Attempting to Write

by Becky Myers on August 15, 2011

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This past week of July has been filled with a great darkness. I have finally tried to write from home in a serious way. This was my plan when I left my job at 6 months pregnant. I would relax throughout my pregnancy and then begin my journey in freelance writing once I was comfortable in my new mommy world. But the dream seems to be unreachable almost every day so far.

My daughter is just 6 months old and the past 6 months have been amazing. I managed to find time to finish my master’s degree at night while my little girl and I trekked the city by day. We went to sign language classes, baby yoga, farmers market and numerous trips to Target just to walk around while I splurged on Starbucks and Archer Farm chocolate chip cookies.

After visiting with family for a few weeks though I began to feel a burning desire to write from home. Listening to my twin sister’s plans to teach overseas and my girlfriend’s new position as a screenwriter just left me wondering how exactly I spend my days… and where these days are headed. I began to feel like I was wasting precious time I could be using to further myself. Perhaps what I’m seeking is that SAHM comfort. I still feel quite unsure that I am doing the right thing…still unsure if I really make a difference…and why can’t I do something more than diaper changes and silly faces. Maybe I could be a SAHM that is also a productive member of the workforce.

After making a list of topics and magazines I would query I set out to write. I plopped my daughter next to me in her bouncy seat and typed away. I felt a rush of ambition rush over me. I did some research online to find some freelance writing jobs and applied to a few. Wouldn’t hurt right? Then the fussiness began. I stepped away from my beautiful writing bubble and calmed my baby girl down. This time I put her in a swing and turned on SpongeBob. I sat back down even more excited to begin writing. Again my head was just rushing with ideas and I felt a blissful feeling of self-satisfaction. Even if I only wrote one day a week maybe I could make some extra shopping money and beat those occasional bouts of boredom. Maybe I could wake up every day with a mission on my mind instead of diaper changes and Sesame Street. But, then, 5 minutes later the fussy baby to my left seemed to be very angry about these plans. These failed attempts continued throughout the day and week. Even my plans to write at night while she was zonked out didn’t work out. All I wanted to do by the end of the day was read a book and lay down. All of my creative juices were dried up.

I began to question my worth as a SAHM. Thoughts of putting her in daycare crossed my mind despite the fact I never wanted that for my daughter. I want to be a WAHM (work at home mom) but I don’t see where the balance is. It seems clear that I was beginning to ignore my daughter and she was simply screaming for some attention. Perhaps all I really need right now is a boost of self-confidence as a SAHM. Maybe in a month or two she will be self-reliant enough to entertain herself long enough to do a tad of writing….Here’s hoping.

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Becky Myers (6 Posts)

Becky is a navy wife and new parent to a 9 month old baby girl. She plans to enter an English PhD program next year and enjoys cooking, writing, yoga, upcycling and gardening during her free time (what free time?! )


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Desiree August 15, 2011 at 7:40 am

I tried to do my graphics from home for a short while and it seems they just know when you have something to do other then them. Even if their dad was home…they wanted mom because mom was busy.
I ended up with my own home daycare…I would have done anything to stay home with my kids. But alas, we have moved and I no longer have my home business. We can’t really afford to live on one income…but so far we are making due. The thought of daycare makes me feel anxious. One more year and they will both be in school part time. Maybe I can find part time work while they are in school.
We also fostered a baby for two years…hardest ‘job’ EVER!

I too feel the urge to do something to better myself…school? I don’t know. Every job I think I want to do that requires 2+ years of school is paying minimum right now….what’s the point in paying for school for that? Very frustrating.

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Johanna S August 15, 2011 at 8:00 am

I hear you, mama! Been there, done that! I want to be positive but realistic. I want to tell you that, yes, you can do both. But I also have to say that I found it very hard. Something I found to be very helpful and positive is to have someone other than you get a few hours with the little one, even if just once or twice a week. It could be a relative, a close friend, a college student (if paying for a sitter is in your budget). If you don’t have close relatives/friends nearby, you may find that an undergrad studying psychology, development, education, etc., may be a huge help. Another idea is to try to write while she naps, but there is so much competing for our time and attention when they nap, including a nap for us parents! Unfortunately, once she starts walking, it will be harder, in a way. I’m sorry for the bad news! Good news: in my experience, once she turned three, the change was huge. Life felt very low stress, rewarding and quite manageable. I hope something here helps! Yay for mamas like yourself who are noticing when their children need them and are working hard on finding a balance that keeps both mama and baby happy.

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becky myers August 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

thanks! it is good to know im not the only mommy who cant seem to get any work done from home. i did finally get a few articles published but not without losing a considerable amount of sleep. and then i was cranky and overtired..not a good way for me to try and be a nice mommy for sure..

