Monday, August 19, 2013

It's a Bit of a Struggle

I'll be honest here. Writing a novel while caring for a baby? It's a bit of a struggle. I love Baby TR with every cell in me, and I can't imagine life without him now. But looking back PBTR (pre-Baby-TR), I honestly had no idea how much time I had. I want to bellow at the old me now: Enjoy it! Lie on the sofa! Savour the silence! Take that nap! Because you'll never, ever be able to fully relax again! I am constantly twitching at each and every little noise, thinking it's the baby crying.

While I do manage to get the odd uninterrupted nap (I only write while he's napping), more often than not, I'll just be getting into a scene when he lets out a wail. I'll tip-toe in, settle him, creep back out and sit down at the desk . . . and another wail erupts.

No-one is forcing me to write while my baby is still young. But writing is a part of me -- I need to do it. I can't imagine not having a story playing out in my mind; not having that creative outlet. It's a piece of me I can't (and don't want to!) let go, no matter how hard it may be.

On the positive side, though, Baby TR has forced me to be extremely disciplined about sitting down at the desk. When I know I only have a limited window, suddenly it's not so hard to turn off Twitter and write like the wind, even if I'd much prefer to a. take a nap!; b. lie on the sofa and savour the (occasional) silence; or c. drink a freakin' HUGE glass of wine.

Writing a novel is hard work. Taking care of a baby is hard work. The two of them together? Well . . .  Where's that wine?

(And if you tell me to cherish these moments, I will virtually slap you with a very wet nappy.) 

45 comments:

  1. You've had to adapt. As you said, you're more disciplined now.
    As for me, just the thought of a baby in this house makes me reach for a drink!

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    1. Haha! I'll have a drink for you, Alex. :)

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  2. Of course you have to adapt! Get a bigger glass!

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  3. Awwww lovely Talli!!! Remind Baby TR of this when he turns 16.:-)

    Big hugs and lots of wine for you! Take care
    x

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  4. Hard as it is, you're doing it very well :)

    I'll have an extra glass for you until you can get your own!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Marisa. And please, have that extra glass.

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  5. Yup - it's tough! I had my kids (deliberately) very close together (about 16 months) and worked full time so I didn't even consider working until they were older. It's all VERY hard work! Enjoy those writing moments whenever you can steal them!!!

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    1. Thank, Jemi. Oh, I am enjoying them when I get them. And I am in awe of anyone who has more than one child. I've no idea how you juggle them (not literally, ha!).

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  6. EEK I can't even begin to imagine- you're turning into Super-Talli!! (Just don't start wearing your knickers over your jeans!)

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    1. Not to worry, Laura, my knickers are still very much hidden, ha! :)

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  7. Hi Talli! I'm new to blogger and Summer Ross, my editor, recommended I check yours out. I can certainly sympathize with your child plight. I've written a couple of blog posts myself on this subject. One solution would be to have your baby write a guest blog. Just kidding. You can check out my daughter's blog today. But she's 12.

    http://davidkalishauthor.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi David! Thanks for dropping by. I can't wait until my baby is old enough to write a blog post.

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  8. Even though I've never even been a babysitter, I do know that what you're feeling right now is perfectly normal. And I can tell from reading your posts that you're a loving mother too. I think it's perfectly fine that you want to keep writing, because it's a great outlet and it's a chance to escape for a while into a different world.

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  9. In years to come you'll look back and wonder how you did it - but you will and you are, like so many of us. Keep smiling! (and you do realise you won't have another peaceful night's sleep until babyTR is all grown up with little ones of his own . . . seriously!)

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  10. Yup, I remember it well, kids are the reason I didn't write anything for 15 years! Five kids in seven years...I must have been mad! But it seriously does get easier.. there's nursery and playgroup and pre-school and then school... a few more hours clawed back every year.
    Hang in there.

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  11. Talli I could have written that post myself this time last year. It's IMPOSSIBLE to write and care for a young baby but you have to to stay sane & stay connected to the self that wrote books. I felt like me again when I wrote, not a sleep-deprived, hairy-legged, milk dispenser. Balance (and sanity) will be restored when you get childcare. I promise x

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  12. Oh, Talli, I feel your pain. You are doing so well trying to balance these two crucial things: a) loving and nurturing and caring for your child and b) loving, nurturing and caring for your soul. Both are equally important. Don't ever give up trying.

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  13. Talli, your sense of humour (and the wine) will get you through! Cheers

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  14. I don't have kids, so I'll encourage you to enjoy wine-o'clock and your squeezed in writing time with every fiber of your being!!! Then you'll be happy, which will make baby happy! :)

    Your post script made me laugh and reminded me of this article: Don't Carpe Diem Have you seen it? It made quite a stir among parents (Well, among moms. Dads don't seem to judge each other like moms do. What's up with that?) a year and a half ago ago.

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  15. Being a mom and writer is a huge balance- I'm a single mom with two plus an editor and an author. Time is seriously constricted. The good news- you will get used to it.
    ~Summer

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  16. It's not forever! But yeah, it does help you to prioritise things, that's for sure. :)

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  17. Just wait for the Terrible Twos....

