A minor victory today, as I actually remembered to post! It's a wonderfully sunny spring-like day here in London -- fingers crossed the good weather lasts.
Recently, blogger Allison Wells
had a great post on the challenges facing parent-writers. Her thoughts struck a chord with me, so I thought I'd write about my own challenges.
Until I had Baby TR, I have to admit I was one of those people who wondered: What on earth do parents DO all day? Snort.
I'd no clue how time-consuming, along with how mentally and physically exhausting, a child could be. Joyous, fun, exciting . . . but also bloody hard. Throw a job into the mix, and it becomes a little difficult.So, in no particular order, here are my challenges:
Baby TR is now seventeen months old. He's a very good sleeper at night -- and has been, since about four or five months. But the 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls? That I'm not so keen on. Some mornings he'll sleep in until six or six-thirty, which is absolute bliss. As he gets older, he's napping less, and he's also very active. After a morning of chasing, tickling, running, sliding, etc etc. my forty-year-old body is exhausted! When I put him down for his lunchtime nap, I usually collapse, too. I could write at night -- and at a push, I will -- but I've always been a thousand times more productive in the morning.
2. Carving out space of my own, both mentally and physically.
This is easier now that Baby TR is in nursery three mornings a week. But even so, it's hard to clear my mind sometimes and focus on the task at hand. I twitch at every noise, thinking he's in his bedroom waking up -- then I realise he's not even in the flat! I've given up my office, too, so I need to make do with working at the world's most uncomfortable kitchen table, surrounded by Lego, smushed Pla-Doh, and other detritus of the early-morning start.
I'm constantly wondering if I should be with my child instead of writing. Everyone says these years go so quickly -- and that seems to be true -- but I also need to write to be me
. The constant tension between doing everything you can for your child while retaining a sense of self is the theme of my next novel.
4. Ducking in and out of work.
I've always liked to work every day to keep the writing flowing. But when plans go awry (Baby TR is ill, doesn't nap, or any multitude of other scenarios), my plans to write often go out the window.
There you have it! My challenges as a writer and parent. I'm incredibly lucky that I have a very supportive husband who helps out when he can. I'd love to hear how others balance both demanding jobs, because wrestling a novel into shape is no easy task, either!
Have a great week, everyone.