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becky myers August 15, 2011 at 8:11 am

Johanna- thank you for being realistic. I have considered having someone watch her for a bit but right now the money i am making from working from home doesnt seem quite worth it.. Since we plan to have a big family I’m not sure if working from home will be feasible anytime soon…sometimes I think I just need to learn to embrace my new life for what it is

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Jenni August 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I’ve been working from home (running a small graphic design studio) since before my son was born, and continued working full-time (at part-time hours!) afterward. My mom comes up 2 days a week to help me amuse him while I get some good solid work time in, and I usually get some work done during naptime (when he sleeps by himself, which took quite some time, I admit!) and now that he’s older, during occasional bouts of TV time. (While I’m not wild about letting him watch TV, he really does enjoy it and learns a lot from shows like Word World.) When he was little like yours is, I admit it was a HUGE challenge to get anything accomplished when I was on my own with him, but it does get a bit easier, at least it did for me, when they start crawling. Once he could get things on his own, he was more amenable to playing on his own and letting Mama get some work done periodically throughout the day. Hopefully you will experience the same thing! Of course, I’m about to have son #2 any day now, so I will be back in your shoes very soon, trying to figure out how to make it work!

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Mollie August 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Our babies are only babies for a very short time. Just by being with them and tuned into them, we are doing something so huge and wonderful and making such an immense difference on this planet and for the future by nurturing confident, secure, compassionate, loving and gentle beings. The only way to do that is for their mommies to be with them and meet their natural needs. We may not get the rush to the ego of a more immediate accomplishment that is recognized by others. In fact, it may take years or even decades for us or anyone else to recognize that accomplishment. And is unlikely we will ever see a check for it. But, maybe instead of doing more, we can just “be more” by doing less.

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mary stothard August 16, 2011 at 1:55 am

Hi, just my humble opinion, but I think you’re being a bit premature, and forgetting how little your daughter still is. They get so much bigger in 6 months, you still remember her as atiny baby and think wow she’s such a big girl now, but she’s still only 6 months old, thats very little, she’s still totaly dependant on you, you are her comfort andhermeans of survival. Whats the huge rush to get back to your old life? You have no doubt heard hundreds of times it goes so quickly, embrace being a mum, not a work at home mum, for a few months more.
I was due to go back to work at 9 months, but put it off to 10 months and the difference in that 1 month was huge. Be patient, keep going out to places you enjoy, not just baby things, keep a diary you can note down ideas for when you have more time, and stop thinking the time with your daughter is wasted time! You can write forever, you’ll never get to watch her crawl for the 1st time ever again. Maybe you should change the people you spend most of your time with, if mostly they are child free off doing exciting things all the time, you might start to resent your daughter stopping you doing those things. Find some mums who are happy being mums, who enjoy thier babies, but still have other things to talk about and maybe you’ll realise how important and wonderful it is to nurture this little person, and yet still have an interesting life yourself too. If you feel you have to be doing something, and dont ‘need’ the money, try getting involved in your local nct, la leche or AP group. Start a sling meet group, or nappicino group, just find something you can do with your daughter, not completely seperate.
Hugs Mary
(writen one handed, nursing at keyboard)

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Sarah August 16, 2011 at 2:23 am

I agree with the previous commenter that this time is too precious. I take the advice other mamas gave to me ….this time passes too quickly don’t regret not spending enough time. I completed my M.Ed. Before gettingbpregnant and was career oriented.My hubby and I felt it so impt though for me to be a SAHM that I left my job, family, and home in Houston to move to Kauai to raise our daughter. Best decision I ever made. We survive on his waiter income here in paradise and I can’t remember being happier. To busy my mind I read child rearing books, host playdates through a local mamas group and am always finding new activities for us. I also find myself reaching out to others more. I love being a Sahm and know that I will never have any regrets doing so. im confident in the bond I have with my daughter because of it. Best of luck to you.

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beth August 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I agree with the previous two commenters. She is SO little. Babies were evolved to be almost constantly nurtured (albeit also by extended family and society, not just you). It is why they feed so frequently. On the other hand, I know your frustration. I began working from home when my first daughter was three months old. Just one day a week. My mother came to look after her, but it was truly torturous – there was no way I could/can ever get a ‘real’ full days work done, which leaves work hanging around that I need to do at night. IMO if you don’t HAVE to work (i.e. you’re not going to starve or lose your house) then just chill and enjoy your baby. You will never get this time with her again. Write when you are able/not too tired, but let your structured plans go… This too shall pass.

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Shelly Boismenu August 17, 2011 at 11:34 am

I absolutely feel ya. My son is eleven months. Not vonly could I not get work done, I can’t even pee or shower. The older they get the less possible it becomes. The clingy stage starts around ten months and is pretty overwhelming. But, if tv is the alternative to hiring a babysitter for a couple of hrs, I say HIRE SOMEONE. The AAP suggests no tv before age two bc of brain development concerns. Yoy can be a WAHM,but not without help.

