On Writing

Pretty notepad with pen, tea and chocolate

Disclaimer: I suspect this is going to be an insufferably self-indulgent and introspective post.

Suffer.

I love writing. I get such a rush from words tumbling out and jostling for position on the screen or in my ratty notebook.  There is a delicious agony in searching for the right word or the perfect one-liner. I am filled with glee when I finish a piece and it’s done, it’s definitely done and I can totally publish it.  And knowing that I have readers as lovely as you is pure bliss.  I think I know now what I want to be when I grow up.

And here’s the funny part: I think that my job as a stay-at-home-mum fits perfectly with this plan.

I feel a little nervous saying this – in any other profession, it’s perfectly OK to say you love working and that your job is full of fun perks, but the role of full-time Domestic Engineer is fraught with emotional landmines.

You see, we’re all a little bruised by the idea put about that we’re spoiled rich ladies who spend our days wearing pearls and watching infomercials.  Or that we’re a little bit stupid and child-care (being such an unworthy pursuit) is all our poor intellects are capable of. Or that we’re so insufferably dull, we need to surround ourselves with children as a distraction.

This makes us rather defensive.

As a result, we flood social media with earnest posts about how SAHMs should be earning a CEO’s salary for all the work they do (often accompanied by a Vishnu-like diagram depicting all the roles they play); stories of husbands who try to do the work of their stay-as-home wife and fall apart after Day 1 (“I had no idea!”); and heartwarming video clips that involve evocative piano music, baby’s first steps and advertisements for a South East Asian phone company.

I feel like a traitor to the cause admitting I really like what I do – and not just for the worthy reasons like “being there for my kids” and “hearing Baby’s first words” – the lifestyle really suits me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a proper career as a writer and I see this time at home not as a delay or a roadblock, but as a gift.  Time to practice and develop my skills before I try it on for real.

In fact, I’ve been thinking about it so much, I’m going to write a whole separate blog post about it.

Stay tuned.

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29 thoughts on “On Writing

  1. Anna Eastland

    Hurrah! Hurrah! I almost jumped up out of bed for joy when I saw you had a new post, but it’s midnight, and I would have spilled my wine! 😉 Loved the post and completely agree. I always wanted to be a writer when I grew up, and I’ve found being a full time homemaker, the fabulous Domestic Engineer, the perfect setting. Freedom, flexibility and inspiration…it’s a great fit! Can’t wait for the next post. Have been missing the way you make me laugh, from way over here in Canada.
    A huge cross-continental hug,
    Anna

    Reply
      1. Anna Eastland

        All your comments have been like getting a box of chocolate! A wonderful surprise this evening! I guess it’s our best attempt at cross-continental e-tea!
        God bless, and keep up the great writing etc,
        Anna

        Reply
      1. Anna Eastland

        Fantastic! I saw Roberta wrote a very lovely comment on my blog. She’s an amazing artist and is actually editing a book on motherhood by mom bloggers, including me! So excited! I’ll keep you posted about it…

        Reply
  2. nicolaknits

    I agree. I spent 22 years being a SAHM and have loved it and been very grateful for the ability to do that (living on dh’s income). The challenges of parenting are huge, but as the kids grow there is more time carved out for mum. Now I have a part time job and I can feel the resistance in myself to leaving the house and family. Looking forward to your next post. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Roberta Cottam

    Absolutely! I spent fifteen years as an unfulfilled graphic designer (because all I really wanted to do was write and illustrate!) and when I returned to work when my daughter was fourteen months and it was awful. It took me nine months to find the courage to quit for good and declare that I really did want to stay at home with my baby, and have more babies! And I saw that suddenly the world of writing was available to me. I devote one hour of my daughter’s nap-time to writing at least four days a week. If I have the energy at night, I try to do an evening or two’s worth as well. In the past year, I published my first novel, wrote the first draft of another, contributed to two short story anthologies, and edited a book of six bloggers’ work (Anna Eastland included) soon to be released! I KNOW that my lifestyle as a SAHM is 100% responsible for giving me the inspiration and space to do what I always wanted to do!

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Oh, this is so inspiring to me, Roberta! It’s good to hear from someone who’s actually made it work (sometimes I think I’m a crazy person). And good for you for having the courage to fight for what you really wanted!

      Reply
  4. bradams75

    You’re WEIRD Kate. And so am I. And everyone else reading this. Jared Diamond invented the acronym WEIRD to stand for Western Educated Industrialised and Rich. Most of the people who have ever lived on the face of the earth weren’t (and aren’t) WEIRD. If we had much of a choice, very few of us would leave the place we live and our families behind for half a day in order to earn a living.

    I’ll leave it there before this turns into a full blown rant about what’s wrong with the world. Okay, it already was pretty ranty, but I edited it. 🙂

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      What? You wrote a rant, Brad? Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything 😉
      I like that acronym. It’s so easy to forget that we are in the vast minority of educated first-world citizens. And no matter how many times I remember, I’m liable to forget again and feel poor because I can’t afford to go to the movies or something!

      Reply
      1. bradams75

        Sure is a first time for everything. But there’s also nothing new under the sun. Go figure.
        Ditto your entire second paragraph.

        Reply
  5. pomegranateandchintz

    You go girl! All I ever wanted to be was an at-home-mummy, but life didn’t turn out as I planned. So make the most of your opportunity and do what you love and to hell with what others think! So there!!

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Yes!! Thank you for you comment – you’ve reminded me that being an at-home-mummy is a privilege and a gift.
      To hell what others think! So there!!
      I think I’ve found a new mantra…

      Reply
  6. Emma

    Good luck with your writing. I think it’s great that you’re able to do it and be with your family. I work 4 days a week and while I love my job, I don’t find it anywhere near as satisfying as being with my daughter – I’d love to be able to stay at home with her and do something from home at the same time.

    Reply
  7. craftsnotherstuff

    I haven’t commented for quite a quite a while…but this is just one of those posts which deserves commenting…I absolutely loved it…and it sounds as if you also in the posting and realization of something in your world, that a rush of contentment went with it. And this is the mind space of conquerors. So congratulations! Pass on this feeling with your children, because they will be in this defenseless feeling world in a few. Your words roll in my mind and thoughts in a very comfortable way…and I love it as do so many others who read your posts and await them as a rose does for the dew. You are truly blessed with this ability and do not allow another day to pass without contributing to the lives of others without sharing this ability. We need those words to read in a world of pure horror from other readings we must read. So glad you have learned a way in which to do this for we await your unraveling thoughts as they come out from your now content mind. Again congratulations!

    Reply
  8. Amy @ Love and Be Loved

    I love your last two posts about writing. So insightful!!! I agree whole-heartedly. I think it is Annie Dillard who mentions going off to a secluded cabin is to dam up any and all creative juices. And I laugh at your anecdotes and pictures. It is like we live parallel lives an ocean apart. We’ve had only one and a half days of school since holiday break. Windchill advisory, snow, ice!! Thanks for writing and posting and stay-at-homing. I’m watching the snow fall atop the already frozen snow and listening to the kids squabble… Inspiration abounds! Love and light to you!

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Wow – it’s summer here, but we’ve had a few rainy days this week (perhaps to make up for the hot days we had in winter? Melbourne’s weather is very confused!) Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

      Reply

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