It seems like every time you turn around a mom writer is getting a book deal. Personally, I think this is great, but I've seen quite a bit of negativity regarding moms who are writers online lately. From the dismissive "just another Stephenie Meyer" comments (which btw, isn't an insult) to downright mean-spirited jibes, I've been a little shocked. It seems that there's a misconception that moms writing books are the new fad. As though many of us just looked around at our cluttered houses and active children and said, "Gee, golly, I think I'll write a book!"
Mother writers are not a new thing. Seriously, check out Mary Wollstonecraft, or her daughter, Mary Shelley. Or Francis Burney. Or Sylvia Plath. Or J.K. Rowling. Maybe it's the birth of social media that allows us to come out from hiding and reach out to one another. It's allowed us to make ourselves known outside of the published book spine.
But this is not a fad. Writing isn't the new kitschy hobby of moms everywhere. Moms who write, work hard. Now, don't get me wrong, most writers work hard. But the image of moms jotting down a few lines blissfully between meals and diapers changes is a bit out of whack with reality. If you think a mom has all the time in the world to write a book because she stays home with her kids, you are mistaken. This is what it's really like:
Get up with kids.
Wrangle them into high chairs for breakfast.
Decide what to do while they're eating: eat yourself, get dressed, or try to catch up with your emails or blog reading.
Choose blog reading -- you're desperate for contact with the outside world.
Clean up breakfast. Empty dishwasher. Start laundry. Vacuum twice, because the kids got a hold of crackers 5 minutes after you did it the first time.
Sit down and try to ignore Barney on the t.v.
Worry that they're watching too much television.
Break up fight over lightsaber.
Vacuum because 1 yo hid a cracker in her pocket and then sprinkled it Hansel and Gretel-style all over the house.
Take a shower with 4 yo flipping light off and on and asking what's privacy while 1 yo screams and continually opens shower door.
Find something you can just shove in your mouth, so you can dry your hair.
Wonder why on Earth you aren't skinnier.
Clean up lunch.
Consider buying a roomba to follow each child around all day.
Drag kids to library.
Page through books while taking dirty, public library crayons out of 1 yo's mouth.
Check email. Sigh that no one has emailed you.
Check out books with help of 4 yo.
Put kids back in car 15 minutes later.
Stupidly, give them crackers as a snack.
Take call from hubby (Be ready when I get home).
Feel guilty for not making dinner.
Consider deleting your stupid, selfish manuscript, so you can be a better mom.
Scrounge up coffee money.
Meet husband at door.
Leave screaming, crying baby with him.
Feel horrible for leaving her.
Get to coffee shop.
Set up. Get coffee.
Settle in to get in the right mindset.
Stare blankly at screen for fifteen minutes.
Finally get to work.
Write like the wind, ignoring the typos.
Get text message: "Can you come home now?"
Check word count.
Wrangle kids to bed.
Rock baby to sleep.
Try to watch show with husband while wanting to open up your manuscript.
Wait until he falls asleep.
Open up the document, stare at it.
Maybe tomorrow you'll get more work done.