Being a writer and a mom isn’t always easy, but it’s particularly hard in the summer, when school is out. During the summer, moms wear their normal hats of parent, teacher, counselor, playmate, entertainer, nurse, prayer warrior, taxi driver, cheerleader, chef, maid, butler and nanny… the only difference is that we wear these hats 24/7. When school is out, mom gets no break. Between baseball practices and games, swimming, rehearsals, plays, sleepovers, movies, vacations, etc., there is little time to think, much less to write. Any creative person will tell you that if unable to express their creativity it begins to back up inside of them, and like a clogged hose, will eventually result in an explosion of epic proportion. When I have a story that is dying to get out and I don’t have the time to write it, I begin to feel frustrated. If the frustration lasts several days it morphs into resentment toward everything and everyone inhibiting my ability to sit down in peace and write. In me, resentment manifests itself as crabbiness and a severe lack of patience. If this continues, my family begins to suffer because Mommy has now become a miserable monster…if you don’t believe me, just ask my husband and children.
The good news is that I have found ways to avoid the Summertime Mommy Monster Syndrome. It isn’t fool-proof, but these things have helped me to continue to write even when the kids are home, despite their many activities and the constant interruptions. (i.e. “Mom, look!” … “Mom, come here!”…. “Mom, where’s my glove?”…. “Mom, look!”…. “Mom, watch this!”…. “Mom! MOm! MOM!”… Oh, and did I mention, “Mom, look!”)
1. I write late at night after the kids are in bed. Yes, it means I spend the next day tired, but that’s nothing an extra pot of coffee or a couple Five Hour Energy drinks can’t solve.
2. I write very early in the morning before the kids awaken. Again, it can leave me groggy, but it’s well worth the sacrifice of slumber.
3. I take my laptop to practices and rehearsals and write in the bleachers, in the theatre or in my car. (purchase one of those plug adapters so you can plug your computer into your cigarette lighter)
4. When the kids are watching television or being loud, I plug my headphones into my computer so I cannot hear them; thus I am able to concentrate on what I am writing.
5. When I do suffer from Summertime Mommy Monster Syndrome, I have a martini or a margarita and a good cry. It releases the frustration I feel, renews my spirit and helps me regain my focus and provides motivation for me to tackle another day.
Summertime is a needed break for kids and they deserve our fullest attention; however, in giving them our fullest we mustn’t forget to take care of ourselves too. After all, when we’re not at our best we can’t give them our best. As demanding as being a mom is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. J