So here’s the dirty truth about being a writer . . .
A writer who is a mom that is. Or rather a mom who is a writer. Because no matter how much I try to ignore my 6-year-old twins, it turns out I can’t escape them. Not even if I hide in the bathroom to write. Or the closet. Or under my bed. Though I’ll admit, this last one doesn’t lend itself to being comfortable, so I don’t mind when they find me.
I am a mommy writer.
And I love it.
But the truth is . . . I don’t always love it. I fail more often than I succeed. I get frustrated more often than I want to admit. I miss my self-imposed deadlines all the time. I’ve become an official coffee-a-holic by day and wine-a-holic by night. I’ve felt bitter when the weekend comes around, and I have help . . . but then have to attend to a gazillion family gatherings. Because you know that’s when inspiration is at its highest.
Every night I look forward to putting the kids to bed. But then? I miss them. Well, except for when they’re up all night trying to test if I’ll still miss them with less than 5 minutes apart.
The emotional rollercoaster is something I wouldn’t change. My kids come first. But my insomnia days have lost their appeal since it became a combination of staying up all night writing, and all day running behind energy-sucking leeches. Adorable leeches that is.
But you know why I do it? Because I’m a writer.
It’s in my blood. It’s a fuel that helps me run. It completes me. (Awww!)
And because of that, I’ve had days where I ignore the dishes in the sink. Called my husband at the last minute to pick up dinner. Lived in my PJs for a couple of days. Yes, a couple of days. What? Haven’t you been on the brink of finishing a story and *just* can’t stop? Or NEED to send your book to your editor and every minute counts? Well, PJs ALL day for a couple of days in a row. Hey, I did say DIRTY TRUTH.
On those days, I’ve met only the very basic requirements my kids need and nothing more. I’ve sat them in front of the TV for hours, and let me tell you, that one hurts because I don’t believe in it. I like to be present for them . . . but if they get 99% of my time every day. Writing can take over a few days a year. Right? Don’t answer that. I don’t need you adding to my guilt. You’re cute, though.
You hear from writers with no kids that it’s an excuse.
You hear that maybe you’re not really a writer.
You hear that you simply should stop reading, social media, watching TV, or breathing. But come on, everyone needs a transition period from kids to writing. I think. Which, by the way, is also the only time you give your spouse before your deadlines pull you to a land far far away.
You hear that “if it’s important, you find the time.” And you do . . . but that’s why your household suffers. Your personal hygiene is questionable. You burn water. You drink stale coffee. And you are incapable of functioning in public because you haven’t slept more than 8 hours in a whole week. #TrueStory
The point is . . . yes, if it’s important to you, you do find the time. So, to all the moms AND dads who are the primary caretaker of your children while publishing books every year, I bow to you.
It isn’t easy, but it is amazing.
S. Katherine Anthony