Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Pontificating Writer...

Dear Male-Writer-Whose-Wife-Is-Expecting:

Sorry, but you don't get to tell writers who choose to be, or have to be, the primary caretaker for their infants and young children that they're using parenting as an excuse to slack off with their careers. That their complaints about not having enough time to write are due to a lack of persistance and professionalism. You can complain that you're tired of people warning you parenting is hard, sure. You can even point out that people do maintain careers after becoming parents.

However.

If YOU aren't going to be the stay-at-home parent and primary provider of household needs while your spouse goes off 10-12 hours a day and earns the bulk of your family income, then STFU about how those of us who are in that position are unserious hobbyists if we discover that maintaining a writing career is exceptionally challenging...or maybe, temporarily, not a even good idea for the family as a whole. I'm talking no daycare, no parents-day-out, no kindly babysitting relative, no maid service, no yard service, not much money, no nothing but you and the kids and house that you need to keep from exploding. (Both the kids and the house, though with infants you can't help certain...explosions...sometimes.)

I mean, DUDE! You have no kids yet. You have No Freaking Idea.

Kids are incredibly time-consuming. It's not an excuse when you can't write because you've got a colicky baby who needs you to pace the floor. It's not an excuse when you pick laundry or groceries over your WIP because everyone is out of underwear and the pantry is bare and child protective services is giving your house the evil eye. It's not an excuse and it's not lack of seriousness about your career when you choose two hours of sleep over two hours of writing some pompous blog post--especially when those two hours are going to be the last two hours you get for another eighteen.

It's not an excuse. It's not laziness. It's not the sign of a hobbyist loser. It's called parenting. Maybe someday you'll understand that.

Or not. Because from your commentary, it sounds like your better half is going to be the one to take care of all that mess. Good luck with that.

Sincerely,

An Actual Stay At Home Mom Who Has A Writing Career, Sort Of

*

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com  * www.meankitty.com

5 comments:

  1. Amen, sister!

    ver word: woroo--the new warcry of stay-at-home writerly parents

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  2. Hmm...*Taps finger to chin*...I wonder who you might be talking about here...Let me just go and check my Twitter feed...

    Oh, there he is... :-)

    Well said, Jody. As a fellow stay-at-home-mom/cleaner/cook/writer/homework helper/morals coach/shaper of the future with husband who travels 2-3 days a week, I totally agree. You don't get to choose much when it comes to your family. Decisions are fully imbedded in your (and their) DNA. Case closed.

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  3. Now, now. I'm sure there are all sorts of writers who are soon to experience a blessed event, from one direction or another :). But yes, once kids enter the picture, you don't get to pick yourself or your career first anymore. You and whoever is hopefully helping you have got to do a balancing act that may not seem very balanced most times.

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  4. That's telling him, Jody. Well done.

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  5. Wow. I don't do Twitter, so it sounds like I missed something. But I agree. Raising children isn't an excuse. Sometimes nap time is all the free time you get and more often than not, you need a nap too. Living through a kitchen remodel run amok isn't an excuse. If I hear one more contractor curse and then call my name because there's a problem, I'll scream. Playing Spider Solitaire all day long instead of writing, well, that's not an excuse.

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