Writer With -A- Baby (Soon To-Be-Toddler But Always A Baby)
Writing and babies don’t go well together.
But they have to if you’re like me. I chose a difficult path with several obstacles.
People are divided into two: those who think the path to becoming a writer is similar to that of becoming an astronaut and those who think life is very easy for the writers.
Let’s be honest here. Writing is no easy job. Neither is walking if you’re tired. You see what I mean here? I’m sure you do. If the conditions are good, if you’re healthy and happy, if you like what you’re doing, whatever it is that you’re doing will be cool.
No matter how challenging it is, I love writing. It’s like breathing for me. Looking at the stars on a summer night or having a Cuban mojito by the ocean. Oh man, how I love writing. Dozens of ideas flow in my mind every day. I may not always be the most productive person when it comes to taking action but I have an endless well of ideas in my mind’s backyard. What I do not have enough is like many of yours out there: the time!
Our first ever public picture
I’m not too at managing my time, and I returned to writing pretty quickly after giving birth to our little one. The first months were good. We weren’t getting much sleep and my boy was a hungry little man – hungry for breastmilk all the time. Though as he wasn’t moving independently, I was able to write whenever I had the chance.
Then the baby began to move. After around the sixth month we had a moving, big but not-sleeping-through-the-night type of baby. And it has been so since. We live far from our parents and old friends. We live far from pretty much everyone! It's the NI for god's sakes. Of course we have friends here but most of them also have kids. That means we have no one to help us. When my husband goes to work, I know that I have an exhausting day ahead of me.
Here are some insider notes and tips about being a writer with a baby:
Possibility: It is possible. I don’t agree with those who say that writers shouldn’t have babies or have only one baby. Writers are people and they can have whatever they want – a cat, a bat, a rat or a baby. Also, having a kid comes with its own inspiration. Yes, it is very tiring to write and look after a baby at the same time but nothing is so easy in life, and challenges keep you going too. At least that's the case with me.
Temporality: Like everything else these times will pass and there will come a time when the kids require less of your time meaning they can be more independent, and so can you. It hasn’t entirely happened to me/us yet but our little one is certainly more independent in some cases whereas in others of course he’s still a little baby. Aw. I enjoy these times but I won't praise motherhood or marriage - live like you want to. These aren't for everyone.
Changes: If you asked me six months ago (our little one will turn one in a month's time) I could have said that a baby doesn’t entirely change your life but now I can say that they change it to a great extent. When you’re ready for those changes, when you go with the flow, and accept the changes, it will be less painful.
Time Management Skills: I’ve never entirely believed in anything that contains the word “management”. Though time is certainly a resource and it doesn’t hurt to manage it from time to time. I believe in balance. Why not be spontaneous when necessary and plan when necessary? It’s just that you think about time more when you have a child because then your time isn’t only your own anymore. When you’re scarce of something, you value it more. The result is usually having made the best out of it.
Backup: You may write on notebooks or use a writing software on your laptop. You may write on a napkin or the packaging of a chocolate. In both and all cases backup what you wrote at the end of each month, or more often if possible (everyday?). I write on – everything! Since my little one loves papers and books so much, I take photos of my notebook pages, and backup my files every month because it's feasible. Sometimes more often. When he isn't trying to touch my keyboard or send an email. Yes, he's sent emails that I haven't finished writing! So far so good.
Asking for help: In my case, every few months I can ask our mothers to look after our son for a couple of hours when we visit them. This hasn’t ended up well so far because our little one was younger and wanted mummy and daddy after spending half-an-hour with grannies. From now on, I think they will be able to entertain him more. We’ll see! At other times I ask my husband to play with our son for a few hours. This also doesn’t completely work. Usually after half an hour the two join me. Those moments work somehow because I become intense. I prioritise and write very quick notes, sometimes loglines or synopses, and then try to expand on them later.
Rest: Another almost impossible thing to do but once in a while a short nap while the little one is sleeping helps you refresh.
Overall I can say that I know what I value, I know my priorities, and I know how to not lose my peace of mind – which all help. Being a writer with a kid is demanding. But it’s not only your kid who needs you.