I've mentioned, maybe once or twice, that deciding to call myself a writer instead of "just" a stay-at-home-mom has been a struggle for me. I've been a long time advocate of motherhood being enough. Sometimes I think by adopting the "writer" title I'm taking away with from it, like, oh it's okay to be "just" a mom if you also have a creative outlet like writing that can bring in some extra dollars and provide you with a secondary job title. In other words, it is okay to be a mom if you aren't just a mom.
Honestly, I'm probably the only one who worries about this. People don't really ask me what I "do" unless I give them a reason to (they just look at my children and back away slowly). The writer title is more for my sake than anything.
But the thought did have me going over some of the similarities.
- Writing and motherhood both have to fight for respect as "real jobs". The world tends to judge vocations by financial results, and Motherhood and Writing are hardly top earners.
- Both have no time clock. My mothering hours are 24-7. That doesn't mean that I never sleep or watch TV. I just know that sleep and TV could be interrupted at a moments notice due to the needs of a little person. Writing is "when inspiration strikes" or more often "whenever I get a free moment".
- Both involve emotional attachment to something external. You think it is hard being unbiased about your kid? Well, it is. No one wants to hear that their kid is anything but clever or cute. It is also hard to be unbiased about your writing. Every little criticism can feel so personal.
- Sometimes you just have to say no to advice. Whether is that other mom who doesn't think you should take your kid to McDonalds or that other writer who doesn't like dialog heavy scenes and wants to gut yours, sometimes you just have to smile and nod and back away.
- You will probably be much more interested in talking about your books/kids than people are about listening. Yes, your kid is adorable, and yes, your plot is exciting . . . but those heathens don't care, curse them and crush them.
- Both involve slaving, working, pouring all your heart into something for a lengthy period of time only to have to "set it free". Face it, eventually your kids move out. Eventually you have to stop editing the book and either try and publish or put it aside. Once the kids have their own homes and lives you'll probably still check on them regularly, but you can't keep trying to raise them. That's done. And while you may want to argue loudly with every not-five-star-review on Amazon, it is best not to do that either. After publication, your work has to stand on its own merits.
- It's really nice to find other people in the same boat. Moms need other moms. Writers seek out other writers whenever possible. BECAUSE IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE SOMEONE WHO WILL TALK ABOUT SEMICOLONS!
- If you are in it for the money or the praise, you'll probably go insane long before you get your dues.
- Both involve copious amounts of coffee.
- and/or wine.
- Or whining.
So yes, I am a writer, and a Mom, and I think I do both with style (read insanity).