Writing Tips

Becoming a Mom Has Made Me A Better (And Worse) Writer

One day after my first Mother’s Day and my mind is reeling. I am so incredibly lucky to be a mom. I love Winnie bear. I love watching her grow and explore, and her giggles just wake up my life in a way that nothing else ever has. Kids are amazing. But they do change your life a lot. And I mean, A LOT.

I’ve always thought this was an obvious statement, even before kids. That said, there is a need to be more open and honest about what, exactly, the experience is like, so that others have an easier time making the right decision for their families. Which is why I wanted to talk about how becoming a mother has affected my life, particularly my writing life. 

Here’s the full picture: I work full time as a program manager at The Story Center. That means I’m at work a minimum of forty hours a week, with occasional nights and weekends. I’m also a mother, daughter, wife, friend, and writer. 

With 24 hours in a day, there’s only so much we can do and, even though I’ve talked about My Average Day as a Working, Writing Mom, I thought I would lean into the writing part a little bit more today. Mostly because I see lots of writers online talking about how much they fear having kids will take away their ability to pursue writing. Granted, everyone’s life is different. I can’t tell you how your situation will unfold. But this is how becoming a mom has affected my writing life. 

For one, my attention is more divided and I’ve had to learn to be more flexible. I wrote this blog post in several parts. The first half during my baby’s afternoon nap on a Sunday; the second part during my lunch break the following Monday. I also write on my phone so much more than I used to. Between running to and from work, doctors’ appointments, daycare, and other miscellaneous life moments, it’s much easier to write on my phone than to lug my laptop around. (Though I still do that, too!)

More obvious is that I’m tired. Like really tired. 

As someone who has medically diagnosed insomnia that requires medication, I used to think parents were being jerks when they said they were the only ones who understood exhaustion. Now? I get what they mean. It’s not that others don’t understand exhaustion. They totally do. But I can count the number of nights I’ve been able to sleep through the night over the past eight months on one hand. I have insomnia AND a baby. (And I can’t take medication anymore, because, well, I can’t sleep through her middle of the night cries.) Even worse, I’m also dealing with postpartum complications. Mostly severe anemia that requires iron infusions that make me more susceptible to other illnesses. When I get sick, I don’t get to sleep to recover, and since my baby’s in daycare, our immune systems can’t keep up. We had less days last month where we weren’t sick than days where we were. Illness is almost never-ending right now. Managing that stress on top of limited PTO while working in an office is a lot to juggle. 

Granted, my writing hasn’t stopped. In fact, in many ways, I’m getting more done than ever before. 


Because I 1000% embrace any writing time I can find. Before having a baby, I might’ve been more tempted to watch a TV show or scroll social media, but now? I know that I’m not going to get more time to write later, so I get my butt in a chair and get it done. 

Even better? My instincts are sharper (at least according to my critique partners). I found this to be the most surprising, but after talking to one of my CPs about why this might be, she pointed out that it could correlate to the time crunch I’m under. I don’t have time to second guess the scene. I just get the words down and keep going. Granted, on a line level, my first draft is sloppier than usual. I may be writing faster, but my grammar has taken a hit. Just recently, I was revising my work when I realized I had an inconsistency with my character’s eye color. I’ve never done that before. My word choice was also not as flavorful. I definitely had to edit the individual lines more than I had to in the past, but the storyline itself was higher quality. 

In the end, becoming a mom didn’t make me a better or worse writer. It didn’t even necessarily change me as a person. I’m still me—just with an awesome little kid in my life—and managing that has shifted my priorities, energy, and abilities. But I’m still trekking along. 

Since Winsloe was born, I’ve written an entire novel and revised a third of it. I’ve kept up with my newsletter, blog, and social media. I’ve even written some special projects on the side. All in between naps, on lunch breaks, and stolen minutes here and there. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Hell yes. I know I’m on my way to doing even more.

I can’t wait to tell my baby girl she can have her dream job, follow her passion, and have a lovely family in her life. 


8 thoughts on “Becoming a Mom Has Made Me A Better (And Worse) Writer

  1. First off, Happy Mother’s Day (belated).
    Second, Winsloe is a cool name.
    Finally, for me, I have been re-thinking my priorities recently. I have let other things distract me from doing more with my writing and creating. I am hoping to change this, thanks to a little hip replacement surgery. I’m off for 3 months, with little to do except walk around every hour or so. I’m using the time to work more on my writing and character development, and change some other habits. Hopefully, when I return to work, I can maintain this level of output.
    The fact that you can do some much with the available time is incredible. I don’t know if I’ll get to that level (unless they get physical QWERTY keyboafrd back on smartphone, Blackberry, how I miss thee), but anything more than before will be better.

  2. This is so amazing to hear (not the tired part, but the creative part). I’m glad to hear you are adjusting and flourishing while you are at it. Juggling writing and kids can be a struggle, but I find that just like anything else, once you find your groove you kind of forget what your routine was like before.

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