Posted in Mama, Writer

Writing and Parenting (AKA Parenting while Thinking about Writing and Almost Never Writing)

What it’s like to want to write things when you have children:

(Maniacal laughter.)

I first realized it would be pretty impossible to work and write around my kids when my son was three months old. Even as a tiny baby, he seemed to despise my laptop. I swear he’d cry as soon as I put it near me. From that point on, I worked in shifts. I would either get up early, stay up late, work during nap times, or work when Husband could watch our son.

My writing and academic work was not compatible with childcare- not surprising, considering childcare is a super-intensive job all its own.

This was all a shock to New Mom Me, though. I vividly remember some talk aimed my way during my baby shower. It went something like, “Oh! You’re a college teacher! What a perfect job for a new mom! You only have class times and office hours on campus, and the rest of the work can be done at home while you watch the little one play!”

I have since decided that this person, who already had kids of her own, was probably laughing on the inside when she told me these things.

Diabolical.

Evil- even if she did bring a posh diaper bag as a gift.

I guess no one is 100% evil.

Since then, I’ve been playing a painful waiting game. I’ve been looking forward to a time when I can work at home in peace.

I have 2 children now. One is school-age. One is almost school-age.

And I can’t believe I’ve been thinking, “When they go to school, I will be able to write,” for FIVE YEARS.

Five years.

I did manage to write here and there. It hasn’t been five years of nothing on the writing front, but it was five years of having ideas, wanting to write, and (almost all of the time) not having the opportunity.

It has been my experience that when I mention this

(My son just plopped down beside me and is interrogating me about what I’m writing. In Kindergarten and he still hates my laptop.

Now he is insisting I cuddle him, so I’m typing this one-handed.)

Ok- when I mention this to anyone, they seem to think I’m being ridiculous, as if I were playing the martyr, showing how much I work and sacrifice for my kids, how I always put myself last. They try to fix me and my mistaken priorities/ time management skills/ parenting strategies.

Whatever.

This is not just me. I don’t think that’s possible.

It is the nature of a child to be distracting to his or her parent.

It is the nature of being a full-time teacher with a family of four not to have enough time in the day for “extras.”

My creative drive is an extra.

(My kids have the sniffles and they just declared themselves too miserable to play. Therefore, cartoons are now playing- very loudly- in the background while I type this. Note to self- we are dangerously low on apple juice. It’s either brave the grocery store on a Saturday or risk a mutiny.)

(Also- grade those 50 papers.)

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