moms who write (part 6)

Last day of Writer’s Week! And since I’m too lazy to link to the other five posts again, just scroll on down if you missed any of them!

What do you do in the event that you’d like to be a Mom and a Writer–at the same time? (and I realize you’re 50 other things too–just focusing on these 2 today) Is this okay? Can you do both well, or is one going to suffer? Are you a better mom if you wait until your kids are older to pursue your dreams?

Gail and Jody both brought up really good points in their comments this week. Gail referenced an interview she did with author Deborah Raney where Deborah says that each family is different, “but my ‘stock’ advice to ‘aspiring writers who have small children at home is: WAIT. At the very least, wait until they’re all in school (or school age, if you home school). They’ll grow up before you know it, and then you’ll have all the time in the world to pursue your writing dream. …”

Jody says, “Balancing writing and family responsibilities is incredibly challenging! But at the recent conference I attended, the key note speaker said that through our writing we can inspire our children to follow their dreams. I’m beginning to accept that my writing will make my family life less than perfect, but it wasn’t perfect before either! And in fact, perhaps my writing can enrich my family life in a new way!”

This is one of those issues when I think you HAVE to spend time in prayer and ask God what is best for YOUR family. And you CAN’T give into peer pressure or let yourself feel false guilt over your choice or JUDGE other moms who choose a different path than you.

My mom and I chose similar career paths. We both taught school for awhile, then left teaching for good when we started having babies. Then I veered off the path when I started freelance writing for McGraw-Hill when Livi was a baby. Then I moved on to writing books and speaking.

So, who made the best choice? We both did.

My favorite chapter in this book is Chapter 10–Changing the World. I talk about how I didn’t know this until recently, but my mom always dreamed of having some type of ministry with my dad. As it turned out, she served (in many ways) at church and blessed people left and right, but her main ministry was taking care of her hubby and four kids.

But those four kids? They became a youth pastor’s wife, another youth pastor’s wife, a youth pastor, and an author/speaker. Without Mom’s full-time dedication to her family, who knows what career paths they would have chosen? Mom made a huge sacrifice to give up her dream so her children could spend their adult lives serving the Lord. And looking back, she wouldn’t have it any other way. (p. 198)

Then there are those of us who choose a different path (or it chooses us). Join me in the middle of p. 193…

Yes, our dreams get put on hold sometimes. No, God never promises to grant us our every fantasy.

And no, your dreams can’t be all about you. Especially if you’re a wife and mom. Leaving your family members to fend for themselves whild you go find yourself and pursue your life calling is not an option.

But on the other hand, I think we tend to underestimate God. Many times we just suck it up and unselfishly put our dreams and passions aside because we think that’s best for the kingdom.

Have we considered the possibility that God just might let us have our cake and eat it too? That maybe He has a place for us right inside His kingdom that has room for us to be wives and moms while doing something we’re passionate about? Something we can do that will matter for eternity?

Our dreams don’t have to be all about us, but they don’t have to be exclusively about our kids either. I actually think our kids are better off if we have dreams and passions outside of them. They feel less pressure when they see that Mommy and Daddy (and the rest of the world) don’t orbit around them. And a child respects a mother who uses her talents in some way or pursues a dream outside of motherhood.

So, tell me: which way do you feel God leading you? Putting your dreams on hold for now? Pursuing them in tandem with motherhood? A happy medium? Are you feeling overwhelmed and conflicted at the moment? I’d love to know how this plays out in your daily life.

One more thing–I’ll be talking about this more in a later post, but just wanted to let you know I’ve joined NaNoWriMo. In a word, I’ve committed to writing a 50,000-word novel (from scratch!) in the month of November. Along with thousands of other crazy people.

I would LOVE it if you jumped in and joined us.

This is way out of my comfort zone, but writing fiction is a someday dream of mine that I’m going to go ahead and get started on (28 days from now).

Have an awesome weekend, friends! Remember–next week is YOU Week!

8 thoughts on “moms who write (part 6)

  1. Mandy

    So, tell me: which way do you feel God leading you? Putting your dreams on hold for now? Pursuing them in tandem with motherhood? A happy medium? Are you feeling overwhelmed and conflicted at the moment? I’d love to know how this plays out in your daily life.

    I agree with what you wrote:

    “Our dreams don’t have to be all about us, but they don’t have to be exclusively about our kids either. I actually think our kids are better off if we have dreams and passions outside of them. They feel less pressure when they see that Mommy and Daddy (and the rest of the world) don’t orbit around them. And a child respects a mother who uses her talents in some way or pursues a dream outside of motherhood.”

    I find I’m a better wife and mom if I’m also pursuing my dreams (but they can’t be just MY dreams – they must be the dreams that come of living a life led by the Holy Spirit, not my selfish desires). As I’ve written in past comments, praying and reading God’s Word are essential to balancing all my roles in a healthy way. My time is really God’s time and He always gives me time to do what He wants me to do. I know this sounds all spiritual and maybe even unattainable (maybe even boring), but it’s THE MOST EXCITING AND AMAZING WAY TO LIVE! I only know this because I’ve lived both ways (led by the Spirit and led by myself – honestly, I’ve spend most of my life being led by myself and still fall into that pattern frequently). But I’ve learned that God is enough for me – more than enough. When I’m living for myself and to satisfy my own desires – trying to do what I want to do (no matter how noble my goals may be), I’m saying that God is not enough for me. But when I’m making that choice to say, “God you are all I need. I’m going to live for you,” my life is enriched beyond measure. Any of us can have that kind of life if we choose to. Isn’t that amazing? It’s not a matter of being special in some way – God offers that life to each and every one of us!!!!!!

    One last comment I have to make about mothering: We only get once chance to raise our kids and then they’re gone. I need to remind myself of that daily. As much as I want to pursue my dreams, I need to remember that God gave me the job of mom to them and I will be held accountable by HIM someday for all my mothering decisions. Also, we reap what we sow. If we want healthy kids, we have to put the time and effort in to do our part – and that involves making some serious sacrifices.

  2. ginger

    My niece participates in NaNoWriMo. Me? I can’t even keep up with a blog. But I’ve enjoyed reading what you & others have written about being a wife & mom this week. I particularly appreciate what you said about your mom. She sounds like a special lady. I pray every day to have the influence on my children that God wants me to.

  3. Shannon Popkin

    Hi Marla. I’ve probably spent too much time on writing over the last few years, but honestly, now that my kids are all in school this year, the pace seems to be picking up rather than slowing down. I try to write during school hours or after bedtime. But I haven’t found enough extra time to do anything much, lately. I really love to speak, and the four events that I’m planning for this fall will require pretty much all of my extra time (along with my ministry roles at church). I’m just trusting that the Lord will direct my steps. Maybe I’ll spend the rest of my life doing what I’m doing: a little here, a little there… but that’s truly ok with me. I want… no NEED(!) the LORD to direct my daily steps. Otherwise, I bunny trail constantly, and could easily miss out on the ‘good works prepared in advance for [me] to do.’ Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. Beth

    Thanks Marla, these words are soothing to a mom who has a part time job to help offset the cost of educating the children. It turns out I love the job but the balance of being wife/mom/career person needs to be reevaluated often and words like yours are a balm to my aching desire to be what my husband and kids need! I’m not a writer but I still enjoyed this post!

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