My partner often says “Put your own oxygen mask on first”. What he means of course is that you have to look after yourself so you can look after those who depend on you. That’s easier said than done when you are a mother. I just had a few days away from the family and almost immediately solved a problem poem that I couldn’t face at home. I often find I have to remove myself physically from the family / home before I can just focus on myself and my writing. Kids take as much as you’ll give them, which of course is natural and excellent for their survival but you have to learn how to take breaks and replenish for your own survival.

I admire and respect mother/writers who have produced books while bringing up small children. Mother/writers must be driven, compelled to write and to snatch time for themselves to do so. I guess we are lucky that we are not made to feel guilty about it to the same extent as mother/writers of previous decades. Often we are all to happy to put guilt on ourselves. I like to think that my children benefit from my writing in that the satisfaction I get from following my dreams makes me a nicer person to be around and hopefully a good caring feminist role model.

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