My daughter has been telling me for years that someday I need to write a book and call it, “I Was Almost a Writer”. I’m not good at many things. I struggled through school, especially anything that had to do with math or science. However, I loved to read, and I dreamed of being an author some day, just like Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary. When I was young, I took any and every opportunity to write and it was the one thing that people told me I was good at.
Once I became a stay-at-home mom, I saw that as my chance to really throw myself into writing for publication. I got accepted into an MFA for creative writing program. I sent out some manuscripts and got feedback from a publisher, inviting me to send her more. I signed a contract to have my first poem published. Then, I don’t really know what happened. I guess I felt like writing was going to take me away from being a mom. I said no to the MFA and I never sent that publisher more manuscripts. I focused solely on being a mom, which I definitely don’t regret, but the truth is, I look back now and think, “I could have done it. I could have been a mom AND a writer.”
A few years later, another opportunity came along. I became the religion writer for our local newspaper. I wrote a weekly column and a monthly church of the month article. I loved it. I felt alive when I was writing. I was waking up at 4:00 in the morning to get it done. I wasn’t making a ton of money, but I was making just enough to pay a housekeeper to come in and clean every couple of weeks. It wasn’t that I was lazy and did not want to clean my house. On top of writing, I was homeschooling, caring for my family and serving my church. Getting someone else to do the deep cleaning gave me just enough time to get everything done.
Then, somebody that I respected very much, indicated that I was not fulfilling my duties as a wife and mom, because I was not cleaning my own house. They said that I had a responsibility to teach my daughters to be keepers of their home. I remember going home and sobbing, and shortly thereafter I gave up my writing job. My husband tried to be the voice of reason. He told me that was just that person’s opinion and that he didn’t want me to stop writing. He was so supportive, but I couldn’t hear him. All I could hear was the voice telling me that I had to choose between being a good mom or being a writer. Maybe they didn’t know how their words impacted me. Maybe they didn’t mean them the way that they came out, but that’s the way that I interpreted it and I walked away from writing once again.
I did manage to write a play for our homeschool co-op a couple of years after that, and seeing it come to life was one of the happiest times in my life. That poem I wrote many years ago was finally illustrated and published, and I screamed and jumped up and down and wept tears of joy when it arrived in the mail. I’ve blogged here and there, but my dream of ever being published again was put to rest years ago.
Writing fills me with joy! Working with others to create something beautiful is amazing, and there is nothing like seeing somebody enjoy what has been created. I love to tell stories, and my heart floods with gladness when someone tells me that a story I shared touched their heart. For a long time I worried that the feeling of elation that I felt in those moments was pride, and of course, we aren’t supposed to be prideful. Right? So, instead of enjoying writing and the moments that come with it, I have felt guilty.
But, I’ve learned a lot in the past year and a half. The biggest thing I have learned is that it’s okay to be happy. (I will write about that one of these days.) It’s okay to be good at something and to enjoy sharing it with others. I’ve learned that using my talent actually makes me a better mom. I want my daughters to know that God has given them talents and put things inside of them, and when they share those things, they bless others. I’ve learned that getting outside help does not make me a failure. I used to try to live up to the standard of the Proverbs 31 woman. One day I was reading it and it hit me that one reason she was able to be so successful was because she had help! So, I am learning not to feel guilty when I have to prioritize and hand over some of my responsibilities so that I can write.
Dear moms, what has God put inside of you? What is your talent? I pray that whatever it is will bloom and grow. I pray that you will bless the people around you as you share your gift with the world. Yes, you may have to take breaks from time to time, and that’s okay. Yes, you have to prioritize. Your main responsibility is caring for your family, but you also have a responsibility to use those talents. So, dig up those buried treasures inside of you and rejoice as you bless the world!