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MamaWriters on Being Moms and Writers

by Jeannie Ruesch 2 February 2009 2 Comments

Yesterday, the MamaWriters blog was launched.  I'm triply thrilled about this blog because one, I'm part of it, 2) I designed it and 3) having a place to chat with other women who are mothers and writers, just like me, is irresistable. To celebrate, I asked some questions of the MamaWriters on being, well a Mama and a writer.  So please welcome the MamaWriters:

  (two daughters, 4 1/2 and 3>2)

What's one thing that's surprising or different about being a writer AND a mom and doing both?

One thing?! I'm going to say two. I find that my characters tend to have young children, and am inspired by my daughter's insights on the world around them. They give me a sense of humor that I must have been lacking before. Also, I know that spare time is precious, so it's very rarely wasted. Writing time is now extremely productive.Another thing I've discovered, my daughters love to make up stories and want me to write them down. I have fabulous tales of princesses and unicorns, and faeries. My daughters also would rather carry around a "real book" – one of mommy's paperbacks – than a picture book. My friends often say what a stellar imagination my daughters have, how amazed they are that the girls use "big" words in context, and have a great vocabulary. That's a fantastic compliment for a mom!

CHRISTINE MARCINIAK (daughter, 11 and son 8.2)

How do you balance being a mother and being a writer?
I think I balance being a mother and a writer the same way I balance being a mother and anything else… very carefully. My kids are a bit older now – so there are times when they are either at school – or sufficiently occupied that I have time to write. Other times they demand 110% of my attention and I need to give it. I'm not sure this is really an answer, but then again I sometimes feel like it's more of a juggling act than a balancing one.

ALLIE K. ADAMS (Boy,16; Girl, 12)

When and Where do you write?
I write whenever I'm not working, playing Suzie-Homemaker, or sleeping. Which, lately, equates to not a whole heck of a lot!

I write at my computer work station in my office at home. I work out of my house, which most would think is a luxury. Actually, no. I work long hours, odd hours, and never seem to leave work behind. When I'm not in the office, I have my trusty Blackberry attached to my hip, so emails are merely a thumbing text away.


How do you balance being a mother and being a writer?
I've never really considered the balance, to be honest with you. I feel like the two are intertwined. They're both a part of my life, so there's really no separation.

DANA MARIE BELL (2 boys, 9 and 4)

When do you write?
I write during the day.  I decided "office hours" would be best, as I could a) explain them to the four year old and b) when both boys are in school that's most likely the time I'll be writing anyway.

Where do you write?
I write on a computer "cart" in my family room, so I can keep an eye on my kids while I work.  It's distracting at times, but it works for us.

VIOLA ESTRELLA (4 boys, 8,9, 15 and 16)

What's one thing that's surprising or different about being a writer AND a mom and doing both?

They couldn't be more different. When I'm writing my mind is in fantasy land. I'm creating characters and building lives (sometimes worlds) for them. Everything is under my complete control as I tap away on a keyboard. As we all know, life with children is unpredictable and hands-on. Not to mention fun, exhausting, heart-warming, and sometimes overwhelming. Honestly, I'm not sure I could be one without the other. My children inspire me to pursue my dreams and be the best person/mom/writer I can be. And my career as a writer allows me to feel fulfilled, and therefore be a better mom.

LISA ALEXANDER-GRIFFIN (3 children, 31, 27 and 10)

How do you balance being a mother and being a writer?
I don't know that I do. I struggle every day to carve writing time. Sighs  

What's one thing that's surprising or different about being a writer AND a mom and doing both? Nothing really. I always worked. This is still work. I'm just doing it from home now. The only thing is, no one takes it seriously or considers it work. Mom is playing on the computer again.

STACY DAWN (2 boys, 7 and 5)

How do you balance being a mother and being a writer?
I practically got them used to it from the time they were in the womb.  After they were born, I wrote during nap times and continued those naptimes/quiet times for mommy to write.  If I had deadlines, I'd set them up at a little table next to my desk so they could do artwork or 'work' pages from preschool books so they'd feel like we were working together.

AJ CHASE (2 children, boy 7, girl 4)

What's one thing that's surprising or different about being a writer AND a mom and doing both? 
My kids have trouble believing that I really write books LOL.  They both love to read and they just find the idea that they know someone who produces books impossible to believe.  Lately my son's been pressuring me to let him read something of mine.  At the moment I have nothing that I would allow him to read.  Even the YA is wayyyy too much for him.  So maybe I will be writing children's books soon LOL.

JEANNIE RUESCH (1 boy, 3>2)

Where and When do you write?
When my son became mobile, we moved my office setup (desk, filing cabinets, etc) into the front room.  My desk faces out into the living room, where we have toys and things for my son to play with.  This allows me to work as I need to work, although truthfully getting much done when he's around isn't likely.  When I do write is mostly at night, after my hubby (who gets up really early) and my son have gone to bed.   

KRIS KENNEDY (1 boy, age 4)

How do you balance being a mother and a writer?
I have no idea.  LOL  I am constantly re-balancing, spending more time on my writing one week, then more time going on walks with my son the next.  

I try to remember that my child’s youth only comes once, and is a fleeting thing. When I remember that, it makes me more patient and accepting of ‘interruptions.’  B/C really, they’re only technically interruptions if I told myself I was ‘supposed to’ be doing something else beside being a good mother to my son.  And really, the whole idea of ‘this is what I’ve planned for my day’  just goes out the window when you have little kids, so I find that if I’m willing to go with the flow, I do better.   

And I remember that a little benign neglect never hurt anyone.  :-)

I also find balance, paradoxically, by throwing myself into each moment of writing an parenting (whenever I’m able, which is NOT all the time.  I fall short of this goal daily.)  But I tend to feel more sane and connected if I stop looing for my next break.  If I’m waiting for my husband to come home and ‘spell’ me, or if I am waiting  for nap time or preschool so I can write, I am much less patient and good-natured.  With my son AND my writing. Both come easier when I’m willing to be totally ‘in the moment.’

So please, share your answers, too — whether you are a mama, a papa or neither.  How do you balance work and other aspects of your life?  When and where do you write?  What's surprising about being a writer? 


  • JK Coi said:

    Your new Mama Writer’s blog sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck!
    I’m a writer, I have to make time for it, but I also work outside the home and I love my family more than anything else in the world, so I do what I have to to weave it all together. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like I can’t possibly take anymore, and sometimes it actually works…but it’s always interesting

    J.K. Coi
    Immortals to Die For

  • Jeannie said:

    Hi JK – Finding time to do it all is the toughest part of mixing all the parts of our lives, I think. Whether it’s a day job and writing, family and writing, family & day job & writing… Like you said, it’s always interesting. :)

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