To Every Writer-Mommy, There Is a Season



I've always envied the big name writers who happen to be men.

Writing those Big Important Books just looks easier to do when you're not busy with gestating, lactating, or the day-to-day hard work of raising children.

That's not to say that fathers don't count; they do. Some fathers count more than others, and their children are lucky to have such hands-on daddies.

But in the middle of the night, when there a bad dream looms large or a sudden stomach ache tips the balance into a full-blown case of the pukes, the name hollered out through the darkness is almost always MOMMY!

Being MOMMY matters to me. It matters more than any other job I'll ever do because the stakes are so high. There's no do-over for bad parenting.

But being a writer - in whatever capacity I can manage to exercise those mad wordy skillz of mine - matters, too. It matter a lot, if only because being creative keeps me sane amidst the chaos of children. The times in my life as a mom where I didn't exercise my mind creatively through writing were times I was unsatisfied or filled with a sense of loss and aimlessness.

While I've chosen to stay home with my children to raise them, it's not from a lack of ambition. I am Type-A to my core; goal setting and over-tasking myself comes naturally. I've stayed home all these years (I'm now in year eight) with Becky, Huck, and Tom because I wanted to give them the best start I could, one where they were loved like crazy and disciplined fairly. We've been fortunate enough to have that choice as a family.

But some days - many days - it's been hard. Infants, while cute, aren't great conversationalists. Toddlers, while endearing, aren't the most diplomatic people to deal with when they're beset with a fit of anger. Other stay at home moms you might meet in playgroups or at library storytime may have nothing in common with you other than the simple act of giving birth.

It can be lonely, this modern life of at-home mommying.

Add to that loneliness a lack of purpose other than changing diapers and making meals and generally tending to your wee flock and the clouds of self-doubt can quickly gather at the edge of your mind.

And so I write. I write like a madwoman possessed, filling journals with thoughts too near and dear for this public space. I write this blog for myself and for posterity but find myself delighted and humbled by those who read and comment. I write my other blog because I both want to help others and I am an ambitious and Type-A over-achiever who really would like to see some financial gain from my writing.

I write into the late hours of the night when I should be sleeping. I write in bursts between emptying the dishwasher and sorting the laundry. I write when I probably should be getting my desk cleaned and my filing organized or finishing one of the half-dozen craft-type projects that sit waiting for my attention in bottom drawers and dark closet corners.

I write because I am happiest when I am writing.

While I may still harbor dreams of penning that big breakout novel, I live with my two feet firmly grounded in my present reality. For this time in my life, this very busy and bursting with fullness time of chubby legs and homework and soccer and timeouts, makes me happy, too.

It wears me thin with exhaustion; yes.

But it is so achingly beautiful at moments that I can barely believe it is mine.

In this season of my life as a writer-mommy, I have no pat answers for how to succeed as both a mother and a writer.

All I have is this:

Keep dreaming, writer-mommies.

Keep writing.

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