Writing With Childrenby Jill Monroe
This post was originally posted in March 2006.
Deciding to stay home with my children was not a difficult decision. There were many pros - the first obvious - I could stay home with my children. I always wanted to be a writer - now I could, and all my (small teaching/advising) income would be eaten up by daycare anyway. It was a no brainer.
And really, think of all the time I would have to write, write WRITE.
I had visions of children happily playing with toys at my feet while I typed away at the computer.
I'm sure you're laughing at this point. Because as any mommy who's tried to go to the bathroom in peace can attest, children cheerfully quietly playing while you're trying to do ANYTHING just doesn't happen. Unless of course you're trying to clean their room. Then they're anywhere but there.
So, I adjusted my schedule a bit. Instead of getting the scads written I'd hoped, I'd sneak in writing time during naps. Or after bedtime. When my husband began getting up at 5:30 in the morning, so did I. And believe me - that internal editor is not awake then!
I finaled in my first writing contest when the youngest was a baby and sold my first book before she went to Kindergarten. So, it can be done.
Now we've moved into a whole new phase for us. Booksignings, contract calls, RWA meetings - the kids have heard the names of my editors so much, they probably think we're related. They do think they're related to some of my critique partners (Aunt Donnell).
So, I've learned a few things. First, children are not impressed by your writing. Your booksigning. Or that you've been asked to speak at another writing group. Going to a bookstore to see your book on the shelves may MAY be cool the first time. It's not cool when you decide to visit every Wal-Mart, Target, Waldenbooks, Barnes and Noble and Borders within a 30 mile radius of the house.
My youngest tried to be helpful, pointing out every clinch cover book with a red spine, "There it is, Mommy!" really loud in each store. The oldest got to giggle every time she told a stranger her mommy's book was "Never Naughty Enough."
Kids are not swayed by bribery. I've told my kids that if I sold a fourth book - we'd take them to Disneyland. BUT, they'd have to let mommy work. Yeah, doesn't work. (Fourth book you ask? Hey, we still owe on the college student loans!)
Last year, my oldest asked me if I were famous. Now anyone who knows my sense of humor knows EXACTLY how I answered that. Man, what a difference a year makes. Now the kid KNOWS I'm not famous.
Lastly, sometimes you just have to sacrifice. There are times when I was watching Tellytubbies or playing Barbie when I'd think wistfully of my work in progress. But it seemed like I blinked and they were already in school. So not every book I wanted to write got written when they were little. Not every conference (or a cute outfit to wear at that conference) did I attend. But an impromptu hug or a smile because I stayed up all night sewing a Raggedy Ann costume makes it all worth it.
Although this year at The Romance Writers of America's National conference, Meg Cabot of Princess Diary fame will be signing. I plan to get autographed books for the kids (if someone can tell me how you get books signed while you're also signing - hopefully). THAT will impress the kids.