Time For Labor

by Kimberly Shelby-Szyszko

They were gorgeous and exhilarating at first blush, at conception. Gave me pains and pissy-ness shortly afterward. They took a long time to grow, yet often blossomed overnight. They were my engine fuel, my mood enhancers, and a physical testament to my ability to persevere. My plays were my babies. Before I birthed a human.

Now I split my nurturing, my guidance, my anxiety, my mania, and of course my time. And, necessarily, not evenly. And, indeed, my old, occasionally elusive though fundamentally trusty comrade Productivity has often taken a shocking dip in the pool of not-quite, as a result.

Although it’s quite obvious and quite wonderful where the priority lies (and I’d have it no other way), I often wish it were easier to take optimal care of both, babe and play. Simpler – and I know this is just me – I wish there was more time. But, shock, there isn’t. Which leaves me with, only really, the promise of reconfiguration.

Reflecting recently on the rhythms of labor and my son’s journey into this sphere, I recalled successive waves of intense — no, cataclysmic stabbing, shuffling, and churning, punctuated by small periods of what I’ll call alternative otherworldly activity. This has led me to consider that, perhaps, these need be the new rhythms of my life now, of my writing: Bursts of activity, productivity, intense, chaotic, but consistent, controlled—and short, spread out over the day. The rhythms of birth over and over again, every day. Really feeling the work, in order to deliver it.

Although it’s a little more touchy-feely a thing for me, this way of working, more or less, has often been credited to Francesco Cirillo, and this recent post from a blog called “The Write Life” does a nice job of outlining his Pomodoro technique, which I’ve tried (casually) before, in my pre-maternity days. But I’ll be bringing so much more to those bursts today.

To anyone having difficulty finding the time to write, whether parenting in the conventional sense or not, you might give it a go.

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