What everyone doesn’t know about me is that I am in fact a mother. I have two young children – a son in school and a daughter in preschool. Since today is Mothers Day I thought I would share a little something about what it’s like trying to juggle motherhood and writing. I myself like to look to other mother/writers to see how they manage so I thought I would impart some of my own wisdom.
I have always wanted to be a writer, more specifically, a published author, and I have always wanted to be a mother. Becoming a mother was a whole lot easier than becoming an author – 2 kids, 0 books published, the stats speak for themselves. It only took about three months to fall pregnant with my son but it’s been 3 years since I’ve actively been sending my manuscripts out. Though falling pregnant was easy, being a mother is one of the hardest, most challenging things I have ever done.
Because of my husband’s income, I am blessed enough to be able to be a stay at home mum. Though that results in being able to cover the bills leaving little for leisure, it does mean I can focus on my writing career. Being a writer is what I’ve always wanted, the only thing I want to do, and I truly believe I will be published one day.
I always wanted babies too, and my husband, who is a little older than me, and I decided we wanted to have kids not long after we were married. I had them in my early twenties, and after having two, and experiencing some complications, we decided that two was it for us. So now I am focusing solely on my writing. Writing is important to me, and it makes me happy, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing something you love for work if you can.
I have to say one of the hardest things about being a mother/writer is having a new born. I don’t think I wrote for the first year of my son’s life. (I don’t remember much about the first year, it was spent in a sleep deprived daze.) I wouldn’t recommend any woman with a baby to put deadlines on herself, especially if it is your first.
Before becoming pregnant I sent out poems and short stories (all unsuccessfully, but I am a better writer now than I was back then, still learning about my voice and style.) and worked on a book or two. I didn’t submit anything at all during 05/06. My son was born premature which meant extra work, and basically having a toddler is one of the most demanding jobs you’ll ever have. 2008 saw the birth of my second child, so another big break from writing, but not as long this time. In 09/10 I completed a book I was finally happy enough with to send out and submitted my first manuscript in 2010.
The challenging thing about being a mother/writer is finding the time to write. At least with a job you know what hours you are going to work. Mothering is 24/7 which means you have to actively make time to write or you won’t get around to it. Some mother/writers write in the early hours of the morning. Some at night when everyone has gone to bed. I’ve done both, you need to find out what works for you. Motherhood is very tiring, so I actually prefer to write in the middle of the day when I’m less tired. And as a writer you might sacrifice lunch to finish a chapter or two when you are on a roll, but a hungry toddler won’t let you. The worst thing about writing when the ankle biters are at home, or awake, is that you will be constantly interrupted which is unbelievably irritating, especially when there is something in your head that you just have to get out. But if there is one thing mothers are good at it’s adapting. I write on scrape bits of paper when I can’t get to the computer, use the record function on my phone to capture a scene while cooking dinner, write notes or scenes or ideas on my phone when taking the kids to appointments, and so on.
I have to say I write more now than when I did have a full time job, which seems crazy because I actually had more time back then, but I guess when you don’t have much time you actively seek out time to write. And having the kids in school helps. It gets much easier to find time when they reach school and preschool age, that is if you don’t go back to work. My daughter goes to preschool two days a week, so for two days I have six hours of uninterrupted writing time. (Although the Internet will gladly eat into that time if I let it.)
Another perk to being a mother/writer is testing your ideas out on your kids if you are writing in their age group. I’ve had a few picture book ideas and have told them these stories at bedtime. And as they get older I’ll be able to share my MG and YA stories with them.
I think if you are a mother/writer, or just a writer that has to juggle their writing with other things, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you MAKE time to write. If you want to get serious about your writing this is what you have to do.
There you go, now you know a little bit more about me. I hope what I shared was helpful. And if you are a mother/writer out there, happy Mothers Day, I hope you have a great day and make lots of time to write in the future.