Last week, I wrote a piece about becoming mother runner after the birth of my son in January for Runner’s World. The concept of mother runner isn’t one I penned. But, it was one I knew had to exist without Googling it. Mother runner denotes a group that has overcome specific physical experiences that makes running more difficult. If you haven’t given birth, you wouldn’t understand the physical demands and recovery. Add running to the mix and you’ve got a new dimension of understanding your body and its limitations. Mother runner also entails specific kinds of interruption, an increasing demand on time, and a balance of personal care and care for others. In my training, I resisted that identity and fought against the impact being a mother had on my physical life.Now, I am trying to accept the mother identity in a new area.
Enter the mother writer.
Writing with an infant is HARD, people. If you’re a mother and you write when your child is awake, more power to you. I haven’t quite mastered how to think coherently through that kind of distraction. I write with fury during nap times and after bedtime. But if my son is awake? Forget about it. Often, I don’t realize an hour has passed until I hear little coos echo from the baby monitor, snapping me from the world I’m creating and back to responsibility. Yes, being mother writer is a vastly different experience from writer.
My son was born during my last semester of grad school and I was a different kind of mother writer then. Writing my dissertation with a newborn remains a blur. I’m not sure how I did it. And I don’t care to go back and see what mistakes were made through the haze of sleep deprivation. Since that time, I am learning to accept (despite my protests and denial) that I am forever mother-insert-title-here. I cannot be a fully anything or full time anything while my son is at home. Even though I think I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to accomplish twice as much in a day (because there is incredible social pressure on women who stay home to be constantly impressive).
I look at the number of guest posts I’ve done, the books I am reading, and the slow progress of my novel and I am often agitated by it.
“I should be farther along.”
“I should be writing more.”
“I should be reading more books.”
And I will. It’s just going to take me a little more time because I am a mother writer. Mother first. Writer second. I work each day to be okay with that.