The Danger of Maternity Leave

I resisted reading blogs for a long time and even now read only a handful, most of which are by professional writers. There is so little time for reading; I should limit myself to reading stuff written by Somebody with a capital "S," and it should have some objective substance, and there should be more thought and craft put into it than a diary entry. Right? And likewise, if I'm going to sit down and write something it should be that novel that was going to make me rich and famous, not the daily drivel I'll cringe at later. (This last point was reinforced this morning when, in search of a blog title, I flipped through a notebook of quotes and ideas I kept in high school--is it the stench of adolescence that makes such things so hard to read, or will my deep thoughts and dark secrets always seem so silly with the perspective of age?)

Yet somehow the boredom of maternity leave (Am I allowed to say that? I love my son but he is not the most thrilling conversationalist. Does that make me a terrible mother?) led me here. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but the seeming prevalence of the "mommy blog" suggests I'm not alone. It would be easy to say it's the isolation of working in one's home, but I'm not sure that applies to me. Aside from the fact that my husband is home with me, I've always been something of a loner and homebody, liable to go weeks without social contact without even noticing.

Maybe it's this terrifying feeling that my life is over. All my yet-to-flower ambitions, already hardening with the approach of middle age, received the final blow when I became a parent. It's my son's turn now. I know I shouldn't feel this way--for one thing, it will lead to living vicariously through my kid, and I know just enough about parenting to know that is a no-no. But it's not an irrational fear. If those ambitions were stalled before, how am I going to pursue them now, with a (sweet, precious, beloved) child, an endlessly sucking (no pun intended) drain of time and money? In these circumstances, shortcuts I previously scorned have become much more appealing.

So I'm blogging--the novel will have to wait for retirement.

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