So yeah. I started a full-time job. It's about 35 minutes away (on a good day), and I work all night. So my schedule is completely messed up. I have given up quite a few things; sacrifices that are necessary--and given in full realization of the huge blessing that this job is in my life--but sacrifices nonetheless.
I never see my husband. If I stay awake when I get home, for an extra 45 minutes, I can kiss him good morning/good night and have a few minutes' worth of conversation. I see him when I am ready to leave for work, long enough to figure out what I'm taking for dinner and kiss him goodbye. Then we text when we can at night to try and communicate household needs.
Am I still a wife?
I spend some time with my two younger children, and I see my oldest for a few minutes in the afternoon. But three of my kids only see me in passing in the evening, and it's usually "did you do your homework?" "Please clean your room," "don't forget to do the dishes," "PLEASE don't be jerks to your dad tonight, be helpful," things like that.
Am I still a mother?
My friends, my extended family, my visiting teaching sisters, all of them have gotten those "Sorry, I have to work," or "I'm just exhausted," or, in the case of some, just my absence and silence.....
Am I still a friend? A daughter? A sister?
I've not been to church for a few weeks. I've been sick, mind you, but that sickness has been exacerbated by my exhaustion from working with little sleep and trying to hold it together for my family.
Am I still an active member of my ward?
As you read this, you're probably emphatically thinking, "YES! Just because your role has changed, doesn't make you any less of a wife, mother, friend, member of your ward, etc. etc." I have to make adjustments to those roles, but nothing changes the fact that I am all of those things.
I now work every week night. I work, I come home and try to sleep, I get two little kids ready when they wake up, get one to school, try to nurture the youngest for a few hours until my high-schooler gets home, I try to get a couple more hours of sleep, I rise and shower, get dressed as fast as I can, grab dinner, kiss the hottie, hug the kids, and go to work. There's no time for ANWA meetings, in person or online. I won't see a conference center for a few years, until I've gained permanent status and vacation days at my job. Blogging----well, I've been (maybe) noticeably absent and totally flaky. NaNoWriMo.... hahahahahahahahaha. Enough said about that, since my job started the middle of November. My characters, stories, poetry, everything--they (might) miss me. I miss them. When I have time to think, which isn't often.
Am I still a writer?
It's funny. I let my ANWA membership expire. On purpose. I didn't think ANWA and I had anything to offer each other in my current "season."
Then, I got an email telling me it had expired. Whoa. Within five minutes of receiving the email, I had renewed it on the website. I'm not ready to say goodbye.
Because, at the heart of it all, YES! I am still a writer! Writers write and all that be damned, I am a writer. My writing consists of grocery lists and amazingly competent answers to questions about SEC filing document processing, but I write. I still have the urge. The characters and stories are still there, calling out to me amidst the fog of sleep deprivation.
In the same way that my changing role and abilities don't make me any less of a wife, mother, friend, etc., I am not any less of a writer because my role and ability to dedicate time to writing have changed. Nothing changes the fact that I am a writer.
So, I'm back in the fold in ANWA. I'm learning how to mother my children with much less time. Adjusting things to give me better time with my superhero husband (who has had to make major adjustments and totally be Mr. Mom every weeknight now). I will adjust and learn how to fit the what and the how of writing into the who of "writer."
If you're a writer, you're a writer. Don't give up, and don't ever think you can escape it. It's who you are.