Since the beginning of September, I have been, for the first time, a Mummy Whose Children Are At School. As a result of this, I’ve been having a very frustrating conversation with the Voice of Reason (VoR) that lives inside my head. It goes like this:
Me: Wow, this is fantastic! Five days a week to myself! I’ll finally write my novel and start another book, and get properly involved with all sorts of things I’ve been on the edges of, and get some exercise and get the house tidy and enjoy reading some new books and be able to see some of my friends and have coffee and play my cello more and…
|I'm not sure what this is, but it's certainly how my schedule feels!|
VoR: No. Sorry. You won’t.
Me: What do you mean?
VoR: You won’t have time for all that.
Me: But that’s the whole point! I will, I will have time! Oodles of time! Five whole days of lovely, glorious time!
VoR: Look, you want to write, don’t you?
Me: Of course. More than anything.
VoR: Well, there you are, then. That’s all you’ll have time to do. None of this house tidying, exercising, cello-playing nonsense.
Me: But...but...how hard can it actually be? Other people manage to have a job AND a tidy house AND a hobby, I know they do! I do realise it won’t happen all at once, but surely, if I just spend half an hour a day cleaning, I’ll eventually have a clean house. And an hour a day walking isn’t that much, is it?
VoR: Listen to me, Amy. You never were any good at maths, were you? How many hours - child-free ones - do you actually have in the day?
Me: Ummm....about six. Say five to be safe after doing drop-off and pick-up and having a few cups of tea.
VoR: Right. And if you spend an hour a day exercising, and half an hour cleaning and half an hour reading a book while you eat lunch, say...how many will be left?
Me: Three. Wait, what?! Only three? How is that poss…
VoR: I haven’t finished. Three hours a day times five days a week is how many hours?
Me: Fifteen. That still sounds OK, actually, I reckon I could…
VoR: So let’s take off an hour to play the cello once a week, that’s fourteen. And two more for coffee with friends, though if you include the time it takes to drive into town and back and the fact that you know you’re going to sneak shopping in while you’re there…
Me: Fine, all right, I get it. We’re down to about ten hours a week.
VoR: Yes, and how much time did you spend writing when you only had Jeremy’s playgroup hours and so didn’t do anything else?
Me: Twelve hours a week. Oh, RATS. I’m worse off, aren’t I?
VoR: You are unless you admit to yourself that you can’t do everything.
Me: But other people do. I’m sure that they do. HOW do they do it?!
At which point the Voice of Reason shrugs and shakes its head, so if anybody knows the secret, I’ve love for them to clue me in.
In the end, though I may have a pesty Voice of Reason in my head talking me out of every ambition, there’s another voice worth listening to. A voice that calls “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). A voice that reassures: “I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). A voice that reminds me not to claim anything as coming from me, but that any competence comes from Him (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).
Amy Robinson is a writer, performance storyteller and ventriloquist, and the children’s worker in her benefice. She has written three books about puppetry and storytelling, published by Kevin Mayhew, and provides scripts and materials for GenR8, a Cambridgeshire charity running Christian assemblies and events in schools. In her spare time, she writes poetry and makes attempts at novels. She lives in a rectory in Suffolk with the rector, two children and lots of puppets. You can also find her on her web page or her new blog.