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.
Category: On Writing