How to be a writer and the mother of a toddler

Answer: I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

My son is asleep now, in the middle of his morning nap that usually lasts about an hour and a half. As soon as I laid him in his crib, my internal clock started: unload/reload dishwasher, check. Make bed, check. Quick shower, skip hair washing, check. Move laundry from washer to dryer otherwise the cloth diaper covers won’t be clean when the baby wakes up, check.

Aaand… 45 minutes are gone.  Should I even bother to sit down and write anything? I’ll get a couple paragraphs at most, and I should probably be doing more to firm-up this post-baby belly, so maybe I’ll just hit the treadmill for a few minutes … but I haven’t blogged in months. But, but…. Every mom recognizes this internal struggle. Moms of kids who’ve dropped to one nap envy those whose kids take two, moms of multiples envy those of us who’ve only got one. Note to self: conditions now are as good as they’re going to get!

Writing advice like, “get up earlier,” cracks me up because my little one regularly gets us up before 5 (stupid teething).  “Write after they go to bed,” is similarly hilarious because mustering energy for creative thought past 8 p.m. just does not happen.

I’m discovering I’m not as good a writer as I used to be when I lived abroad and I could assume that my daily routines were tinged with the novel and exotic. Also, years of teaching academic writing has subtly shaped my writing so that I tend to want to pontificate, or craft a fully formed essay (I’ve got a great one languishing in my “drafts” folder), or ramble on way past the 800-words that most blogging experts suggest is the tolerance level of the average surfer. Plus, every time I sit down to work on “the book” I have rumbling around in my head, I end up writing poems instead.

Thanks goodness for poetry. I might be negligent at blogging, but I’m having some fulfillment in the poetry realm.  I don’t have official information to share yet (believe me, I will be drumming up readers every way I can once I do), but good news is that I have had a chapbook accepted for publication AND I will likely be a participating poet in an online “poetry marathon” project in either August or September.  (For the uninitiated, I describe chapbooks as the “EP” of the publishing world – more than a single, less than a full album).

I hope there are still a few of you out there reading because I’m excited to share these writing projects with you! Knowing you’re listening is helping me learn how to BE the person who is both mom and writer.

Look at that – a blog post! Baby’s still sleeping, less than 800 words, check.

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