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Meredith August 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I wish I could tell you I could work successfully and give my daughter the attention she needs while she’s awake, but I could not. It seemed so wonderfully possible when she was quite wee that I even took her into a work meeting successfully! However, once she sat up on her own and especially once she became mobile, the veil was lifted and I had to admit that I could not parent appropriately by myself and lend attention to work at the same time. I honestly fear what the message is that paying attention to a glowing screen is more important to me than paying attention to my daughter who now, at 14 months, is really paying close attention to others.

You will figure out what the right balance is, but I say this even as a working parent who probably wouldn’t be considered AP by many– if it doesn’t feel right to prop your daughter in a seat while you work, it probably isn’t right. If you’re worried about your baby your writing will suffer. If you’re too worried about your writing it will affect your baby. Neither is a good situation.

In 1-1.5 years she will be entirely different and perhaps in 2-2.5 years she would rather play on her own or with a friend or sibling than you anyway. Someone else was saying to consider this time a creative sabbatical to read, learn, and talk to people. If you MUST write you will find time when baby is asleep. Mine goes to bed at 7:30 PM!

Good luck.

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becky myers August 19, 2011 at 7:37 am

Thank you everyone for the encouraging and honest comments. It sounds like everyone who has been successful with working from home did so with the help of family. Since my husband is military and we live thousands of miles away from trusted friends or family, I’m going to let this making money from home idea slip away for the time being. You guys are right, she is still so tiny and if I am going to parent, i would like to do it well, with love and not constantly ignoring her or going through the motions of everything just to get back to writing.

I joined an attachment parenting group yesterday and am now spending time with other moms who also want to give the best to their child. I just wish I didn’t sometimes feel that I should be doing “more”….I dont know where that urge stems from…the constant battle in my head that I am not doing enough. Ahhh. Thank you everyone for the words and thoughts.

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mary stothard August 19, 2011 at 10:42 am

The trouble with young babies is, even though theyre gorgeous, they can be a bit boring’ and when you’re bored, even though you feel like you shouldn’t be, and we all get like that sometimes, you think about finding something interesting to do. Once she gets a bit bigger she’ll be more interesting, once she starts interacting with you properly, you’ll find things so different. You’ll still want to write, but it’ll be about her, she’ll be the most interesting thing you’ve ever discovered.
When that happens, you’ll go back and see your friends with no kids and you’ll be the one enthusing about how wonderful life is with your LO, and if they’ve got an ounce of maternalism, they’ll be hugely jealous of you.
Hang in there for a few more months, it must be hard being away from family and friends, but do what you can to make life interesting for you both, and soon you wont have a second to think about writing because you’ll be so busy keeping her safe from running into things and climbing on tables.
Hugs in the meantime. :-)
Mary

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Stephanie August 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

I agree with some of the comments, and not with others. I will say that my son is now two {and 3 months} and I cannot take him away from Sesame Street in the morning. He will watch two episodes {2 hours worth} usually and be completely entertained. If I don’t put it on, he gets super upset. But usually by 1.5 hours he’s ready to move on. I’m very lucky/blessed, I feel because this allows me time to relax, email, craft, drink two cups of tea and have a healthy breakfast! On top of that, I remember when he was 6 months and younger, and I would Bfeed him at my computer, for hours at a time just to get some projects done. He loved the extra cuddle time, and I enjoyed looking down in the middle of my project and seeing his gorgeous sleeping face! I think it’s all about comprimise. Yes, your little girl will only be 6 months for so long, and then she’ll start to crawl, and then walk, and she’ll probably need you A LOT of the time as she’s learning those things, until she gets good at them; but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to find a way to get your creative juices into a form! I highly reccommend looking at ways that you can have her near you, or on you while you type. I used to split the screen, the bottom I would have a word document open to write/journal, and the top would by YouTube or Netflix playing his favourite shows. Put a few toys in front of him and VIOLA! Instant babysitter while baby is still with you. You may only get ten minutes at a time, but it’s better than nothing! <3

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jessica September 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I will be another voice echoing that 6 months is just so young! Also, I know that it so totally doesn’t feel this way, but the days of intense neediness are actually quite short and with each child I’ve had I’ve learned to appreciate them more. In fact, it has gotten to the point where I really resent the intrusion of the outside world into the precious infant period – I know that in the grand scheme of things they are off doing their own thing (across the room, across the house, across the neighborhood, or across the country) before I know it.

What does help though is to not look for “contribution” simply through paid employment. I have that many volunteer organizations are (probably by necessity) much more willing to allow for “care-giver” sized jobs and timelines. Sometimes these are organizations that focus on maternal and children’s issues, but sometimes they are passions that I’ve held before or outside of children. Certainly helps me to feel less stagnant :).

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