I guess this blog post runs the risk of being a “mommy blog” post. But, as I was drifting off to sleep last night, considering the very real possibility that in a few weeks I may be working 80+ hours per week, I wondered how I do it. How am I a stay at home working mom and still have my brain intact? (Some of you may argue that I don’t have my brain intact, I say to that : I love hateraid. Serve it up cold, bish.)
Working full time and parenting full time might seem counter intuitive. In reality if you structure yourself and time well it is totally doable. Today I want to share some top-tips I have discovered over my many years of working from home, and from the last 2 years of being a stay at home working mom.
The label “writer” is something I have always been proud to self-identify as. Since I was 9 or 10 years old, I have been a writer. I have written short stories, (really bad) poetry, (self-indulgent) blogs, research papers, news articles, sketch scripts, social media statuses, Tweets, resumes, copy for advertising, presentations… you name it, I have written it.
Writing has been my therapy, the way to get all the gunk that gets tangled up in my brain (I have brain weasels that create gunk, a topic for some other post) out onto a page so I could examine the gunk and (perhaps) resolve some of my inner conflict and issues.
And, if I could amuse people by doing this… all the better.
Then 2014 happened. My daughter died. My world crashed down around my ears. And, writers block set in.
Yeah, I was still doing some writing – mostly for work, very uninspired, not at all fun. It felt forced because I needed a paycheck or to please a client. My blog laid fallow. One-by-one my outside writing opportunities faded away. I would start and stop projects, over and over, again and again. VERY patient editors (who had known me for years) encouraged me to write when I could see clear to find a topic I felt like putting words to a page about. That didn’t happen very often.
And, years passed: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019… and, all the brain weasel gunk was building up in my head, making me more and more unhappy. I stopped reading books, because reading the joyous writing of other people (no matter the topic, even somber books have joyous writers,) just put me deeper into my writers block funk…
When I started this blog in 2016, the idea was for me to get back into the writing groove after an extended writer’s block following the death of my daughter, Maddie.
Obviously, that went SO extremely well that I abandoned the project immediately after I started it.
Three years later: Live has changed so drastically for me that it’s sometimes hard to comprehend the person I was previously. Married, sad, very bothered about politics and people being mean on the Internet… definitely not living my best life.
These days, I’m not sure that I’m living my best life, still – but, I am absolutely closer to it. For starters, in 2017 #BritishHusband and I decided to make a move… literally across the country. The contending cities were both where my best friends (Meows and Molly, respectively,) live. That meant New York and LA. As I am a lover of sunshine, and generally hate New York since living there for six weeks in the late 90s, we chose to uproot and trek with ourselves, our stuff, and our dogs cross country to Hollyweird. For me, it seemed a great choice: I had lots of friends and family in the greater LA area, it was obviously a place where I could get work both as a writer and in communications, and beach! I also figured that #BritishHusband would be able to pursue his comedy dreams and also find some kind of meaningful work.
We landed here in August of 2017 and I was happy. I did things, I saw people (something that I had not been doing in Chicago,) I spent time with my niece and nephew, I got a tan. I did not know or recognize that #BritishHusband wasn’t having such a grand time. He soldiered on for me, because I wanted to be in LA, but he was becoming increasingly frustrated with how expensive things are, and was feeling pretty useless and unhappy. Not to mention, it cost us a ton of money to move across the country and establish ourselves in LA… so now we were close to broke, too. Anyone who has been here knows that to really have a good time in LA you gotta have the chedda. This, of course, caused contention and strife in our marriage… which we were working on, but little did we know the biggest life change either of us had ever faced was about to hit us.