The Momma Writer
Whenever someone asks what I “do” for a living, it always takes me a second to reply. Do I roll with the simple “I’m a stay-at-home-mom” line? I mean it’s true, I do watch my daughter full time while my husband works and I wouldn’t trade that privilege for the world (tantrums, messes, and all). But being a SAHM isn’t the full story. The truth is, I’m also a writer, or at least I aspire to be one. No one ever said work-life balance was easy, but finding time to write your novel while your 2 year old sows chaos in circles around you? Damn near impossible some days.
Honestly, at times it feels like both my novel and I are languishing. This is not for lack of effort; to the contrary, I’m constantly trying to rearrange and optimize my schedule to accommodate the needs of my child, the household, myself (heaven forbid), and my writing projects. After playing ring master to a hundred different acts throughout the day, however, I’m pooped. Still, being a writer, making a world, a story, come alive on the blank page is important to me. It’s a dream I’ve carried since I was a little girl, so I persist in seeking ways to carve out time to write.
Some attempts to set aside this time have been more successful than others. Getting up early in the AM, for example? A no go. There is not enough coffee in the world after a toddler’s had a rough night to make this feasible on a regular basis. Besides, I know myself, and I’m a “stay in bed as long as humanly possible” kind of person, even on my best days.
On the more successful end of the spectrum, writing during my kiddo’s nap window, or in the evenings after she’s gone to bed, can sometimes work for me! But as any parent, or otherwise busy adult knows, the siren call of other house/life work or even the overwhelming desire to just take a well deserved break once in a freaking while can make it difficult to dedicate this time solely to my book.
In light of how challenging the process of simply sitting down to write can be (don’t even get me started on said writing’s quality, or lack thereof), it’s no surprise that discouragement is a real problem at times. I think whenever we sense a gap between where we are and where we’d like to be, it’s easy to internalize this as a reason not to try at all. But if parenthood has taught me anything, it’s that in this space–the areas of life where we feel the greatest sense of inadequacy–it is of utmost importance to give ourselves some grace.
Turns out I haven’t finished that first draft yet like I’d thought and planned to do. So what? I’ve made progress: new characters were created, the horizons of the world were widened, witty bits of dialogue were developed. I also got to attend my daughter’s first dance class, to comfort her when she caught a stomach bug, and to participate in some of her make believe games. If slow story progress is the price I pay to enjoy the crazy, hectic, day-to-day world of motherhood while pursuing my dream of becoming a published author, I’m okay with that. I’m still a writer, even if I’m a Momma too, and I’m lapping everybody who’s stuck on the couch.