I write and edit when my daughter (5 yrs old) is asleep, because I tend to zone out when I'm really into a project or storyline. We do write and draw some short stories together, but I wait on bigger projects until she doesn't need or want my attention. Do you have any additional suggestions for this type of work at home? Did you work at home when your children were young? If so, what did you do? I enjoy reading your book and appreciate all the time you put into answering our questions. Sharing your thoughts with the world helps so many parents view things from an authentic perspective. I know writing can be time-consuming, so thanks in advance for your thoughts and time.
Dear writing mother,
Your daughter is fortunate to have a mother who values being with her over work. If you want to provide your full presence for your child, you will choose to wait a few years before taking more time to work. Think of time in terms of your whole life. Now it is parenting time. You will enjoy your daughter most when not expecting to achieve anything else at the same time and she will be most nurtured and content.
However, if you must write and earn income, some ways to expand your time are to hire a teenager to play with your daughter for a couple of hours, arrange with your partner times to be with her on the weekend, and/or ask relatives to help. In addition, your daughter can play by herself. To nurture her ability to engage herself, read my answer to the question: Playing with our Three-Year-old:
I wrote my book sporadically over five years, starting very slowly only after my youngest was six and his brothers were nine and thirteen. I finally put it together when they were eighteen, fourteen and eleven. So if you picked into my life when the children were young, you would not see me writing hardly at all.
Even once I started some sporadic writing while they played, if a child needed me I always stopped writing and responded to his needs. Most often that meant not returning to writing for the next few weeks or months.
If you can manage without the income (which is often a question of priorities,) I encourage you to question the need to write more and, instead, consider surrendering to the moment and cherishing the best years of your life. Living more simply and having the time to be with your child, may be the most wonderful gift you can give yourself and your daughter. You will have plenty of time to write later. Many mothers try to solve problems as though raising children is for the rest of life. It isn’t. It is a short phase that comes and goes. Like watching a great film, it is worth while dropping everything else for the duration, only much more so.
Warmly, Naomi Aldort, www.AuthenticParent.com