Our child is here and so is the life of more with less. More errands, necessity, urgency. More love required. Less time, energy, choice. Less control and space.
Before our son was born I feared these conditions. Can I be and do more with less? went the worry. A salad of fears, of commitment to a chaotic and stretched life, of scarcity of love, attention, money, of the loss or upheaval of the self. Of being not enough.
This life is here and it isn’t scary. The fears evaporate in the sunlight of the everyday; this bath, this load of washing, this stolen ten minutes to write. When I’m fearful of parenthood it is in the abstract, tomorrow, in the ever-tiresome psychomelodrama. Lesson learnt—rather relearnt, as all vital lessons must be—this is meta-fear, a symptom without an illness. It isn’t real.
More with less isn’t scary but it can be tough. Parenthood is a blinding expansion of life. It is chaotic and I am stretched. Time is playing tricks. Yes, my self is neglected: unshaven, red-eyed, quasi housebound, reading nothing. My projects are late, this post is late, atop my to-do list is written to-do list x 2, this window I’ve given myself in which to write and create Once upon a Pancake, delaying the full-time pay check, is closing. Life is so wondrous right now but what if… and there we go, the fear speaks but from the future, the abstract. I learn again.
I still balk at these conditions. I don’t know yet where compromise or constraint will bite hardest. But this world of more with less has brought two thrilling realisations.
First, that some modes of busy can be happy. I’ve spent the last ten years protecting myself from busyness; it is a vicious weed. But maybe I was busy with the wrong stuff. There is an undeniable buzz and rhythm to busy, you’re in it, you’re making and moving. At its best it feels a like a good dance floor, spinning, losing time and breath, making hot steps and missteps and laughing it off. At it’s worst, well, it’s too busy, tugging and pushing through life. In moderation, then.
The second realisation, or rather a remembering, is about the nature of love. It is never in fixed supply. It is that magical liquid that runs out only if it isn’t poured.
Parenthood is a blinding expansion, but love fills the gaps. This feeling echoes falling in love with my wife. Another lesson to be relearnt. That’s fine. Our child is a sticky note—this life can be more with more.