Balancing the Writer Life with the Mom Life

Last night I wrote a poem for the first time in several months. I go through seasons of creativity – like the seeds I just sowed in the garden yesterday, it takes a while for my ideas to germinate.  Eventually, the seeds pop, the stems poke through the soil, and before you know it, you are picking bowls full of cherry tomatoes. 

Some writers are able to chisel out a very structured and sacred writing time and space.  I envision an overstuffed armchair, an open window, a morning breeze, a couple cardinals too-weeting at one another, and a hot cup of tea.  Probably some James Taylor playing on Pandora, too.  And my lap top, since I write and revise with greater efficiency on a computer, though I can never retire the writer’s notebook, that essential tool for when you are on the go and trying to use a smartphone notepad just doesn’t cut it quick enough.  I can see that sacred space in a corner of our bedroom, waiting to be created, but let’s be honest, when in the next decade will I be able to sit in that overstuffed armchair?

So let’s revise the first sentence of this blog entry.  Last night, I wrote a poem between nursing and rocking Henry, who decided to be cranky when he wanted to fall asleep, which also happened to be the time I decided to try to write.  Last night, I balanced my baby on my lap and my laptop on my knees, Henry’s head propped up with my elbow and my wrist bent at an awkward typing angle.  I chicken pecked the keyboard, one. lousy. letter. at. a. time. while he nursed, and then we switched sides. I slid the laptop back on the coffee table and stood up to rock and bounce Henry to the rhythm of iambs, rehearsing the words I already wrote and revising in my mind.  Last night, I eked out a poem.  Probably a bad poem, but at least it was something.

The sacred writing space, both physically and temporally, just can’t exist right now, and I’m okay with that.  In fact, in the time that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve needed to get Lydia allregy medicine, change Henry’s diaper (and onesie since he wet through the diaper), and change loads of laundry.  Though it isn’t a writing space, there is still something sacred here, in this tending to babies and the daily tasks of living. It is in these daily tasks and relationships that the writing is conceived. The plucking of the fruit has to be something of a family affair for now.  A season of quiet for writing will come later down the road.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

One thought on “Balancing the Writer Life with the Mom Life

  1. Lovely post, and so true. I think patience with writing at this stage of parenting is so important. And you did it! You wrote a poem in the midst of it all. That is a wonderful thing!


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