It’s funny how things work. Just as my writing career took off in a major way (as in, assignments were coming in almost daily, and I was taking on some exciting stuff with a book on the back burner), I got pregnant with my first child. I remember wondering how I’d juggle new motherhood with writing–especially since I wanted to be a hands-on mom and not send the kiddo to daycare or hire a nanny (though, the thought did cross my mind when he came into the world screaming with wild case of colic that lasted about 9 months–but that’s another story).
So, shortly after my first baby, Carson (now almost 4), was born, I was struggling–as most new moms are–to juggle writing assignments with motherhood. I’ll never forget a lunch date I had with an editor about a month after his birth. We were meeting at a chic cafe downtown–my first outing without the baby–and I squeezed my post-delivery body into a pair of pants that barely buttoned and hoped the empire waist top didn’t show the layers of baby flab that had hung on after the birth.
As I sat at the table with this editor, also a mother, I was hopeful for some advice on how to make it work. After all, she’d been there, done that, and could give me some encouragement, right? Sadly, the conversation was anything but encouraging, and not in the I-just-had-a-baby-and-I’m-weepy sort of way. No, this editor told me, point blank, that I’d have to choose between being a good mother and being a good writer. In other words, I’d either have to farm out my kid and sit at my desk all day, or ditch the writing and play goo-goo, ga-ga.
I left the lunch with such a heavy heart. Could she really be right? I thought about her words for weeks, and even though my baby (and his awful case of colic) didn’t get any easier, I kept plugging away–both at being the best mom I could and being a writer with a successful career. At times I felt like I was drowning, and I probably was, but I decided the best thing I may have done in those months was to ignore the advice from this editor and prove her wrong.
While my income did take a hit in those early months with Carson, I sprung back and ended up making the next nine months the most financially–and professionally–successful months as a writer, without a nanny (I will add, though, that I have a very helpful mother, who came over twice a week to help).
Here’s the thing: If someone tells you that you CAN’T do something or you SHOULDN’T do something, and it goes against the grain of your own life wisdom, passion and gut feelings, don’t believe ’em. I’m so glad I kept at it in the face of adversity (sleep deprivation, colic, you name it), and as a result, my career is thriving more than ever.
I’m gearing up to have baby #3, my third boy, in early February, and while I know it will be a challenge to juggle this jam-packed career–which now includes fiction writing!–with two toddlers and an infant (eeks!), call me crazy, but I’m sort of excited for the challenge. (And, in case you’re curious, here are some little tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years about juggling writing with motherhood.)
I’d love to know–has someone every told you that you couldn’t or shouldn’t do something? Did you prove them wrong? And, fellow moms, chime in about how you held down a career with kids!