Monday, March 4, 2013

In the Nursery

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We moved the office into the nursery.

The nursery is gone.

To write in the previous office--in the underbelly of our Retro House--deep in the sub-basement covered in slate-like stone walls was becoming an impossible trick of the mind. Make my writing space sacred, Terry Tempest Williams taught me. And it wasn't, not down in there in the dark where my world of little feet and full lungs danced and screamed on top of me.

So in this room where I've rocked and nursed my babies, I now rock and nurse words. And I'm trying to not make this a statement about my future fertility, it's just that the time was right. Now this room is my own nursery. Down the hallway my babies sleep together--the two oldest in a shared bed and the baby in her crib, in the corner by the dollhouse. A room where they laugh and cry each other to sleep every night. And I sometimes I believe in the romance of it and sometimes it drives in me crazy.

But in the mornings they find me here, writing. They climb on the desk or steam-roll over the wispy rug and some days (most days) I don't get much done, but I've decided it's their noisy, restless presence that makes the writing space sacred.

I am working on allowing all the parts of me to play together--the mother, the writer, the wife, the activist. Who had this idea of compartmentalizing womanhood? I believe in the act of bleeding lines, we are many things all at once--even in dormancy. And if I were to have another baby, the writer could make room for the nurse and the crib, and together we'd write and cry and figure out life.

In that way, I suppose, it will always be a nursery.

And in that way, it's always been an office.



Please come! Women coming together to support women and education--no greater cause! No tickets or registration required! Bring your daughters! Bring your friends! Bring chocolate-covered cinnamon bears you bought at the candy counter in the bookstore!
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25 comments:

Matt and Tiana said...

For those of us out of state, would you consider a podcast? I would love to be here and geographically challenged.

P.S. I loved this post.

Write to Simplicity said...

I love this post. I am expecting my first and I try to imagine writing and being a mom and I love the image you put in my head. Thanks! :)

Lisette said...

I always love reading your writing. After our son passed away I have not known what to do with the nursery, it used to be my office, but I have not wanted to move back in there. Maybe it is time. Thanks for the idea and encouragement.

Emily Heizer Photography said...

My heart ached a bit when you wrote this.

And then my mind said, she filled the hole in her heart.

And then I said, Okay.

Sarah Jane said...

like a beautiful watercolor.

Vesuvius At Home said...

I'm finding it maddening to be a writer and a mother both at once. It seems they both demand all of me. I'm not sure this tension will ever resolve. For me, anyway. Beautiful Squishy in that sweet-feeling space.

vicki said...

that is the best photo. ever.
Truly.
and "...it's their noisy, restless presence that makes the writing space sacred...and, in that way, it's always been an office"

T said...

Yes, would you please consider some kind of recorded version of these lectures that could be available online? I know that's a lot to ask. This looks like a really great series that can help a lot of women, if only it is made more widely accessible. I wish I could attend!

P.S. Great post!

Vanessa Brown said...

I have not figured out how to make the lines bleed. I have always been a horrid multitasker. I would like more out of myself but have no figured how to multi task calmly. It makes me very on edge when I try to do anything at the same time. Wish I could figure out how to change that about myself!

Jennifer said...

I am finishing my degree and share my office with my daughter and her mess of art stuff. At least I can be in her space when I have a paper to write. I also suffer from infertility and if the day may come that I have another kid, this room will also become a nursery.
I love the idea of all the kids in a room, snoogling in bed together, making eachother laugh. Very dreamy.

Martha said...

i once stayed in terry tempest williams' home and i will never forget it. one of the most unique, calm, beautiful, in the middle of nowhere places.

i like your line about dormancy. yeah. i get it.

momof3 said...

I so wish I lived close by and could attend this seminar. The balancing act of Mom/Worship/Work is super challenging but it is what keeps people like you and me ticking. You do a marvelous job at it and what I love about you Courtney, is that you sometimes post pictures of you working with a toddler in the background in a diaper (helping the rest of us see the normal side of a working mom.)
I just posted this on FB last week... I am sure you can empathize. (PS, my husband has an amazing job but I still enjoy working and feeling needed in the world. I am a full time elementary school librarian, part time realtor, part time facilitator for a lap band doctor and a full time mom to 3 straight 'A', adorable happy kids.)
My FB post...
As of today, I am temporarily taking off and hanging up my "Super Woman Cape".
I have finally realized that I can't do everything, all at the same time. In the past 30 days I have been a full time teacher (with 7:30am 'front of school crosswalk duty', 5 days/week & in charge of a $6900 book fair), Real estate agent, a Doctor's facilitator ... all while still trying to juggle full time mommy/wife/home duties which include Head of the Art Masterpiece program for my kids' school, PTO board member, Host at book club twice in the past 6 weeks (once as a home host and once as a book host), Church new member party thrower, vacation planner (with trips to Park City and Orlando in the works) and all the other little other things I do just because. You may be laughing to yourself because you know me well and you know how I thrive on CRAZY, but I am serious. I just want to walk in the door after a long days work and call my sisters like I used to do back in the days.
My FAVORITE song always has been and always will be, "I Want To Do It All" by Terri Clark, but as my Brooke played the piano last night, I heard the tune to an old familiar song I once loved, "I Can't Do Everything, I Know Because I've Tried".
Why is the balancing act always tipping the scale in the too busy or not busy enough spectrum?

