Reflecting on mommy-guilt

Word count: 300 words

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help writers. Today I discuss a recent New York Times article written by Amy Shearn.

I’m a working mother. In fact, I returned to work when my triplets were one years old. I feel obliged to add that I began by going back very part-time (initially, one day per week) and that this decision was completely necessary to preserve my own sanity. Less than a year later, however, I quit my job and launched my own business.

If there is mommy-guilt, I know it.

I recently read writer Amy Shearn’s insightful piece “A Writer’s Mommy Guilt,” on the New York Times Opinionator page. Here’s a paragraph to which I easily related:

I’ve always assumed that writing at all makes me a slightly worse mother than I might be otherwise. Being a writer means I’m, at very best, 77 percent focused. I’ll look up in the kitchen to see that while I’ve been scribbling story ideas on the back of an envelope, the kids have given themselves honey-and-peanut-butter facials. On weekends when I should be playing soccer with my kids or at least vacuuming, I instead disappear to write. Crappy.

I also share Shearn’s belief that, “writing is so much about the work of noticing.”  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that writing  (whether fiction or non), requires more attention than talent or skill. It also requires vast amounts of determination.
Fortunately, for me at least, mothering practically gives you a post-graduate degree in both attention and determination.