My baby turned four months old yesterday, which is both mind blowing and incredibly exciting. (It really does go by so fast.)
Now that we’ve officially made it one month of her going to daycare while I work full-time (and write novels), I thought it was time for a writing life update. And honestly? This past month wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it’s been rather good. But let’s rewind for a minute.
Leading up to my return to work, I was struggling with a lot of anxiety. Not just with the idea of dropping her off and being apart during the day, but also with maintaining any sort of workload while caring for a baby (especially considering the lack of sleep). But honestly? The change has been good for us.
For the first time since having my daughter, I got to wear clothes for a day without being spit up on. Instead of my hair being a tangled mess, I wore it DOWN (and no one was pulling it). I put on makeup. I talked to other adults. In a plot twist I didn’t see coming, going back to work actually made me feel a little more…like me. I honestly didn’t realize just how isolated I had become during my maternity leave until I was out of it.
I say all of this with the utmost love for my daughter.
Her gummy grins make my heart melt. I am so excited to be a mom and watch her grow. I love the goo-goos and gaa-gaas. The milky cuddles. The hilarious new expressions she makes. And I definitely miss her like hell during the day. (Dropping her off is always so hard!) Nightshifts are probably the hardest, because I don’t get home in time to say goodnight. But I’m happy being back at work.
I read audiobooks while driving my daughter to and from daycare. I write in the early mornings before baby wakes up and the late evenings after baby goes down. I especially use my lunch breaks, where baby girl can’t unexpectedly interrupt. I also lean into the weirdness of my schedule. For instance, though the library was closed on Martin Luther King Day, I still sent my daughter to daycare so that I could catch up on household chores and get some words down in my WIP. Sure, my mom guilt nagged me about spending more time with her, but we spend hours together every morning and evening (not to mention middle of the night feedings). And weekends. We have all weekend together. And we have a blast.
Looking back, I honestly thought I would struggle with sending baby girl to daycare and struggle even more to find time to write, but having my work schedule has allowed my family to get back on a schedule where I can slot writing back in more easily than when I was on maternity leave and home full-time.
In fact, during my three months of maternity leave, I only got 8,000 words down.
In January, I…
- Wrote 5,130 words in my YA verse novel for my agent, got it critiqued by my local writers’ group and another critique partner, and revised a portion
- Wrote 8,427 in my adult dark academia novel for fun
- Wrote 4 blog posts
- Began work on a super secret project
- Booked a class that I will teach later this year (info to come!)
- Got tickets to SCBWI’s National Conference in February
- Applied to 3 new opportunities
- Attended a writers’ group meetup
- Experienced my friend’s publishing coach business firsthand, and it was amazing!
- Finished 2 audiobooks for myself, started 2 more
- Read 48 unique books with my daughter and enrolled her in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program at the library
All while working full time and taking care of my baby.
Granted, there’s a lot of things in my life that allow this. For one, I’m married, and my spouse is fantastic about being an equal partner running the household and raising our baby. He will watch our daughter while I attend a writers’ meeting or wrap up some pages in the evening. He’s even taken her for entire nightshifts on his own so that I can catch up on rest. I also work swing shifts that free up some mornings and federal holidays. And I take advantage of every minute.
Waiting at the doctor’s office? I’m writing. Waiting in line at the grocery store? I’m jotting down words in my SimpleNote. That said, I’ve been learning to take more breaks, too.
After one afternoon of writing left me incredibly drained, I realized it’s just as important to know when to rest. I went too hard, too fast. And I know I shouldn’t do that. It would be like getting on my trampoline right now and attempting a backflip. I would surely miss the mark. I might even strain a muscle and be forced to take an even longer break to recover. And no one wants to do that.
So, I am still adjusting. I am finding the balance between writing again and resting when I can. It may take me another few months–and it will probably change again–and that’s okay.
I may not be churning out words as quickly as I used to, but I am proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, and I look forward to seeing what I can do in the future, too.
6 thoughts on “My Postpartum Writing Life: Working-Writing Mom with a 4-Month-Old”
I didn’t start writing until I was around 40 years old. At the time, I was working full-time in a stressful job, had two young boys who I coached both in soccer and baseball, was running a lot, still cooked on weekends and took care of the garden, and did all sorts of other things. And those were the times when my writing was most productive. My boys are now out of the house, I’m semi-retired, onlly working 10-15 hours a week. I have more free time than I ever have and I struggle with writing a tiny fraction of what I wrote in those busy days.
Your productivity with all you have going on is amazing.
Thank you for sharing your story. ❤ I love hearing from working-writing parents. It makes me feel a little less alone. It's been so busy. (This past week was so hard.) I just don't know many people who are in my situation, so it's difficult to believe in the dream some days. Still trying though! Definitely not giving up. 🙂
I’m sure I’ll be reading your posts about your writing life for years and decades to come.
Thank you so much for your encouragement! Much appreciated.
There’s so much pressure on mothers to pretend everything is perfect and the baby doesn’t disrupt their working life at all. Thanks for writing this.
Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