring any of my kids along when I’ve attended writers’ workshops. I’m sure I would have been too distracted to get anything out of them.

    But otherwise, I wear two or more hats all the time. Mom + Nurse was my most consistent situation, and even when I was writing, I had to have some consciousness of what was going on with the kids. Now that they’re grown and out of the house, I am free to do my own thing. And it feels kinda weird!

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