A Mom’s Life: Writing With Kids

May 18, 2011 | By | 12 Replies More

Author Stacy Green

Stacy Green writes suspense novels in precious moments.

Novel writer Stacy Green found us on Twitter. We’re delighted to have her post about being a mother and writing. It’s something so many of us have to learn to balance. Stacy asks a very important question at the end here. Leave a comment with your experience.

After not writing for several years, I took up the habit again in 2009, as a hobby. My daughter was three and a half at the time, and my husband had given me a laptop for my birthday.

Writing had been a lifelong love but life had long since gotten in the way.

I didn’t realize I was writing an actual book until about a third of the way through, and I plotted most of the thing by the seat of my pants. It’s got a lot of great parts, but the book is far too long and will never see the light of day.

And that’s all right, because it did accomplish one very important thing: I realized my dream of writing a book was still very much alive, and I decided to get serious about my current project, a suspense thriller.

Enter the family life. I’m a stay at home mom/child care provider. I take care of a 15 month old I’ve had since she was eight weeks, and she’s pretty easy to work around. She blabbers and has fun while I work and chat back with her. We have our story times in the morning and afternoon, and play after she wakes up after a nap. She’s pretty regulated and when it’s just the two of us, writing’s a breeze. I’m actually writing this as she plays a toy piano at my feet.

My now five-year-old daughter, however, is an entirely different story. She’s an intelligent, busy child who loves to talk and be involved in everything. Staying home with her has made the two of us very close, something I treasure.

When I wrote the first book, there was no schedule, no pressure on myself.  I wrote when I could; in between naps, play time, and preschool.

But now, things are different. I began my current WIP in June of 2010, and I really want to get it done this summer. I’ve given myself plenty of roadblocks, retooling the first part of the book many times as I became a student of narrative structure. Grace loves to play with the fifteen-month-old, but that only takes up so much of her time. She attends kindergarten-prep, but when she’s home, she gets bored and wants Mommy involved in all of her playtime. She was our miracle, and I feel guilty at choosing not to try for a sibling for her, so I oblige, still doing as much as I can while encouraging her independence.

Don’t get me wrong – she’s not attached to my hip if there are other kids around. She’s all over that. She just wants to be doing something and involved all the time, and it’s difficult for her to grasp that I need half an hour to work on the computer.

Fortunately (or unfortunately for my sleep schedule), the baby arrives at 5:30 a.m, and while I’m tired, I force myself to stay up and write, because it’s the only time of day when it’s utterly quiet. Grace is still asleep, and there are few chances of interruption.

Come the weekends, I insist on two hours each afternoon, and she does give it, but the interruptions come often then as she runs out of the room needing this or that, or just popping in to say she loves me.

What’s a mom to do? Tell her to knock it off? Get angry?

We’ve had the discussion that Mommy needs her time, and she tries to understand, but she also wants to be with me and be like me. And I kind of love that.

So I juggle as best I can, writing every chance I get, while still trying to be the best mom as possible.

Still, there are times I feel guilty. Writing is just for me; it’s truly the only job I’ve ever wanted and the only thing I can lose myself in. My husband is supportive, but I still feel guilty about slipping away or demanding more time to myself, especially when I look into my daughter’s disappointed blue eyes.

How do other mom’s handle this, especially those of you out in the “real” working world?


Follow Stacy on her Stacy Green Author blog and on Twitter @StacyGreen26. Let her know you read her post here. Post your own comment. It’s in making these tiny little connections that our networks and communities grow.

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Category: On Writing

Comments (12)

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  1. Not surprised this struck a note with so many women writers. Seems like I’ve been writing forever. Big life changes put my writing on hold. At 50, I work as a copywriter full time and have a 4 year old at home. I struggle every day to make time to write. Like many of you, late night seems the only time available to claim as my own. When that time comes, I feel spent and uninspired. With such limited time to spend with my husband and my son, I feel guilty stealing time to write. Not sure there is any easy answer, except to make it happen. In any case, this post and all your comments remind me that it can be done. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Alison Wells says:

    I’m a mum of four kids now between 10 and 3. I did begin to write in earnest after I gave up work when my first child was born and managed to write two novels in that time (practice ones). But it’s really only in the last couple of years that I’ve really got going. I progressed in the short story area, which is more feasible with shorter timespans and headspace and I managed to get shortlisted & start building on that. I also get up early (when possible) and have used Nanowrimo as a motivational month to get some serious wordcount for novels. My blog is focussed on this whole issue of headspace and writing with kids & I’ve interviewed a lot of mother writers who’ve made breakthroughs. It’s difficult, slow and guilt always features but never impossible and always worth it to keep at it, even just a little at a time.

