IWSG: Chasing Dreams

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A decade ago, I watched the movie Cheaper By The Dozen staring Steve Martin. I thought it’d be funny. I may have smiled through parts of it.

By the end, I hated it.

The message I walked away with was you must choose between your dreams and having a happy family. Having both wasn’t an option.

Thanks to that movie, every time I open my laptop and start writing, I hear a niggling voice in the back of my head. You selfish, wretched woman. You’re neglecting your children. You’re going to destroy your family!

Thanks, Cheaper By The Dozen. You’ve ruined me.

Everything takes sacrifices. Sometimes dreams and family clash. I can’t type a chapter and play puzzles at the same time. It all boils down to priorities. Maybe that’s why I only average 900 words a week.

Does that type of writing guilt ever plague you? How do you handle it?

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

20 thoughts on “IWSG: Chasing Dreams

  1. This may sound weird, but I felt the same way about Dances with Wolves. That movie told me that only if you abuse animals when the tension in the plot is slow will you hook your audience. That whole scene where the soldiers taunt the wolf felt so contrived to me. I walked out. Of course, then the movie goes on to win an Oscar. I felt the same way about Saving Private Ryan.

    Regards if anyone agrees with us, we’re still free to feel what we feel, and that’s a good thing.

    Great post.

    • Doesn’t sound weird to me at all. Some movies (and books and stories) trigger that emotional response and it doesn’t always work in their favor.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. ARGH. I hate that message. I’m never, ever going to watch that movie- and I appreciate the warning! Yes, I struggle with that. It’s one of my biggest fears about starting a family…which is in the works these days. It’s terrifying. All I can say is DON’T give up on your dream. The illusion is that it will make your family happier, but the truth is that it’ll make YOU unhappy, and that’s never good for your family. It’s a balancing act, and there’s a happy medium in there somewhere.

    • Families are great, and are a wonderful way to find inspiration some times. But they do come with a certain level of exasperation too. 🙂

  3. hahaha I never thought about the movie like that before. #2 I thought was crap, now maybe #1 is crap too. You can have both I think, might be much harder with 12 kids though

    • Twelve kids would be more than a handful. But at least when there are that many, they should always have someone to play with!

  4. I feel this way all the time! It is probably why I write at midnight and know I have to get up to work the next day. It’s also why I can’t leave the house on weekends to write; I feel like what if my kids need me. I think that the message is crap though! You can have your dreams, it just takes a little more juggling of life. It stinks, but that’s life. I don’t want to miss anything with my kids, but I need to write for my sanity. Everyone deserves a break. So think of writing as your mommy break. As long as your are doing your best, your kids won’t know any different.

    • I used to write at 4 AM, then my son was born and now I get up at 1, 3, and 5 to tend to him before scrambling out the door and heading to work. What you described is exactly how I feel. What if they need me? I’m hoping it’ll ease off once my son is old enough to play with my daughter.

  5. I never saw the movie, just read the book. But it was a long time ago. Not sure if the message was the same.

    Anyhow, I feel your pain. My kids are older, but I still remember those early days of giving of myself and my time until I was exhausted and the day was over. All I can offer is that life has seasons. Things will get better and you will eventually have more time.

    And there’s nothing wrong with finding a mother’s day out program or something similar to give yourself a little alone time. We mothers tend to feel our kids will suffer unless we spend every possible moment with them, but that’s simply not true. Heck, trade babysitting time with another mom in your shoes. The kids will probably love the play date.

    • From what I’ve seen on Wikipedia, the Steve Martin movie is nothing like the book. I think you’re better off not seeing it.

      I’m looking forward to the season of more time, even if it’s at insanely early hours.

  6. Oh my did I feel that guilt when my kids were small. I was a single Mom and wanted to write so badly that I got a job writing for a newspaper. It was a great career but I longed for and dreamed of writing for me.
    Now I have 5 grown and out of the house kids and 13 grandkids (that all happened fast and fierce and I am way too young but wow they are awesome!) and I feel guiltier and have less time than ever.
    Balancing family, work and dreams is a constant balancing act but well worth the effort.

    • Your family sounds awesome. I’m sure grandchildren adds a whole ‘nother dynamic to the time demands.

      Hopefully I’ll figure out this balancing act!

  7. It’s tough, but I think you can do both. Every Mom needs time to herself, even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Good luck to you with your precious family and your writing. 🙂

  8. This post really speaks to me. Not because I hate Hate Cheaper By The Dozen. In fact, I only watched part of that movie. I did like the second one with a young Taylor Lautner though.

    The thing that I identified with was the guilt you mention. I don’t only feel guilty when I spend time on things I want (writing, reading, bathing, deep breathing). I feel guilt because I’m not doing the things I want.

    There is always going to be guilt, but what kind of parent are you if you don’t demonstrate to your kids that it is okay to follow your dreams? I’m sure you want that for them…whatever their dreams will be.

    • I hadn’t really thought of following dreams as part of “teaching by example” before. That is an excellent point! Thank you for this.

  9. Never watched the movie and I’ve never experienced any guilt. If anything, I find myself having less time to myself with her going to school than I did when she was younger and at home.

    • I admit I’m a bit envious there. 🙂 I used to get a break when my daughter took naps, but since she’s started preschool, she doesn’t take naps anymore and even if she does doze off, my son is usually awake during that time.

  10. Hey Loni,

    Sorry it took me a looonnnggg while to get here—been busy with family matters the past couple of days and priorities shift (as you said very well in your post).

    First off, even though I’ve been here before, I love your blog. The look, neatness, truncated posts (I was looking for that in a blog design, but…)—it’s all lovely.

    I wonder if the makers of movies ever realize the messages they are sending. I mean, what is the matter with having both? I’m always walking the tightrope when it comes to finding a balance. But we do what we can, right?

    Very good post and food for thought. 🙂

    • Thanks!

      I’m glad you like the look and feel of the blog. Playing with the theme is one of my favorite hobbies. It’s a child theme of Duena, but it doesn’t look like they have a WordPress.com version.

      No reason to apologize for taking time to visit, especially not when it was family occupying your time. I’m just thrilled to see you around these parts.

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