Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Writing With Kids
These birds are all saying, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." BTW - their dad is probably sitting right there next to them. (If you're a mom, you get that!)
As you know if you've followed my blog for any time, I'm a mom and a writer. If you're a parent, you know that having kids makes everything a little (okay, a lot) harder. Things like picking up and going to the movies with my husband now take days of advance planning. We need a babysitter. The kids need to be fed before we leave. We need to get home at a certain time. We need to give Grace her seizure meds before we leave.
This is a lot of work. Then, to top it all off, when we finally do get out of the house, we spend the first 30 minutes talking about the kids.
Often, we'll be half-way through the movie and get a phone call that says we need to come home. Right! Now! Like the time the dog ate (and then threw up) our son's starfish. The boy was inconsolable. (No, the starfish wasn't alive, but that was the year he was really into starfish. He carried around dead starfish everywhere. Really.)
It's the same with writing. I sit down to write and suddenly someone is hungry (and incapable of reaching the Pop Tarts that I've placed on the bottom pantry shelf for just such an emergency.) Someone needs their shoe tied, or their nose wiped, or to tell me that their friend across the street just said the "F" word. (That was yesterday's crisis.)
Obviously finding the time to write is difficult. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out and scream, and yet, even with all of this chaos, I'm a much better writer now than I was ten years ago, before I had kids. Some of that is time, but most of it is that I found my voice when I became a mother.
I'm not a Hallmark Mom. I'm not crafty or sporty. I'm exhausted all the time. I drive a mini-van, but I do not have little stick figure family decals on the back window. (If I did, one of the stick figures would be sitting on his brother's chest, pummeling him, and another one would have the earbuds from her iPod surgically attached to her ears.) Our family is loud. And messy. We do not have it all together.
And yet...I didn't realize the depth of love I was capable of feeling before I became a mother. I know, I know. People tell you this all the time, but until it's you and your child, you don't believe it. Having kids changed what I wrote about. It changed my voice, and I hope for the better.
This is what I try to remember on days when finding time to write seems as impossible as convincing my youngest son to close the door when he uses the bathroom.
What about you? If you're a mom or a dad, how has parenting changed your writing? How do you fit writing into your schedule now?
Most of all, how do you stay sane?