Friday Speak Out!: Making the Choice between Parenting and Pursuing Your Passion for Writing

Friday, March 07, 2014
by Stephanie Romero

Anyone who is a parent (or knows one—which would qualify all of us), is well aware of the mommy wars that can happen. You know the ones I’m talking about…homeschooling versus traditional schooling, stay-at-home mom versus working mom, co-sleeping versus let ‘em cry it out and well, the list could go on and on.

But there’s another battle that can emerge when it comes to mothers who are writers. It is the pull between parenting and pursuing your passion. Somehow we’ve been convinced that we must choose one or the other. Or we have to wait until a “season” or “stage” in our child’s life has passed. Yet the next one could prove to be more difficult and time-consuming than the last. So we remain stuck. Or we end up feeling guilty because we’ve made what we perceive as the wrong choice.

For too long, mothers have been convinced that when they choose something else to pursue (other than parenting), they should feel guilty. As if being a mom is the only identifying factor in her life. When the truth is that we are so much more. We have passions that go beyond motherhood, so why not embrace them?

Do you ever feel guilty about writing? I have been there. When I’ve been holed up in my office downstairs for hours at a time, knowing my full attention isn’t always with my children. So I have to remind myself—this is not only my passion, it’s my job. I get paid to do this—which means someone is expecting me to produce. I’m teaching them responsibility and something about hard work.

But the same thing can happen when we want to take time to break away and work on that novel, polish up the manuscript or write a blog post. The guilt monster sits on our shoulder, needling away at us. “What kind of mom are you?!” And we’re back to believing that in pursuing our passion as a writer, we have somehow failed as a mother.

Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we do it to other women? Because we believe the lies. We have fallen into that trap, the one that tries to convince us we are not being a good mom if we are passionate about something other than our children. Of course, it’s all about balance. But that’s a different topic for another day.

The point is, I feel like women need permission to be excited about something else in life. To understand that the beauty of being a woman extends beyond motherhood. You can be a mother AND a writer. You might have to write during naptime, in the middle of the night or while they’re at school. But for heaven’s sake, don’t wait until the “right time.” Do it now. You really don’t have to choose between parenting and pursuing your passion for writing—there is a way to have both.

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Stephanie Romero is a professional web content writer for "We Do Web Content." Her personal blog, "REAL Inspiration for the REAL Writer" provides weekly encouragement to writers of all genres. But her biggest passion (and what she hopes to one day turn into a book) is helping other moms (and even dads) learn how to treasure every moment with their children. Through her own candid experiences in parenting, she shares how faith has helped her navigate the ups and downs of parenting. In addition, she is the writer/instructor of "Recovery from Abuse," an online course currently being used in a correctional institution's character-based program.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Sioux Roslawski said...

Stephanie--It's the same dilemma we face when we decide to have kids. Is it the right time? Shouldn't we wait to have children when we've finished with college/gotten a better job/gotten a bigger house?

If we all waited until the perfect time to have kids, we'd never have them.

The same with writing. There is never (or hardly ever) a perfect time to write. As women and mothers, we just have to make the most of the snatches of time we do have.

Thanks for the post.

Margo Dill said...

Stephanie: DID YOU READ MY MIND? :) I am constantly battling this every day, even when I leave the house to write and leave my 3-year-old with her GRANDMA AND GRANDPA or DAD! :) Can you believe that? Sometimes, I even have DOG GUILT! Once my daughter is in bed, I will be typing away and my dog will be laying there looking at me with one eye open, like WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS ON THE COMPUTER? :) Thanks for this. It's one of the hardest balances of my entire life.

Unknown said...

I am almost 50 and my kids are 23 and 18. When I pursued this writing, I thought I was past all this. But then my son (the 23 year old) was diagnosed with cancer and this pull came right back. Of course he needed our love and care and the time devoted to doctor appointments and chemo sessions. In the midst of it all, finding the time to write became even more precious and important to me. It wasn't so much guilt as just trying to find the balance in it all. I guess we never stop being mamas. :)

Anonymous said...

I think we all wrestle this demon.

Unknown said...

The timing on this subject is perfect for me. I just began a new chapter in my writer's life and it has been a struggle keeping the guilt at bay while my children are both so young and needy. Thank you for addressing it.

Sarah Butland said...

I've been suffering with this tremendously more and more and people say "wait till he's in school" but we plan to homeschool.

The biggest issue is I had a full time job working nights too, stay home with my son all day and don't let him watch tv. I keep trying to explain to my now 4 year old that if he doesn't want me to work at night all the time I need to do more during the day instead of watching him.

So far, that's not working so well.

Thanks for the encouragement and letting me know I'm not so alone afterall.

And thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland
author of Arm Farm, Brain Tales and Sending You Sammy

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