This Girl loves to Talk said...

as a person who has four kids in one room (inner city, necessity, international students in our other spare room) .. it is possible. of course there are nights of needing to be 'separated' (older one stays up in lounge room, someone relegated to mum and dads bed etc)
We also had a stage where 3 of our kids pushed two beds together to make a big bed for the winter to share. Your post made me smile because sometimes people look at me like we are weird. I'm happy to know there are other people like me out there ;)

darcyeatsfood said...

Can we bring a baby with us, she is noisy and pretty and she is mine.

The LDSMommy said...

Sounds like the seminars will be wonderful, but like others who have commented, I am geographically challenged. I think I SHOULD have this balancing thing down but days like today prove that I do not. Will I ever figure it out?

Christy said...

This comment really doesn't have much to do with your topic today.. or maybe it does. I just wanted to tell you that you look beautiful. I'm loving these new(?)portraits of you. That is all. :)

Amy said...

I love that your kids are sharing a room for a time. Come from a big family and this was our norm. Good memories and such comfort being with siblings. I did not have my own room until I was 19, when I moved out I felt a wee bit lost without at least one sister on board.

Patti Cook said...

Favorite line - and something I struggle with everyday - "I am working on allowing all the parts of me to play together--the mother, the writer, the wife, the activist." Thank you for the great reminder!

Victoria Blanchard said...

I'm in tears right now, in part because I'm exhausted and in part because the last few days have been emotional. But mostly because this post expressed so much that is personal to me---within two weeks I will finally be acting on the decision I made two months ago to turn my daughter's nursery into an office and have her share a room with her sister. And also because in a few hours I'll be getting on a plane to come to Utah to visit family for the week and I have been thanking God that I will have the opportunity to hear you speak this Friday. Seeing you speak in person (and hopefully getting to officially say hello to you in person afterward) means so much to me. Choosing to come see you on Friday has created some difficult situations for me, but I appreciate even better now how your "coming to see me" (as in pouring your heart into this amazing blog of yours) has opened your life to some difficult situations; I thank you wholeheartedly for continuing despite them. What you do and what you write matters to so many people, and I am one of them.

Victoria Blanchard said...

I think this would also be an appropriate setting to thank you for the inspiration you've provided me with to write in the year 2013: http://www.vblanchardblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/write-here-write-now.html

Now I just need to get my office set up so I can get to it!

TheOneTrueSue said...

I worked from home for ten years. Most of that time we had a mother's helper who would watch the kids while I got some work done, but it was still really difficult. There was never a clear separation, and there was always a tension between what I felt I ought to be doing for work, and what I felt I ought to be doing as a mom. I felt guilty for taking the time to work, never mind the fact that I was supporting our family. Every minute I sat behind the closed door was a minute I felt bad about how I was negotiating the work from home deal.

In many ways it has been much, much easier to switch to working fully outside of the home. There is separation, there is delineation. Work is work. Home is home. (Although of course there is still the constant push and pull of balancing it all - missing work for Moms and Muffins at school, going in to work crazy early so that I can be home when they get out of school, and of course, the never ending mommy guilt.)

In some ways it is easier. I don't have to feel bad about the little voice on the other side of the door asking to come in just when I'm starting a web conference or finishing up a chapter of a technical manual. In other ways, when I slip out of bed and leave my warm little three year old there in bed with his dad, fast asleep, it is infinitely harder.

Good for you, for valuing what you do - in both arenas.

Tina said...

Oh Saucy C Jane...Your words are your gift to the world...I want to eat them, savor every crumb like I do my mom's White Chocolate Mountain cake.

Petersons Blog Spot said...

Vanessa, I feel the same way and the beauty of being a woman nowadays, is that you don't have too do it all if you don't want/have to. I think there are different seasons of our lives where sometimes you are only mothering and others where you can take more on. No pressure.

K. West said...

You are seriously such an awesome writer.

Marcee said...

When my oldest was still tiny, I remember pouring my heart out to my husband how I couldn't ever get anything done. As I described my day and it's challenges, he sagely pointed out that I was only trying to do "things" (mostly housework and my personal interests) while she was asleep. And she never did sleep that much. He said something like "maybe the trick of being a mom is doing it all at the same time." Total light bulb to me!! I like how you've said it here better, though. There is something sacred in the way that all my roles run together these days, especially as I have three kids four and under and just started teaching a class at the JC this semester. Thanks for writing! I'm new-ish to your blog and every post I've read has felt like poetry- wise words written beautifully.