If you don’t know Lauren Baratz-Logsted, you should! She writes women’s fiction, chick-lit, YA and middle grade books. She’s also a kick-ass editor and I should know because she helped me with an early version of what now The Glass Wives.
And, as you may have guessed, she’s also a mom!
Lauren’s “nice guy romance novel”, The Bro-Magnet, has catapulted to the top of the Kindle charts (as I’m typing this, it’s #2!) and lucky for you — it’s FREE until Sunday, May 20th. Here’s the link so you can check it out yourself: THE BRO-MAGNET on Amazon.
If Nothing Is Actively Crawling, The Place Is Clean Enough
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Recently, the Working Mom v Stay-at-Home Mom debates got a rehearing in the press. There’s one group that is often ignored in these things, the gray area where people like me reside: the Work-at-Home Mom. I’m a specialized kind of work-at-home mom. I am a writer.
Writers can be funny people. Often, you’ll hear women who are writers – or more properly, women who want to be writers – say, “It’s impossible to get it all done. I don’t have time to write because I’m too busy taking care of my family.”
Here’s the thing about lots of writers: They’ll find any excuse not to write.
Here’s the thing about me: I’m not like lots of other people.
True confession time: I am an indifferent housekeeper and an absentee cook. My motto regarding the former: “If nothing is actively crawling, the place is clean enough”; regarding the latter: “The microwave is my friend.”
The way I achieve balance is through multitasking whenever possible. While pregnant with my daughter, I read those books that say you should talk to your baby as much as possible – in the womb and out – to encourage language acquisition. The problem with being a writer is that when you spend whole days in a basement cave alone, silently pouring words out onto the page, you are not necessarily big on talking aloud. This means that the idea of making baby babble was out for me. Instead, when my baby was still inside me, I read Proust to her (no wonder she likes cookies); and a few months after she was born, when she started on solids, I used to read the Letters to the Editor from the New York Times, doing different accents for whichever state or country the letter writer was from, while feeding her in her high chair (no wonder her vocabulary is so good that at age six, she told me the problem with Amelia Bedelia is that “she takes things too literally”). Arguably the greatest multitasking feat I ever accomplished was writing the first draft of an entire novel, Vertigo, while breastfeeding. Obviously I didn’t do this all in one session. Since I was breastfeeding on the left while typing on the right, it resulted in a lopsided look for a time, but at least my child got fed and the book got written.
The best advice I ever got about mothering was from a friend who doesn’t even have kids. While I was still pregnant with what I knew was going to be a daughter, my friend told me, “The best gift you can give your daughter is the model of a strong woman pursuing her dreams with joy and determination. That way, when she grows up, she won’t feel she needs the world’s permission to do the same.”
I have done that.
This does not mean that there is not the occasional twinge of guilt. Occasionally, I ask my daughter, “Wouldn’t you rather have a different kind of mommy? You know, one of those cooking-and-cleaning mommies?” To this, she invariably replies, “No, I want the mommy I have.” Here’s the thing, the best thing of all: She is proud of what I do for a living and she has always known how deeply she is loved.
No, you can’t have it all. You can’t do it all either. But there is no reason in the world why you can’t do what you love.
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of 24 books for adults (The Thin Pink Line), teens (The Twin’s Daughter) and young readers (The Sisters 8 series, which she created with her novelist husband and her daughter). You can read more about her life and work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com.