How to Balance Being Both a Mom and a Writer
A conversation with a good friend has sparked a blog post. So many of you know that here at Writely Me we enjoy our little guys, books, writing and some deep thoughts. But an excellent question was asked to me the other day.
What is it like to be a mom and an aspiring writer?
The honest answer is, it's not easy and there are struggles. With that said, I want to start off by saying that one of the main things that motherhood and being a writer have in common is dedication. As a mom, you are dedicated to your child(ren) and as a writer, you are dedicated to your work. Writing usually lasts an extended period of time, especially when writing a novel or working on a book series. Much like raising a child, you know that what you are creating with your writing is worth the time, dedication, and sacrifice. With that being said, being a writer and a mom is no easy task.
As a mom I'm raising my son, I have to work and make a living. I want quality time with my son, time for myself and also time to work on my passion. As much as I would love to sit for 4-6 hours a day and just work on writing, that's not my reality right now. I am striving for it to be but at the moment I have to find time for all these things.
I would love to tell you that I have this fantastic system down and that I optimize my time with writing and it works out perfectly for me, but that would be a lie! Most nights I have to force myself to pull out my tablet and chip away at some more writing. Other nights I fall asleep before I get the chance to work on anything. Right now, as I am typing this up, I am in my bed with my son who fell asleep next to me. I am trying to see how I can get this done in a decent amount of time so that I can still get to bed and get up in the morning before my son does. Don't get me wrong, I am not rushing through this post because blogging is something I have come to enjoy more than I ever knew I could. Simply, what it comes down to is that juggling being a mom, all the responsibilities that come with it and being a writer is not easy. You may be granted a natural talent as a writer but there is no prosper by waiting around for something to land in our laps. I am not sorry for the long days, the late nights, or the time I have to squeeze in. I know in my heart that everything I struggle with is worth it as a mom and a writer.
Other times my struggle is feeling uninspired at times. As a writer, this can be the worst feeling. It's easy when this starts to happen, to distance yourself from your writing, but it's the last thing you want to do. Instead do what inspires you whether that would be taking a walk and looking at nature, reading a book, watching a movie or listening to music. Not all the same things inspire us which is ok, but give yourself a break at times to enjoy the things you love. When I am lacking inspiration, I force myself to dive into the things that I truly enjoy. This helps fuel my creativity. Then there are other times that inspiration will randomly hit me and when it does I have to write it down or it slips away. Keep a notebook on you at all times. Go to the dollar store and buy a mini one to keep in your purse.
Then there is another side to being a writer, or an artist in general. Most truly amazing writers have a dark side. The dark side is usually the pain or anger or sadness that we are connected to. In a twisted way, writers see the beauty in the dark side just as much, if not more, than the happy one. Most people who write about pain well is someone who feels it deeply. On the flip side, if there is a dark character in your novel or a sad story line, as a writer you have to engulf yourself in that to make it believable to your readers. So when you consider the head space you are in as writer verse who you try to be as a mom, can make for some confusing and longs days.
Use your emotions, as a parent, in your writing. You feel a lot, and that is ok. Write it down.
Jenna and I attended the Philadelphia Writers Conference and there was a speaker there who truly touched us with one statement. She said, "I feel like I have different hats I wear for the roles I play." She was talking about being a mom, a writer, a wife, a business partner, etc. Jenna and I looked at each other and in that instant, we both thought my goodness, this is us every day. Figuratively speaking, there are many hats I wear on a daily basis. Some days it can be hard to juggle who I am along side what I want to be but at the end of the day, all the juggling is worth it. Know that it is ok to juggle many hats. Don't feel guilty or overwhelmed. This is just all a part of being a writer and a parent.
At the end of the day, I want to say that it is hard and the struggles some days feel like they add up to more than you can handle, but the truth is that anything that is truly worth it in life is not easy. Parenthood is not easy but to have our children tell us they love us or thank us or have others tell us how wonderful they are, all that hard work pays off in that moment. As a writer, juggling being a mom or a parent, in general, is hard.
To make your dream come true means a genuine sacrifice but that sacrifice and hard work are truly worth it in the end. Even if the end is 15 years from when you start your first book or writing a piece.
Accomplishing a dream is not about a race to the finish line. No, it is about the journey we experience pursuing the dream. Keep your dreams alive and always go for them. For all my writers out there, write every day even if it's only for five minutes. Our dreams don't come true by being stagnant, no they come true wit diligence.