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On being both a Mom and a Writer

I originally wrote this for a writer’s board I participate on, but it relates so well to what I talk about on this blog that I wanted to share it here, too. The context is that another writer was complaining that she is limited in her reach right not because she’s a mom. This is my reply:

I want to give a little working/writing/mom love. Being a mom is a really important job. The kids really benefit from all we do. When they are small it can be very brain-sucking work (just how many times do I have to tell Junior here that hitting his baby sister with Thomas the Tank Engine is Not Appropriate Behavior In Our House?) But on the flip side, there is IMMENSE creativity required in parenting, as any mother who has escaped the grocery store without buying the entire contents of the candy traps at the checkout desk can attest to. “How many green things can you count? Show me your toes. Show me your nose! What’s that letter? What should we have for dinner? Let’s sing Wheels on the Bus!” — and now those of you who don’t have children might better understand the slightly insane glint in our eyes as we exit the grocery store parking lot…

Immense creativity. I’m 100% convinced it has helped me be a better writer.

The most stunningly awesome amazing unbelievable thing that has happened? Context: I decided to start writing as a New Years Resolution in 2007 when my youngest was just 3. My now 7 year old writes the most amazing stories, they are *unreal.* She is publishable at age 7 and you just have to believe me that I’m not being overly dramatic. (The 9 year old is also interested in writing but hasn’t yet mastered the ability to move the pictures from behind his forehead to the page. He’s getting there.)

I haven’t done anything specific with the 7 year old to develop this skill, other than immersing our family in the world of stories. We read stories constantly, we listen to audio books, we tell each other stories, she reads my stories, she is so entrenched in the world of storytelling that she naturally tells beautiful stories in her 1st grade assignments. It’s honestly astonishing. And when she fills in the little worksheets to tell her classmates about her family, you know what she puts by my name, even though I actually make my career elsewhere?

Author.

So don’t for a minute doubt the time you’re investing in your children while they are young. It is worth it, and there is time yet. And your creativity is sparked every day. And before long you find yourself writing the stories your children are begging you to write, because they’re your biggest fans and you want to please them.

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