Monday, January 15, 2007

Doing what comes naturally

Before Hamlet's brother* was born, I heard from several moms who all told me: writing can wait; motherhood comes first.

They're halfway right. Over the last three years, I've often rearranged my business plan--even deadlines and potential opportunities--to accommodate Hamlet. At the risk of professionalism? Probably; "family-friendly" isn't a quality that extends indefinitely, even from the most accommodating employers.

I'd planned, therefore, to take indefinite maternity leave. I knew it would take time to accustom Hamlet to his brother; besides, the holidays would be upon us. And, for the first two weeks after the baby was born, I cared nothing about work. "Maybe my maternal instinct finally kicked in after three years," I joked to a friend, who also mothers more than she freelances.

But no. At three weeks postpartum, the hormones apparently subsided enough to let the writing instinct back in. Writing, as it turned out, could not wait.

Although I sometimes wonder what I'm thinking, the reality is, I need to write more than ever. You know, that peace of mind thing: i.e., "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I've found that the kids still come first, which is why it took me several weeks (rather than an hour or two) to write this entry. Meanwhile, I've found flexibility--what Lauren Baratz-Logstead cleverly called "working between the cracks"--is key. I've noticed Hamlet is a lot easier to deal with when I'm off the computer and using my ancient Palm IIIe; somehow it makes me more accessible while I get the same amount of writing done. And that's a huge relief--to both of us.

*Nope, still no blog name. I decided to wait until we know more about his personality.


Blogger Steve Allan said...

I'm barely able to sit at the computer for more than ten minutes at a time before I have to take care of some baby emergency, at least it seems that way. The only time I can get things done is at weird hours. Like now.

17/1/07 4:55 AM  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Keep at it, Christa. A good mother is one who has pursuits of her own, is a citizen of the world and not just the nursery.

17/1/07 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel the need for expression even more intensely now that I am a mother. My writing helps me discover my thoughts, it is like Flannery O'Connor said, "I write to know what I think..."
If you'd like to know what I think, you can visit my blog at

31/1/07 10:13 AM  
Blogger Christa M. Miller said...

Steve, you have no idea how much it helps me to know that!

Patti, I have always believed that, but I know women who are still conflicted about it. :(

Emily, thanks for stopping by. That's a great quote, though I suspect she didn't mean she would forget whatever was on her mind unless she wrote it down... which is what happens to me way too frequently! :D

31/1/07 6:12 PM  

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