A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire
The Neglected One
I am the mother of five: a 22-year-old, a 21- year-old, two 15-year-olds, and a 10-year-old. Sadly, my youngest is the most neglected of the bunch — he is the manuscript I gave birth to ten years ago. It’s understandable that he would be so overlooked.
All my lively older ones and their activities kept vying for my attention; they jockeyed for position in my day while “Manny” sat quietly in the file box by my desk.
Every so often, I’d try to placate my youngest. I’d clean him up and take him to coffee with a friend. She’d look him over, laugh at his antics, give a bit of guidance. But once I had done my due diligence, my focus would slowly shift again. Honestly, I had trouble justifying more time with my youngest when everyone else was so in my face. Now, my older children are thriving while Manny’s growth has been stymied.
When my two oldest left for college and my twins grew into adolescence, I started playing with my youngest a bit more. I love spending time with him—he taps into my creative side, gives me new purpose, makes me laugh, makes me think, makes me remember. He inspires me. He gives me permission to say “no” to activities I would otherwise do—mornings meetings, afternoon lunches, volunteer positions. “You’ve done those things for twenty two years,” he reasons. “Now you can put me first.”
So I finally did make the commitment to focus on Manny, and ironically, I am now confronted with new obligations that pull me away from him again. I am told that if he is ever to reach his potential as a mature and published manuscript, I need to build a platform for him. The pieces of this platform demand a lot of my time. I need to blog, tweet, Facebook, and pin . . . I need to socialize and network in a virtual world. I feel as if someone is holding up hoops and telling me to jump through them for the sake of my youngest. So I’m jumping through hoops–and hitting brick walls.
And each time I bang my head into another virtual wall, I whine to Manny, “I’m doing this for you!”
My youngest doesn’t care about a platform; he only wants to grow up and move out of the house. Ever the patient one, he sits in his file box and quietly calls to me every so often, “All I want is you, Mom. Please still spend some time with me.”
He’s right, of course.
And as I hear my old familiar whine and his persistent call, I am inspired anew: I can apply my maternal balancing skills to a media-mad world. I know how to juggle, I know how to manage my time. I can do this. I’ve done this before, I can do it again.
So to my youngest: I am doing it for you. Because it’s your turn now.
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