Writing with Children

20 Apr

Ah, children. The love of my life. The wrench in my writing cog. Terrible thing to say isn’t it? I love my children. Deeply, truly and with all my heart. I just often wish they would leave me alone when I am trying to write. But, that’s kids for you. They want your full and undivided attention. And they should get it and you want to give it to them, but . . .

Even if you don’t write, most mothers have other full time jobs outside of the home. Most writers as well. So, how do you battle through the guilt and find that compromise between you – as a writer, woman, friend, individual –  and you – as a mother?

If someone has the answer please let me know. I’m still struggling.

As much as I would love to sit at my computer and write for hours of uninterrupted bliss, I have kids. And they do need to be fed upon occasion, read to, played with and generally loved. So . . . options: 1.Get up early. Fine, if you don’t mind missing sleep. 2.Stay up late. See number one. 3. Pay a babysitter. Expensive and missing time with the children. 4. Turn on the TV. Viable but then you worry about their eyes and their developing brains. 5. Write when you can. Okay but doesn’t always lead to lots of production or a schedule.

Personally, I am the Wicked Witch of the West and Ursula combined (capitals definitely needed here), if I do not get my sleep. Which leads to bad mommy. I can’t afford a babysitter on a weekly basis. Yes, there are times when I do turn on the TV – probably too many of them – but there are some great educational shows. Truly. What I usually end up with though is: writing when I can.

I carry a notebook and pen at all times as well as the Netbook that I saved for. I write in the seating area at my local grocery store in between activities. I write in the parking lot. I send my husband on errands with my children and write like crazy. My house is usually quite messy and we tend to have frozen pizza a lot for dinner, but I can manage my guilt and my characters as well as my children. Most of the time. Sort of.

Next year, my youngest will be in first grade. I may actually have more time to write. Hah. Because it’s not a perfect world, and despite all of our efforts most writers will never have the luxury of a dedicated schedule for writing. But we still write. Because it is our passion.

And I firmly believe that my writing makes me a better mom because I am embracing that passion.

One last thing, I also feel that it is important – especially as the mother of smaller, constantly starving children – to occasionally re-enter the real world and clean out the car and our purses. I found green cheese in a ziploc bog at the bottom of my purse yesterday. At least it hadn’t leaked onto my notebook.


Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Idaho


Tags: , , ,

12 responses to “Writing with Children

  1. Carley Ash

    April 20, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    I work during the day and write of an evening. That’s demanding without children. I’ve often wondered how mothers are able to work outside the home, and am in awe of those who can manage to to also write…makes me tired to think about it.

  2. Liz

    April 20, 2011 at 7:21 AM

    Meredith – It sounds like you have the answer. I think your children and husband are lucky to have such a creative person in their lives.

  3. Janis

    April 20, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    So true about time slipping by without cease. You’re keeping up with both your passions. Bravo!

  4. johannaharness

    April 20, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    I do the early morning option. Not writing makes me grumpier than not sleeping, so it works for me. 🙂

  5. Meredith Conner

    April 20, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Thanks for the comments ladies. Writing is our passion and we all – somehow – find time to devote to it.

  6. Kathryn Lang

    April 20, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    What – you need to sleep? I thought all moms could run on no sleep, no bath and only caffine 😉

    I find that setting up rules helps some, but in the end I have to choose writing over other things (like catching the latest Castle).

  7. maryvine

    April 20, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Sorry to break it to you, but even with the children grown and gone, you can feel guilty about not spending enough time with the hubby. Right now I am writing in the living room while my husband is nearby watching a show I don’t care for. I feel like I’m still “with him” that way. We all seem to write when we can, like you stated above.

  8. Clarissa Southwick

    April 20, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Courage, Meredith. It does get easier when they start school. One thing that has always worked for me is signing them up for sports and then writing while you wait for them. I get some of my best writing done in the 3 hours a week my daughter has soccer practice. In my case, it comes with a bonus: no internet access, so I can’t get side-tracked by anything else.

  9. lynn mapp

    April 20, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Meredith, I too followed the Clarissa Southwick mode. I did lots of writing while waiting in the car for practices to finish. It is a real juggling act, but you are doing it!

  10. Jennifer W

    April 21, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Meredith!!!!! Email me please! I have tried finding you over the years, and now I have. Can’t wait to chat! I have 2 kids as well. Lots to catch up on!

  11. Adolfo

    April 29, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Writer – sleep = No writing
    No writing = Cranky writer
    Good friend w/ summer camp = free scholarships
    Writer + friend with summer camp + scholarships = Freedom
    Freedom = more writing
    More writing = Happy Wife
    Happy Wife = happy children

    • Kim

      May 5, 2011 at 3:13 AM

      I think Adolfo covered it…he just forgot to add ME in the equation…! …next summer, I guess! Miss you tons!!


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