It’s not your job to prove to others why being a Mom Who Writes is difficult. It’s just not.
The other day a dear writing friend of mine posted a funny video of her reaction to someone without children telling her that writing a book was easy. Basically, all you have to do is sit down and write, right? It’s not that hard.
We all know this isn’t true.
Unless you are entirely free of children and the obligations that come in tow with being a parent (which are neverending), just sitting down to write a book comes with all sorts of complications. Children screaming and crying and asking for snacks. Little ones who just want love when you’re finally sitting and still, in the form of climbing on top of your head and smothering their face into yours.
We also know that even when you have free time, a quiet, clean house with no snacking child in sight, you may still be too mentally and physically shot to write. The words don’t flow, the magic is dulled, and whatever comes will hit the trash bin in the morning.
We get it. That’s why we’re all here together.
That’s why we laugh so hard at the endless memes of moms trying to write with kids in the room, the mess that incurs, the endless cups of coffee, and the piled-up laundry that swallows us as we type away. That’s why we band together when we read inspiring quotes from other mom writers who keep going despite the challenges and the obstacles and the cheerios that are just somehow everywhere all the time.
We get it. We do. But– not everyone understands.
While scanning the comments of my writer friend’s video, a few writers without children felt the need to point out that life is hard and writing is hard and that all writers have distractions. “We are all just doing our best, let’s not compare. Let’s not start the ‘I have it harder’ debate.” I can’t say my blood wasn’t heating up, just a bit.
But here’s the thing…
I read these comments while sitting on my computer outside with my kids. I had just gotten up for the 10th time in 10 minutes to handle some sort of business: disbanding a garden rake fight; pushing the youngest on the swing; settling a dispute between monster trucks; serving breakfast in the playhouse; rescuing a toy hippo from under the deck; cleaning off a toy lawn mower that was rolled (purposely) in a pile of poop.
And I wondered: Are these the distractions those writers without children are talking about? Are they also cleaning poop between poems and blogs? Are they fighting for every spare moment to get the words out before they disappear? Do they listen to a soundtrack of screaming and fighting? Are these the hardships ALL writers endure?
I came to the conclusion that no, they’re probably not. But I also realized that, honestly, it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter what other writers of other groups in other phases of life think. It means nothing to me if they didn’t find the video funny or if they want to dispute the claim. It doesn’t make them closed-minded or cold-hearted. They aren’t Moms Who Write– the message wasn’t for them.
It was for me…and you.
There is a reason this group exists and a reason why we are so tightly bonded. We are in a creative field that can be undervalued and misunderstood while playing a million equally undervalued and misunderstood roles. Our passion involves creating fictional worlds while trying to keep our own from falling apart. We raise humans while building characters and editing hundreds of thousands of words, all while listening to one word on endless repeat: Mom! Mom! Mom!
We never have to convince other members of our group how hard it is to complete a book from start to finish or describe the incredible feeling of finally succeeding in it. When you need a break, we give you space. When you need motivation, we give you a push. If you require some tough love and accountability, tell us when to set our alarm so we can bombard your inbox with messages to get up and write.
We support you.
We’re already in your corner the moment you arrive, accepting and supportive of your endeavors. We jump at the chance to celebrate your accomplishments on any scale because we know how hard you worked to get there. How high the mountains are you scaled, and the number of times you had to pick yourself back up to reach the summit.
So maybe as writers, we are all in this together. But as mom writers, we’re in this a little deeper. And that’s okay– it can be our little secret.
About the Writer: Shell Sherwood is a poet, fiction writer, freelancer, and creator of silly children’s stories who could live on coffee, pastries, and romantic tragedies. She lives in Hudson Valley, NY, with her three boys and aspires to own a small writing getaway in every climate. Shell is currently working on her debut poetry collection. Learn more about Shell and follow her writing journey via her author blog, Instagram, and TikTok.