I have been keeping a secret from you, dear Internet. But now it’s finally time to share… I’m pregnant!
I’m into my second trimester now, and little Bebe (as we are calling him/her) is approximately the size of an apple (more than 4 inches long and approximately 2.5 ounces in weight). I’m due in early February, and needless to say, I’m VERY excited. I’ve always wanted to have kids, and now it’s finally happening!
But I have to admit, every now and again I worry: how is having a baby going to affect my writing? I know that for the first few months I can pretty much kiss writing goodbye. I’ll be busy breastfeeding, bathing Bebe, changing diapers, doing laundry, and catching up on sleep. Not to mention trying to find the time to feed and bathe myself.
I’m very lucky in that I work from home, so I will get to stay home with Bebe. Technically I can take as long of a maternity leave as I want, but in reality not really. Because Bebe is going to be expensive, and Mama will need to keep bringing in the dough.
Right now, I spend my mornings writing and doing writing-related activities (like this blog!) Then, in the afternoons, I tutor, create math curriculum, and do freelance writing and editing. My husband and I count on the money I bring in from these jobs to help us do things like pay the rent.
So the plan is this: when the baby is about three months old, I’ll go back to work. While Bebe is down for a nap, not only will I be throwing in loads of laundry (we’re going to try for cloth diapers – are we insane?) and doing crunches to try to get back in shape, I’ll also be making worksheets about dividing fractions and maybe even doing some Skype tutoring.
The question is: when will I be writing? The answer: I’m not sure.
Maybe I’ll wake up early in the mornings (unless I’m already up with Bebe?) and try to get in forty-five minutes of writing time. Maybe I’ll wait until my husband comes home from work, slap Bebe in his arms, and then try to eek out a little prose. But I think the reality is this: I’m not going to be doing a lot of writing. Not for Bebe’s first year, I’d imagine. And that’s definitely scary to me.
In fact, I’m not even sure what will happen with this blog. Will I have time to continue writing it? In the small amounts of time that I will have, might I rather write in my journal about the craziness of being a new mom?
All of this is a little worrisome. BUT, I have a plan. And the plan is this:
Step 1: From now until Bebe arrives, I am going into hyper-productivity mode. I’ve already started on a new novel, and my goal is to finish the first draft before my due date. I also want to revise a draft of another novel I’ve got sitting around before my due date. That way, I can relax when Bebe arrives and feel like I deserve (and perhaps need) a break from writing.
Step 2: From now until Bebe arrives, I am going to work my BUTT off doing math curriculum and tutoring. I have to admit, sometimes I’m lazy about math curriculum because it can be so boring. But now I have an incentive: bring in as much money as possible now so I don’t have to be stressed out about money when Bebe arrives.
Step 3: When Bebe arrives, enjoy him/her and let my whole focus be on becoming a mother. I will always have writing. I won’t always have a newborn baby to marvel at.
Step 4: When Bebe is little, there are lots of little things I can do that are related to writing. For example, I can read while breastfeeding, and since Bebe will be breastfeeding pretty much constantly, I can get a lot of reading done. I can also send out the first draft of the novel I will have completed (see Step 1) to beta readers and wait for their feedback. I can also query agents with the novel I will have revised (see Step 1) and wait for their responses. Just because I won’t have chunks of time to sit down and write doesn’t mean that I can’t do things to help my writing career.
Step 5: At some point, maybe when Bebe is five months old or so, I hope to start doing a baby-swap with other moms in the area. I will find other stay-at-home/work-from-home moms near me. (I know of one already, and maybe I’ll meet more in prenatal yoga, birthing class, or my midwife’s community care group.) Two afternoons a week (or whatever we decide) I’ll take Bebe to another mom’s house where she will care for my baby and hers while I go off to write and do yoga and grocery shop. Then we’ll swap, and I’ll take her baby two afternoons a week so she can go do whatever she needs to do. Basically, I’m going to figure out a way to get some alone time so that I can get in some writing.
Step 6: Assess what’s to be done with my blog. On the one hand, I might really want an outlet and blogging will be just what I need to stay sane as I’m surrounded by baby poop. On the other hand, it might be too much, and when I start having time to write, I might rather work on fiction than worry about keeping up with a blog. Or, I could find a middle ground. Post once a month. Anyway, I can decide later, and the important thing is not to stress about it.
All in all, I think it’s a pretty good plan, but I also know that babies are unpredictable, and I have to be okay with the fact that things might not go according to my plan. I have to be okay with the fact that I might not be able to get back into a regular writing schedule for a while. But I’m okay with that. Because I’m going to have a BABY! And having a child will give me a lot to write about…when I eventually get the chance to do so.