  3. I totally understand your struggle. I am a work-at-home mom with three, ages 2, 6 and 10. When we moved to Georgia six years ago I was eight months pregnant with my second, and I really wanted to use the opportunity to work from home, cultivating my creative firm and home schooling my children, because I was going to be Super Mom. (The thought of not working 60-80 hours per week at an office somewhere was completely intoxicating and I had a PLAN!)

    Ahh, well. Here I am six years later, having homeschooled for a grand total of only three weeks, survived a year-long bout with post partum depression, and moved a totally new business, I do believe it’s fair to say my “PLAN” radically changed.

    I’ve learned I just kind of have to go with the flow and grab time to write on the fly as time allows (completely against my inner anal, structured nature), and I am experiencing some serious personal growth as I attempt to balance everything in my own very domestically challenged way.

    I think it’s great that you’ve established a schedule for yourself to write. Kudos!! I don’t think I’m quite there yet, unfortunately. I feel when all three are in school, I will have more time to write and work during daylight hours, but I remember thinking the same thing when I was excited about working from home, because I would have SO MUCH MORE TIME to do the things I wanted to do with the kids and my business. Well. *giggle* You know how that goes.

    Did you finish your draft?

    -Jennifer P.


  4. Although my kids are far from their terrible fives ☺, I totally understand. When I rediscovered my love for writing, I was the divorced mom of one child in college, a very busy high-schooler, an elementary schooler. They are three very different children and they still needed my attention. They were very accustomed to getting my attention. I also worked full-time as a nurse as I still do. The road has become a little easier, but playing so many roles is still difficult. But living my dream of becoming a published author is well worth it. I love your post!

  5. Stacy Green says:

    It absolutely is. That’s been the best thing about taking on the social media challenge – the support group it creates!

  6. Zvezdana says:

    I know what you mean about not being able to go like you used to. It gets harder and drives me crazy…so much to do, so little time and too many aches and other pains. Comforting to know we are not alone:)

  7. Stacy Green says:

    Thank you for your comment. I can’t imagine trying to find time among four kids. Bravo to you. And yes, I’m sure you’re just as stressed having them out there in the real world as at home. I dread that day.

    I need to get used to the quiet of the night and becoming sleep deprived, lol. I can’t seem to go like I used to!

  8. Zvezdana says:

    Hi Stacy,
    I had to comment on your post because it is a subject close to my heart. Being a mother of four, ages 21 to 9 I still find it hard to get the ‘perfect’ time to write. Even when they leave the family home for college or other reasons they keep us worried and involved in their many life dramas and challenges.
    The quiet of the deep night does the trick for me. Of course I have been sleep deprived for the last two decades LOL but it has been worth it.Don’t give up…keep writing:)

  9. Stacy Green says:

    Sounds like you have a great system and a lot of drive. I’m one of those “mood” writers, and I tend to struggle when there’s a lot of chaos, but I’m learning to get better at it. Writing when the little ones are asleep is essential.

    And isn’t it funny how certain smells or sounds can get the creative juices flowing? I read a comment by a writer once who said she it a specific candle every time she sat down to write, and that helped her to focus and have a productive writing session.


    Thanks for the comment, and good luck!

  10. I do my best to snatch every writing moment I can in between working full time, looking after my two year old daughter and sleeping. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband that does the majority of the household jobs.

    I tend to write in the evenings when little one is fast asleep and at weekends when she has an afternoon nap. I also write when I’m cooking Sunday lunch, the smell of delicious food must get my creative juices flowing.

    I aim to get the first draft of my sci-fi novel finished by the end of August, tiredness permitting.

  11. Stacy Green says:

    Thank you so much! I remember the ‘terrible twos’ well. Grace was actually worse between three and four, lol. I don’t know how you find the time to work outside the home and write. I’m not sure I could juggled that.

    You’re right, we all need that special time to do for ourselves. Sometimes it just gets tough because writing is such a personal thing, and often success won’t be measured by getting published. We have to be honest with ourselves about that (altho self-publishing has changed that to an extent). So then I find myself wondering if I’m “wasting” time that could be spent with her. It’s a constant balancing act.

    And thank you! If I can really put in the time, I think I can get the first draft completed before vacation in mid-June. Fingers crossed!

  12. Ranae Rose says:

    I’m a writing mom too, Stacy. My son is just now entering that ‘terrible twos’ stage, LOL. I spend most of my time at home balancing writing and caring for him (although I do also work outside the home as a contractor on a part-time basis). It can be difficult, but I feel like I still manage to get a lot done. I don’t think you should feel guilty over taking time to write. It’s OK for you to do something for yourself/toward your own work goals. In fact, I think it’s unhealthy to not set aside time to pursue your own interests. Kids are naturally very demanding, and the only person who’s going to give you a break is, well, you.

    Good luck with finishing your thriller this summer! 🙂

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