New Motherhood as a Writer

On Valentine’s Day this year, my son was born. He’s my first child, so motherhood has been a new experience for me. Taking care of a newborn requires a lot of energy — and that means personal projects take a sideline for awhile. That includes writing a book!

I’m writing this post at 4:50 AM. My son just went back to sleep after a feeding. It’s dark, the world is quiet, and I’m enjoying a few minutes to myself before going back to bed. Knowing I wanted to write one blog post per month this year, I thought I should steal this time to get my March post out before it’s too late! And yes, I do mean “steal” time, because with a baby in the house who wants food and cuddles practically around the clock, I do feel like a robber of sorts. This is what it’s like to be a new mom.

Before I had my son, I had a pretty consistent writing schedule. I was an early riser — often up by 6 AM — so if I was able, I would rise before dawn, sneak downstairs to the couch, and sit in the dark with my cat in my lap, writing a scene or two before my husband woke up. That was my stolen time, then. The difference was that I was sure not to be interrupted!

Then, around 7 AM, I would make breakfast, read a book, chat with my husband, and prepare for the day ahead. I use Sarra Cannon’s HB90 method for goal setting, so my mornings often included sitting at my desk with my planner, jotting down my plans for the day.

Then, around 9:30 AM, I lit a candle, turned on Viking music, and started writing. My typical morning session would be an hour and a half, give or take — that’s my sweet spot for inspiration before getting tired. When I was finished, I would take a break, grab a snack, and maybe go for a walk before lunch. It was a pleasant way to pass the morning, and I always started the day strong that way.

The afternoons were more open. I might return to my writing if I felt inspired, but I often had other tasks to do — like marketing, cover design, formatting, social media, etc. I kept my afternoons flexible to give me some breathing room. Because writing takes a lot of mental energy, I enjoy having smaller tasks for the hours of the day when I tend to feel more mentally tired — and for me, a morning person, that’s the afternoon and evening.

But throw a baby into that mix, and all those perfect plans blow up. I spent the first few weeks after birth just recovering for my own health, while also taking care of my baby with my husband as best I could. Now that it’s been six weeks, I feel stronger, healthier, and mentally ready to work again. The only thing holding me back is finding the time between diaper changes and tummy time.

As I finish edits for Whispers of a Sorceress, the second book in the Daughters of Valhalla series, I feel grateful my husband is home and gives me time to write every day. It’s not easy, but we do our best to balance baby duties so neither of us loses our sanity. As a new mom, I am beginning to understand the importance of making time for myself, because the more I do that — the more I pursue my passions, such as writing — the better I can show up for my son. Even 20 minutes to write — preferably alone in a quiet spot — refreshes me.

But it’s also important to remember that life has seasons. For me, this season is about being a mother and taking care of my baby. The newborn phase is going by so fast! I will miss being able to hold my son against my chest while he naps. I will miss how tiny he is. I will miss the little sounds he makes. So I’m trying to enjoy every moment. If that means skipping a day of writing, so be it. Priorities shift, and right now, he is my priority.

Are there any moms out there who relate? I’d love to hear how you balance motherhood and work, creativity, or anything else that’s important in your life!

Ashley

Feature photo by Alex Pasarelu via Unsplash

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