Episode 76: Looking Ahead At The Next School Year and Decade

I have a cold – summer colds are the worst – but I wanted to do an episode this week since it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted Episode 75.

Big personal news: Pippa started kindergarten yesterday! She has entered the Big Leagues of elementary school, and Julian starts preschool at the end of August.

I’m trying to figure out how much time I want to spend volunteering at their respective schools. It’s a difficult balancing act. I want to be involved with their education. I feel called to be involved. But I also feel called to be a writer and storyteller. I want to write a fiction series and keep podcasting – so how do I answer the call of motherhood without suffocating the call of creativity?

I don’t have answers, but I’m paying attention and realizing I will make mistakes as I navigate these new waters.

For instance, at Pippa’s back to school night, I signed up to do ALL the volunteering: to be a room parent; to work with the art and science docent program; and to help run the school carnival.

Eek! Too much!

Talking to a friend today, I realized what I really want to do is be involved with Pippa’s classroom. I am not an event planner. I don’t want to run a school carnival. It’s not my super power!

Instead, I’ll try to help Pippa’s teacher in the ways that make sense to me. I’ll volunteer in her classroom every couple of weeks for a couple of hours so I can see what her days are like.

I’ve been reading a book by Tony Robbins called Awaken the Giant Within. I’m only fifty pages in but damn, I have learned a lot. He talks about how people overestimate what they can do in one year but underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade. We need to plan for the next ten years of our life, because one way or another, they are going to happen. Do you want to live the next decade intentionally or just end up in some random place?

I know where I want to be in ten years. I want to be a healthy writer who has deep relationships with her children and husband. Over the next ten years, I will have more than enough time to write and publish several more fiction and nonfiction books. But realistically, over the next two years, I don’t have the time to publish any more books. That’s okay! When Julian is in the Pre-K program in two years, I will have more than enough time to be the mother and writer I want to be.

But for the next two years, I have less time and need to lower my expectations.

So I won’t be running the school carnival (cough, ever), and I won’t be publishing any books. But here’s what I am going to do:

        • Take a lot of long walks, eat healthy, and lose weight. I can’t be a mother or writer if I don’t have my health.
        • Journal every day. Journaling makes me feel like my best self.
        • Keep producing and sharing podcast episodes as often as possible, but I’m not going to force myself to produce weekly episodes because frankly, that does not feel right.  
        • Write the rough draft of the first novel in my fantasy series.
        • Run the book fair at Julian’s preschool and do my volunteer co-op days.
        • Volunteer in Pippa’s classroom every couple of weeks for 1.5 or 2 hours at a time.
        • Blog almost every day. I don’t know why, but this feels right and my intuition wants me to blog.

As I continue on my motherhood adventures, I am going to keep blogging here but only about things related to mood disorders that arise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. If you are in the immediate crisis of something like postpartum depression, you shouldn’t be worrying about weight loss or the meaning life or all the other things that I want to write about. You just need to focus on beating postpartum depression or whatever maternal mood disorder is your poison.

To allow myself to explore other interests, I have started another website called CourtneyHenningNovak.com and that’s where I’m going to publish my blog posts about non-PPD stuff.

Ok, whew, that’s enough rambling! These head colds make me write and write and write… But hey, hitting the pause button and taking stock of my life and dreams feels good. Damn good.