I have struggled with this issue of balance--where does my life as a mother end and my life as a writer begin?
As I thought about this, a new idea came to me.
I will never stop being a mother and I will never stop being a writer.
There is no end to either. And here's an even bigger epiphany:
In a lot of ways, they are the same.
Does that make any sense?
Let me try to explain it...
Once I was a child. Once I was a teenager. Now I'm a mother. More recently I have become a writer. Each of those phases of my life are interwoven in who I am and what I write. I chose to write for and about children and teenagers because: a) I LOVED being a child, b) I LOVED (hard to believe sometimes) being a teenager, and c) because I LOVE being a mom.
I get to live childhood three times! Once when I lived it, now as my children, live it, and again as my characters live it. I get to feel all of the joy and sweetness of swinging on a swing, or building a tree fort, or a first kiss, or a first soccer goal, or something as simple as triumphing over a math problem, again and again and again. (It also means I get to relive some of the bad stuff too, but I'm not dwelling on that.)
As I look back over just one crazy week of my life, I see moments that I want to capture forever in my heart and on paper--a pine cone fight, a little boy lying in the grass next to his pet tortoise, a flirty/funny text, laughing and collapsing on the floor in a moment of silly exhaustion, painting flowers on toenails, singing along with the radio at the top of our voices, a backpack loaded with binoculars and fishy crackers for adventuring, and the sweet sound of a six-year-old's voice reading for the first time:
Isn't that what writing is all about--capturing the moments of life that go by too fast? Isn't that what being a mom is all about?
I already have the best job in the world--Mommyhood--and now I'm working towards the second best job in the world--a recorder of childhood (aka a children's book author). Stepping back, I can see how these two jobs compliment more than conflict with each other.
So yes, my children's voices will be the soundtrack that I write to. There will be days when my flesh children will suffer in favor of my paper children, and there will be days when my writing suffers because I have one more field trip, one more soccer game, one more recital, or even one more book to read with my kids. But it will be okay. If through my writing I capture some of childhood and teenagerhood's precious (and even not so precious) moments, or if I help my children or someone else's child understand how sweet and precious and hopeful life can be, then I have done my job as both a mother and a writer.
And who knows, maybe in ten or fifteen years I'll get the chance to live childhood a fourth time, this time through grandchildren.
Writing and raising children is a big job, what do you think the role/purpose/responsibility of a children's or young adult author is?