How to be a Writer Without Writing Anything

The last few weeks have been tough. I had a baby, for one thing. I’m now 19 days into the newborn stage and am frankly having trouble seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

I hate the new baby stage. She’s warm and soft and cuddly and cute. But, she also screams for food every 2-3 hours, spits up half of it, poops the rest and hasn’t even learned how to smile yet. I hate breastfeeding but feel like I have to do it or I’m hurting her. I want to go out to eat but feel like I can’t expose her to germs. I’m recovering from surgery, tired, the house is a disaster and I’m bored. I hate it I hate it I hate it.

But I am a writer.

Not that I’ve had time or energy to put pen to paper lately. But I wrote this post in my head (and rewrote it several times) while sitting on the couch, nursing yet again. And I’ve been doing some of the one thing I’ve had time to do – thinking.

I have a lot of guilt as a mother. (Something that may have been made clear to you in the beginning of this post.) I believe there’s a right way to do things, and yet I rarely live up to that. It’s all very well to say “Just relax and enjoy this time – don’t stress, it’ll be over before you know it!” (As I have been told many times before.) But the fact is that I live in constant fear that my baby will die, and it will be my fault. That’s not something I can just turn off. It does get better, I know this from my first child. But as much as I love having a four year old, I’ve got a freaking long time before I get there again.

Surviving is a daily process right now.
I am a mother, and that is wonderful all the years and terrible some days. I’m so thankful to be a mother; I’m so glad to have my little family. And I do not want to feed a screaming baby ever again.

Writing used to be like that for me. I love being a writer, and often hate sitting my butt down and writing. This seems to be something common to most writers, but the advice given is often like that for new mothers: Enjoy it. Get in a routine. Just make yourself do it and it will get better.

Frell that. I have become convinced that being a writer doesn’t mean you must sit down and write every morning at 5am. I’m currently sitting in a fast food parking lot. I am – I admit it – hiding from my family. But no matter how long I sit here – slowly eating fries, sipping sweet tea and prolonging the moment of my return – I am still a mother. I can tell because I’m using my free time to write about being a mother.
And no matter how long it takes me to get the words actually written down, I am also a writer. I know because of the things I write in my head during a 3am feeding.

You never stop being the things that are part of your true self. Even when you take a break from doing once in a while. I never have to worry about losing that part of me.

I have not lost my stress about being a mom. But I’m getting better about being a writer, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

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