I became a mother fifteen-ish months ago
Bottle or Breast?
Cloth or Disposable?
Run away screaming or stick it out like an adult?
That last one still occurs to me on occasion.
With every decision comes criticism and judgement.
“You’re STILL nursing that baby?! She has TEETH!”
“Cloth diapers?! That’s disgusting!”
“You shouldn’t hold her so much. You’ll spoil her.”
And, on my part, defensiveness.
“Yes, and she’s never gotten sick and she’ll be super smart and if you don’t leave me alone, I will tell her to bite you with those teeth!”
“They’re not, I promise. Besides, I do the laundry. Why do you care?”
“She isn’t a potato. She won’t spoil.”
I mean seriously, don’t they know I’m the best mother ever and they shouldn’t question anything I ever do? Duh.
The whole mothering gig, though, has made me a better writer.
Stay with me. I know it seems like a change of pace, but I’ve been leading up to this, in secret, all along.
It’s made me more accepting of advice, even if I think it’s bad advice. With as much flak as mothers get for everything we do ever (because NONE of it is correct, you know), the skill of smiling and nodding, and occasionally gleaning the kernals of thruth and helpful advice that inevitably fall out of the mouths of well-meaning others…tends to come easier. As a writer, it becomes a little easier to hand my manuscript to someone for critique and not want to take every critisism and throw it out because my writing is perfect from the first draft, always. Yea, right.
It has made me more patient and has honed my focus. As I type this, there is a tiny person attatched to my breast, kicking at my keyboard and being a general nuisance. I’ve learned to write while chaos takes place around me, and to take advantage of quiet moments. I’ve typed whole chapters on my phone, at work, while my students nap.
Just to clarify, they are three and allowed to nap.
It has given me the ability to write more deeply. When you understand the depth of love a mother has, it becomes easier to translate that emotion to your characters.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my tiny muse is screaming for my attention.