It has been such a challenging week. I didn’t want to put it all over the internets, but I’ve been flying solo with the boys all week. To be on full 24-hour duty with no relief has been really tough. I’ve been able to employ some tried-and-true strategies to help pass the time, but the reality is, flying solo sucks.

I really try not to make this a typical mommy blog, so I won’t give you the full details, but I will say that it was a pretty gross week. I encountered just about everything a mommy can encounter (except blood, thank God, but the day is young) in all sorts of inconvenient places and circumstances. Ursa Minor threw a plate full of food onto the floor on Tuesday in a fit of rage. Ursa Minor found new ways to torment his brother. There was also the inhuman new octave that both boys found in tantrums this week. It was a lot. Just an unprecedented lot.

I’ve had the worst tension all in my neck and shoulders… it’s like a headache, but not in my head. It has been miserable.

And to make it worse, I’ve fallen so behind on my NaNo project that I don’t know what to do with myself. Yes, I’ll make it to the 50,000 word finishline, but my goal this month was 80,000 or “the end” and I am going to fall short of that. That is certainly a secondary problem, but it’s a disappointment nonetheless.

So yesterday morning, before my particularly bad day started, I laid in bed a little overlong. It was 7:15, way late for me, and I was 15 minutes away from the start of the boys’ day (Thursday is a preschool day for Ursa Major). Still bone tired, sore, and unhappy, I really had to think about what was going to get me out of bed. What the hell was going to motivate me to get out of bed that morning? Any morning, really?

It’s a question that I don’t think we ask ourselves often enough. We have our day-to-day reasons to get out of bed, and some of them are mundane (“I really have to pay those bills”) while others are  more special (“I can’t wait to give Bob that birthday present I got him”). A privileged few of us get to do something extraordinary on a daily basis. I remember waking up at 5am as a history teacher with butterflies in my stomach excited to teach particular lessons (like the Salem witch trials) or starting important units (like the unit on Slavery in America). “Coursepack Day,” when I started a new unit in my class and gave them newly printed and beautiful packets of new readings and activities was just the best.

The day-to-day is fantastic motivation, but I wonder, sometimes, about the larger picture. What is the real reason why you get up in the morning?

I don’t know if there is a perfect answer to this question. Indeed, for me, it has changed so much over the last few years. Even over the course of this year, the answer has changed. But the answers point to the same general direction: I am profoundly motivated by the desire to watch my children grow and I am profoundly motivated in figuring out a way to stay home with them for as long as possible.

What got you up this morning? Not the surface thing… not the today thing… but the real thing? What makes you put your feet to the floor and decide to face the world for what it is? What is the thing you are striving for? How often do you remind yourself of why you really got up in the morning?

It’s hard to remember sometimes. It is so easy to decide that the big picture is “just a dream” and not something that we’re supposed to think about often. But when we take a moment to think about real drivers and motivations, when we solidify them in our minds and check in on them often, they become something powerful.

I got up yesterday morning because I want my boys to have a play and learning filled day. I got up yesterday morning because I want to write and sell my work. I keep seeing signs for a really amazing private school that is here in town–all boys, prestigious, special. I got up yesterday morning because I want to make enough money with my writing so that I can pay tuition for that school if my boys want to go there. I put my feet on the carpet of my bedroom floor to make sure that I spend another day getting them and me to that goal.

What got you up yesterday morning? What’s going to get you up tomorrow?

I’m always writing about identity and motherhood because I am absolutely fascinated by how much motherhood has shaped the way that I exist in this world. As I struggle to find ways to balance the Kyra the Me and Kyra the Mother, I find myself at interesting intersections where each identity can boost the other. Just as these two identities don’t have to be married, they don’t have to be adversaries, either. As long as both of these identities point me in the same direction, I’ll always have a bigger motivator to get me up in the morning.

Tomorrow, I’m getting up and I’m going. I’m going to get in my car with my Moleskines and my Laptop and I’m going to end up some place for the whole day. I’m looking forward to leaving the boys behind and not talk. Except for the occasional “I’d like [insert menu item here], please.” A single day to be nothing, except for writing. And maybe I won’t do much of that, either.

I feel like I had more profound things to say on this topic, but my brain is just so wiped out today. It’s another one of those “stare at the shirt” kind of days. I swear I don’t know which way is up and which way is down.

On this weekend, I wish for you a few great motivators. Something fun to get you out of bed and out of the house, and something big to keep your heart racing, your soul flying, and your mind focused. I wish you silence, a moment when the world is still and all you have to do is think for a moment. I wish you a phone call from a friend or a good and satisfying hug. I wish you a kiss on the cheek, a promise of a holiday card. I wish you the opportunity to put a can in the food drive box, or a few quarters in the red bucket by the bell ringer. I wish you a moment of prayer and then a moment of grace. I wish you joy and love and light, wherever you are.

See you Monday.

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4 thoughts on “Quiet Thoughts: What’s Your Motivation?

  1. Wow. I’m super jealous of your day tomorrow! Wish I could come too. We could just sit and write and not talk to each other. 😉 I think I need more good motivators. Let’s be honest, lots of days, obligation is what puts my feet on the floor and gets me going. Not the best answer, but the truth!

    • Obligation is what is getting me out of bed on most mornings, too. I’m just a “big picture” kind of person. I get depressed with the day-to-day slog, especially on weeks like this!

      one of these days, we’re totally gonna do that. We’ll call it “The Silent Day” and it will be glorious! 🙂 I feel like every mother should get a silent day. Maybe Mother’s day should be Silent Day?

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