Friday, December 09, 2005

Letting them be on their own

When my son was born I was your classic tiger mama. I didn't want anyone else to watch him, didn't want to sleep away from him for one night, didn't ever want to return to work.

For two and a half years I wrote furiously while trying to support my son and I after my divorce. We managed it, but not very well. I was stressed and tired. So I decided to return to work. My fears of putting my precious son into day care were about to be realized. And then something happened. He LOVED day care. There were other SMALL PEOPLE. They had ALL THESE TOYS.

For weeks they said "we can't even tell that he's new!" There were zero tears, no wimpers, and the boy was more happy to go to day care than I was to get the regular pay check.

I learned something from this. It is ok for my son to be out in the world - without me. He grew by leaps and bounds. He'd always been vocal and now he knew all the letters and numbers and colours. He knew brand new songs which he'd sing to me while he was in the bathtub. We created new traditions for out time together. Every night we spend 45 minutes reading books, we colour together and discuss the pictures. I learned that I was ok to focus on work, knowing that he was learning and growing as a little boy.

Soon, I'll be home once again. August 2006 we are expecting a baby. Hopefully the lessons will stick.

I've been watching some aquaintences go through a difficult time with their son. He had some health problems at the beginning of his life and has been treated like a patient for his entire life. Now that he's started day care, his parents call twice a day to check on how much he's eaten or how he has slept - even if they wake him up with the ringing phone.

I want to tell them that it's ok, but it's definitely not my place. They have to learn, just like I did, that they will outgrow every limit you set for them. You have to let them be on their own.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tuning out to tune in

One of my most frustrating weaknesses is the inability to tune the world out. When I'm at work, when I'm at home, when I'm writing... I hear everything. I hear the tv in the other room, I hear the discussion at the next cubicle and I hear the 'bing-bong' of a new email hitting my inbox.

Some things cannot be avoided: the customer call that comes in when you are mid-sentence, the child that needs help getting the toilet seat lid up when you are in the middle of an interview, the deadline that must be made on the same night as the Lost finale.

But for the most part, these distractions are avoidable. How many times have you tried to start writing before the kids went to bed or with the tv on? Or what about that wonderful email list you are on with the chatty women? But when a deadline is looming - do you really need that email? Can't you catch up later?

Now don't get me wrong... this ain't no preachin' goin' on. I'm the worst of the worst, the queen o' distraction, the scatterbrain. Although I prefer "multi-tasker". And to be fair, I can multi-task like a sunovagun. So here's what I'm doing this week - and I challenge you to do the same:
  • When you sit down to write, turn off your email program. (I KNOW, honey, but you'll be OK!)
  • Turn the TV off one hour before bed time and write for that hour instead.
  • Spend one evening goofing off.. no writing. Yes, you heard me correctly. No Writing. Deal with the laundry, the wrapping of presents, the good shows on tv.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Gettin' er done

My house has never been spotless. A spotless house is my mother's house. I used to put a book down, go to the bathroom and it would be gone when I got back... sitting at the top of the stairs.. my mom's signal for "put your stuff in your room".

Not so in my household. As I sit here on my couch, the table has a third of it covered in books and notes and random boy-toys like a Batman and a Mr. Incredible, there's a pile of widowed socks on the loveseat, and on the couch I'm wedged into there are four books, a pencil case full of my son's crayons and my mug of tea - perched upon a book.

I won't even try to describe my office. The desk is ok, but the file cabinet is half buried and the small desk (the one I used before the desk upgrade) has been converted to 'holder of random papers'.

My home is a conglomeration of two home offices... two adults, one four year old boy and one bun in the oven. It's a little busy, but not as busy as some. I also work outside of the home full time.

There is just one rule when it comes to my writing... just sit down and get it done. No whining about the lack of time, no making excuses of how much laundry there is, no dallying.. just sit down and get it done. It's not the most fun rule.. I'm a former queen of procrastination, but I've learned that the only way to get to the end is just one foot in front of the other.

At least that's how it works with my non fiction.

My fiction is a whole other post for another day.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

~*~*The Writing Mother*~*~

Welcome to The Writing Mother Blog!

My name is Heather Cook. I'm a writer. I'm a mother. Those are two big jobs and you can hardly tell where one ends and the other begins!

I write non fiction articles but have recently begun a flirtation with fiction. Luckily there are many wonderful Writing Mothers out there to learn from. Just a few are listed on the right hand side of my blog.