On Being A Mom Writer

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Kids.

They are such a joy, aren’t they?

Each and every day my children bring so much happiness to my life. Watching them grow into productive members of society should be my #1 priority in life, shouldn’t it? Seeing these babies succeed should give me a huge sense of accomplishment, right?

As much as I love my children, I know that there are things in my life that would likely be much different had I focused more on my career as a writer, though. I hear the collective gasps, the hushed whispers.

“Did she really say that?”

When you sit at the laptop to focus on writing only to have a toddler at your feet screaming for whatever reason they deem fit, or a school-aged child come in with a pile of homework, it’s sometimes hard to find the time to focus on writing that future bestselling novel.

For an example: As I started on that last paragraph at 11:00 PM at night, thinking I had finally found an opportunity to write this post, my 1-year-old woke crying and tried to come and crawl into bed with me. I could have given in, but instead I set my laptop down and took him back to his bed. After laying with him for several minutes he passed back out. Even when I think I’m safe to sit and focus on my writing, my children instead often end up needing me in those times.

Being a mother, and a writer, is hard work.

Over the years I have read many opinions on being a mom writer, too. Some saying that it is impossible with more than one child (well, gee, had I known I would have reconsidered the second child), some saying it involves a lot of discipline (I imagine this is a bit more probable with older children as toddler logic does not include discipline), and others simply say you should write whenever you can fit it in.

So what is my opinion on the subject? Simply do what you have to do. If you can hire someone to watch the kids while you work a few hours a week, do it. If you can squeeze in some writing before the kids wake, or after they go to bed, fit it in. If you can write a paragraph while waiting in line at school to pick up your child, make sure that you have pen and paper at all times. If you find your time so limited that writing has to take a backseat to your children, do it without guilt.

As mom writers we have a duty to our children first, and our writing second. Our children will only be little for so long, though. As much as I wish I could write more than I do now, I know soon enough I will have all of the time in the world.

Being a mom writer is so hard, but so fulfilling at the same time. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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When You’re Stuck In a Rut

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Don’t you just love how easy the words flow? It is like a constant stream of consciousness that flows in and out of your brain, and down into your fingertips. Somehow, from there, it ends up written on the page. It’s beautiful, it’s profound, and you’re so very proud of all you have accomplished in such a short span of time.

What is that?

Did I just hear you laugh? Was that a roll of the eyes I spotted?

Okay, yeah, I am going to level with you. I rarely ever feel that way anymore. Between my two kids, being pregnant with our third, and keeping our household from burning to the ground, writing has become more of a chore that takes a lot to accomplish on most days. Some days I feel like the idea of writing is like listening to nails on a chalkboard (you know you just cringed!). Other days I would love to be able to sit at the screen for longer than two minutes, but I’m accompanied by a screaming toddler, and questioning how he got into the markers again.

Not every writer finds themselves in the same situation as I am, but every writer knows there are days when it’s just so hard to focus up, and write on. Do you know what I do on these days when the words just won’t come to me?

I back away.

I breathe.

Writing has to have a little element of fun to it. If it is feeling more like a chore then sometimes it is better in the long run to let it go for a bit. Have other hobbies? Do them. Have kids? Soak up all of the family time you can. Do what makes you feel good. Ultimately, writing will happen again if that is a huge part of who you are. If you take a moment away from the screen (or typewriter, notebook, etc.) it doesn’t mean you have given up. You are not a quitter. You just need some time.

What are your ways of handling the inevitable rut you find yourself in? Can you think of any new ways that could benefit you when you hit a rough patch?