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  18. It's a tough assignment, but somebody's got to do it. Also, I recommend Chianti; it makes juggling easier.

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  19. Yup, I remember it too, but it does get easier - it just might take another couple of years. I noticed a turn around when my three wee boys were in the routine of a 7pm bedtime (having run riot all day) and were sleeping 12 hrs. I wrote my first book between the hours of 7pm-10pm. In the winter, when it was dark earlier, I used to put the clock forward one hour at 6pm and say 'oh look, it's bedtime already' and the little darlings (cleverly knowing what 7pm looked like on the clock!) would happily go off to bed! Yay - an extra hour of writing - and a large glass of wine!

    Janice xx

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  20. I think you're marvellous managing to juggle the two things, baby and writing, Tali, it's not something I managed so I think you're doing really well. Anything that stops one wasting time on social media sites must be a good thing too!

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  21. Well done Talli, it must be incredibly hard. But you're doing it,that's the main thing. And as everyone says, it will get easier. Good on you!

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  22. I won't tell you to cherish these moments. I lived through the same thing you are now not too long ago. Just make sure you prioritze your time. That's all. I used to nap while the Monster napped and then write all night. Or rather most of the night. I needed sleep too. Once Baby TR's in school it gets easier. Yes, it feels like years right now, but let me tell you how fast they fly by.

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  23. Hehe, try it with two babies!

    I'm lucky that I can write on my lunch hour in work, and the girls are quite well-behaved unless they're hungry or teething. They'll nap or play happily with my wife while I get some extra work done at weekends. But you do end up treating what writing time you do get as utterly precious.

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  24. No, I'm going to tell you to survive those moments! And keep the wine handy.

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  25. I respect any writer who is also a parent! Kudos to you for singlehandedly wrassling with a baby and a novel!

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  26. My children are now grown, the youngest two in college, I can only warn you it won't get easier. Though it's wonderful and fun, children are like a vortex sucking time out of your life.

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  27. Loved the post. Besides, your constant referring of wine is luring me to have wine.

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  28. I had forgotten what it was like to have a baby 24/7 until my granddaughter came. It was such hard work when she stayed over. Now she will be two soon things are a bit easier,she will play by herself for short times but the house still looks like a bombsite when she goes home. I think you are doing wonders getting any work done at all but it is your job so maybe get a babysitter to tend to his lord and master or take him our for a walk for a few hours a few times a week and get on with your work.

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  29. Hey, Talli,

    Well... little ones definitely take up A LOT of time... It's great that you have focus and can write on the spot! Hang in there... by the time he's three, you'll have part of your life back.... nursery school starts.... YAY! Let the teachers deal with it for a few hours a day. That's what they get paid for.... LOL

    Keep the WINE handy for the rest of the time.

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  30. Actually, darlin', you WILL be able to fully relax again. In about fifteen to twenty years or so. No, honestly - you're in the most intense time of parenting right now. It gets better the older they get. And I think you'll be glad when that time comes that you've hung onto that "writer" part of you and not let it suffocate under dirty diapers (or nappies, as it were), or, conversely, that you haven't farmed out BabyTR to be raised by other people. Hang in there!

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  31. Hi Talli,
    It's so hard, isn't it? I can remember those days. If it's any consolation (my eldest is now 23, I was masochist enough to have three more after that!) my first short story 'Elton John's Mother' came out when my boy was a baby in a basket on the floor in Mogadishu. And next month - though I've published a novel and lots of stories in between - my first collection of short stories is finally coming out. Unlike you, I hadn't published much before I had my baby, and the babies after him sure as hell slowed me down, but you'll survive, you'll be richer for it I promise! Just hold onto those escape mechanisms and know there's hard work, lots of wailing and publication at the end of it! hugs xxcat

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  32. But baby TR is so gorgeous! I recall an equal struggle when DD was small, trying to set up my own business..but as someone pointed out...time passes, they grow, playgroup arrives, and soon he'll be off to school.I GET that you need to write...but this precious time is all too short. seize the writing moments, but don't lose the baby ones...

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  33. Talli: A short but very relevant post for all of us. I have considered actually closing my Twitter and Facebook accounts, if only because it represents a drowning of noise and distraction. Do we really need all these apps? I think we were much happier as a society with the simple, uncluttered, less complicated lifestyle. That said, I admire how you are balancing writing with caring for bay TR. He's a cutie! :)

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  34. Hi Talli - lots of fun stories here ... I suspect the time will fly by and you'll wonder what you were on about. Those books will fly off to publications too ... all will be well and enjoy the wine in the process ...

    Cheers and enjoy the wet nappies!! Hilary

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  35. Ah, you probably are cherishing them - you just don't notice! :-)
    I think it's inspiring to see how disciplined you are!

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  36. I remember when I spent most of the night wondering if my son was asleep Talli. Kids are great though.

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Coffee and wine for all!