A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire
Another Type of Richness:
Mothers Who Write
I’ve started rereading A Question of Balance: Artists and Writers on Motherhood edited by Judith Pierce Rosenberg. Even though it was published in 1995, the issues surrounding being a mother while being a writer or artist are pretty much the same. There are issues with guilt, worry, frustration, and of course, balance. These essays and interviews could have been written last week, each woman seems to be coming up against the same challenge—how to mix writing with motherhood or how to be a good mother and a good writer/artist. Eighteen years later: same issues, different decade.
In the introduction, Rosenberg writes about how she had a career crisis after they moved and she lost her home office. She writes:
We had just moved out of a cramped two-bedroom cottage into a ranch house with a fenced yard, and a room for each child—but no office. My husband quickly nixed my idea of converting the dining alcove into a work space, saying that it would look too messy. And I believed the child rearing experts who insisted that my son and daughter were too old to share a bedroom … Why didn’t I insist on taking my old desk to our new home and using the dining alcove as an office? Why were the perceived needs of my children more important than the demands of my work? In retrospect, I think the reason lies in the fact that I was earning very little money as a freelance writer. In fact, my work was a financial drain on the family since I did not make enough money to cover my work-related expenses, especially childcare. It was difficult for either my husband or for me to consider my work as important as his.
Many times, the things that bring us the greatest fulfillment in life, may not offer the greatest financial reward. As writers, we shouldn’t measure our success by a dollar sign. There are many ways to be rich and to live a rich life. As I’ve grown as writer and a woman, I’ve begun to realize that financial achievement is not the only way to measure success. I’ve realized how I spend my time is more important than a number on a paycheck.
Sometimes I still struggle with the mother/writer balance as well as how much I’m bringing in financially to the family. But as my daughter gets older, it’s become easier as I see myself as a writer in the world. And there is less room for excuses if I don’t write.
We each have our challenges we face as writers—some we create internally and some are external. As women writers, we must write through them. Writing offers us another type of richness. There is value in our writing. If we want to keep that part of ourselves, we must continue to write, to find time to write, to have a rich life. We try our best and we move forward.
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