Mommy Writer

I was on my way to New York a couple of weeks ago on the 6 AM flight, looking ahead to a day of meetings. I left my five-year-old daughter back in Florida, which I rarely do.  So she was very much on my mind — mainly because she put the screws to me for a full 24 hours before I got on the plane. Why do you have to go, Mommy?  Just cancel your meetings. Why can’t you work from home like you always do? Why can’t I go, too?  Don’t leave me!  I needed to carry an extra suitcase to tote all my guilt with me.

After the plane was in the air, I opened my pen case to retrieve one of my favorite Marvy Le Pens, planning to take advantage of a very quiet two hours on the plane. But I found all my luscious black inky pens gone, replaced with about twenty well-used crayons.

If you ask my daughter what I do, she’ll tell you that I’m a mommy writer.  She’ll also tell you that she wants to be a mommy writer when she grows up (though she also wants to be a bee keeper, a snow shoe instructor, and plans to run a homeless shelter).  And I love the idea of that, the mommy writer.  She knows I’m her mom first, and everything else second.  And I’m doing it all happily enough that she wants to do it, too.

But the mommy writer balance is not an easy one.  If you want to do either well, each enterprise requires creativity, a heart full of love, boundless energy, and a serious dedication of time.  Before my daughter was born, nothing else ever rivaled my desire to write.  When she arrived on the scene, she quickly became the center of my universe, everything else revolving around her.  Finding a way to be the best mommy I can, and to be the best writer I can is a day-to-day balancing act.

Of course, every working mother knows the difficulty of straddling two worlds that exclude each other.  We make choices on a daily basis, and some of those choices are painful.  I have it easier than most.  My work is demanding, but my time is flexible.  And, once upon a time, I wrote while working another full time job.  So I’m no prima donna; I can write anywhere, any time, under any conditions. It’s a skill that comes in handy for the mommy writer.

I couldn’t stop being a writer when I became a mother. But now, I am a mother before everything else.  And what that means is that when I’m on the road, my girl is usually with me.

When I sit down to write (if she’s not in school) she might be coloring beside me.  If she’s sick or if she has something special going on at school, or it’s my day to be lunch mom, I write after she goes to bed or before she gets up. And if I find myself on a plane with nothing but crayons, I guess I can write in Jazzberry pink as well as in any other color.  ‘Cuz, mommy writers, that’s how we roll.

I’d love to hear about the creative ways you balance work and parenting.  Comment here or on my Facebook page!

What I’m reading:  A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

What I’m reading to Ocean:  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

What I’m listening to:  Nothing new or especially interesting.  Any suggestions?



  1. M.E. Anders on September 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    What a touching post about writing and motherhood. Trying to balance it all would be quite challenging. At the moment, I’m only tackling the writing aspect…not ready for the mommy business, yet.


  2. Joan Greco on September 9, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Do you live in the long valley area of nj?

  3. Opal on October 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    Welcome to motherhood…
    Ahh the guilt, there’s no escaping it. I hear it gets worse!

    I work from home; it’s a bit easier since my daughter is in school. She’s eight years old. I’m a single mom; with a very busy work schedule so it was tough. I’m fortunate to have family that are close by, so that helps.

    Initially it was tough, and I found myself doing what you’re doing. Juggling my schedule around hers… Thankfully since I’m an early riser (drove my parent’s nuts) I’m able to accomplish a lot while she’s sleeping. When she was younger, it was hard to get her to understand that just because mommy was home, it didn’t mean her time was free — like hers. Things got better as she became older. She adores drawing (and is very talented) a few of her pieces have been featured in the schools art show. She draws daily, so if I have work that’s not complete. I’ll hop on my 17″ MacBook Pro, and work while she’s drawing. I’ve gotten good at multi-tasking (chatting with her) while I do my work. I swear, our children have us trained!

    During the summer months, I’ve become better at taking regular breaks throughout the day to hang with her.

    I recently discovered your books, and I promptly got the rest (after reading Fragile — a few weeks ago). You’re such a talented writer; I’m looking forward to reading more of your books. Keep writing!

  4. Billie Maverick on May 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

    The picture with the infant next to the keyboard and work along side of her said it all. My daughter is now twenty-one years old and is quite use to seeing momma working on her stories and/or working on her in-home businesses throughout the years.

    She isn’t the problem now. The full-time job I have now is. I’m working hard to get up at five a.m. to get something done (early rising has never been my strong point). Writing during lunch and a couple of hours after work however, has kept the progress going. You gotta do what you gotta do for what you love.

  5. JackWilshere on January 9, 2013 at 3:22 am

    I work from home; it’s a bit easier since my daughter is in school. She’s eight years old. I’m a single mom; with a very busy work schedule so it was tough. I’m fortunate to have family that are close by, so that helps.

  6. JackWilshere on January 9, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Your post is so interesting and informative. I got a lot of useful and significant information. Thank you so nu