Balancing Motherhood and a Writing Career Is the Best Decision I’ve Ever Made
How starting a writing career gave me my self-worth back
I have been a stay-at-home mother and military wife for two years. When I left the working world, I left behind an important part of my identity.
I have been working since my first job on a farm at the age of 14. Working has always given me a purpose. I am a perfectionist in the workplace and I enjoy being a part of a team.
In my 20s, I worked as a nursing assistant and enjoyed success in the workplace. Unfortunately, after a diagnosis of cervical osteoarthritis, I could no longer work in the medical field. I had to go back to school to switch careers.
I became happily pregnant with my daughter during school. Only 15 days before my due date, I graduated from college with an honors distinction.
A major life change
When I became a stay-at-home mom, it was a different kind of work. It was hard work, rewarding, but solitary. I loved being a mother but the days were long and there wasn't any monetary reward. It was a very different world than the one I had become accustomed to.
I own a border collie. They are a herding breed that thrives off of hard work and accomplishment. When a working dog doesn’t have a job to do, they tend to get depressed.
I could compare how I was feeling to a working dog that gets too old to herd. I lost my vocation and with that, I lost my self-worth and part of my identity.
Why did I choose writing?
Last month, I decided I needed something more in my life besides being a mother. I also needed income to help our household financially. I researched freelance writing since I knew it was something I could do from home. In high school, I enjoyed writing so it seemed like a natural choice.
I found medium and enjoyed reading other writer’s articles. I realized I could be part of a community and make some income on the side. It was a perfect fit for me.
Feeling the benefits of hard work again
I started writing daily and have noticed that my self-worth has flourished. I have noticed the days are flying by. Between caring for my daughter, writing, and housework, I am a busy lady! I’m not making a lot of money yet, but I am off to a good start!
Writing as a motivational tool
I have been using writing as a reward for completing household tasks. For example, if I declutter the living room, I can write for a couple hours. I’m actually getting more housework done and I haven’t felt this much motivation in years!
My education is being utilized
I graduated from college when I was 9 months pregnant with my daughter. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I’ve feared I wouldn’t get a chance to use my education.
Thankfully, I am using my administration degree in this line of work. I took creative and business writing in college. The fact that I am using the knowledge I gained in school makes me feel like my education is worth something.
I am happy again
I used to wake up feeling stagnant and bored with life. Now, I wake up in the morning and look forward to a busy day. I am feeling tired and accomplished at the end of my day. I am no longer feeling emotionally drained and stressed at night.
My toddler and I are bonding but she is learning autonomy. She’s a little jealous of my laptop but if she needs me I can stop working and tend to her needs.
I am becoming brave and introspective
I have opened some very raw wounds using my writing. Writing the article “Mothering With Post-Partum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” was the final chapter in my emotional healing. I took the power away from my illness and revealed a battle that I fought and won.
I shared this article on my Facebook account for the world to see. I am a very private person. I never imagined sharing my struggle with that many people. Writing allowed me to share this part of myself with friends, family, and strangers. I chose to do this because PPOCD is rarely discussed and I wanted to help bring awareness to this affliction.
My loved ones were proud of me and shocked that I had been able to function during that period in my life. I received messages from women who decided to go to the doctor after reading my article. I made a difference! The whole experience was humbling, cathartic, and invigorating.
I re-read that article a lot because it allows me to see how far I’ve come since my darkest days.
I love the idea of being able to stay home with my children and enjoy a fulfilling career. I didn’t think this was possible until recently.
I’ll admit, the biggest reason I began freelance writing was to make extra income. Regardless of how successful I become, the feeling I have at the end of the day is worth much more than money.
I live in the best of both worlds now! I am watching my child grow and developing myself as a writer simultaneously. I feel happy, I feel fulfilled, and I feel accomplished.
I think my story is a prime example of how therapeutic writing can be.