Wife, Mother, Writer?

I’ve struggled for the past year to get onto a regular writing schedule. No sooner would I have one than my daughter’s schedule would change and I’d be scrambling again. First I got up early to write, then my daughter started waking up earlier. When I started writing during her morning naptime, she dropped her morning naps. I sometimes continue to work on my novel during her afternoon nap, but now that it is my only time to myself other activities tend to win out. I know from experience that I do best when I write first thing in the morning. But mornings are usually taken up with breakfast, diapering and other aspects of a toddler’s early morning routine. I have the ideas swirling around in my head and even the motivation to write them down. But what I lack is energy. By the time my daughter is in bed for the night I don’t have much left. I always felt like lack of time was my problem. I had too many loads of laundry, too many meals to prepare and too much part-time paid work to do. But I’m quickly realizing that I can make time to do most of the things that really matter to me. But I can’t seem to manufacture the energy. I admire creative people who get up in the middle of the night or the crack of dawn, or stay up until the wee hours to hone their craft. I want to be a good wife and a good mother but I often wonder if that precludes being a good writer as well.

As I read Stephen King’s On Writing I find myself both inspired and discouraged. He recommends 1,000 words a day and a quiet place to write where you can lock the world away. I doubt my laptop on a coffee table surrounded by piles of toddler toys qualifies. I’m lucky if I write a couple hundred words a day, let alone 1,000. I try to remind myself that he wrote his early works in attics and garages with a typewriter balanced on his knees. He had young children too and he worked a crappy, physically demanding job. (Though he also had a devoted and wonderful wife who cared for said children and worked a second shift job of her own to help make ends meet, while also trying to write herself). I find myself wondering, if he could do it, why can’t I? Maybe I just don’t want it enough. Maybe I have too many other things that matter to me. So to all you writers out there, especially those who are also parents; how do you make it work? I’d love to know what tips you’ve discovered.

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3 thoughts on “Wife, Mother, Writer?

  1. OMG, I totally relate to your wish to write while being a mother. It all revolves around the young when they’re a bub. You can’t escape it!

  2. I really believe that we have seasons in our lives where we are able to accomplish certain things, and other seasons where we can’t. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to write as much as you want. There will someday be a season where you’ll be able to put down on paper much more. Just sow into the season God has you in now (mothering a toddler, having a young family, loving your husband, being faithful to your job) and things will grow from it allowing you then be able to write more in another season.
    I think of this concept a lot, especially when I’m trying to balance my life as a mom, wife, youth pastor etc. There are so many things I want to do, but can’t at this point: at least not well. I just need to be faithful to sow into myself, my husband, my church etc. what I need to now in order to reap in the next season. (For example, if I sow time and joy and love into my kids now, I should be able to reap some contented children who will be able to keep themselves busy for a little while so that I can get to some of those things 🙂

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