Full Circle, from Child to Adult
Hi, everybody! Thank you so much for allowing me to be a guest with you this month!
The balancing act we writer-moms battle with creates a never-ending discussion in all corners of the writing world. We sometimes feel as if we’re giving short shrift to everything…our families, our jobs, our writing, and our homes. But how often do we get to hear the kids’ perspective?
I started writing shortly after I got married and finished my first book a few months after my first child, aka Number One, was born. She just turned 18 and is leaving for Emerson College in about two weeks, where she’ll major in Writing, Literature, and Publishing. I thought this was a great time to get some perspective on her childhood, so I asked her a few questions about growing up in a writing household.
She had so many great things to say* that I can only include a couple of them here. Look for the rest at Everybody Needs a Little Romance on August 23.
*Note: She said all this completely on her own, without solicitation or guidance! LOL
Do you remember anything about your mom being a writer when you were little, and how that affected you?
For such a good student I have an absolutely awful memory, so most of the specifics from when I was younger have long since vanished. I always credit the fact that my mom is a writer as the reason I had such an avid interest in writing from such a young age, despite the fact that I can’t remember much from that time period. I think it was mostly that when you’re little, everything your parents do is the coolest thing ever. We had these writing periods in my first and second grade classes, and I just wrote the heck out of everything. I absolutely loved it, and I think the fact that my mother was a writer allowed me to love it. Writing was something that would be automatically approved of. I didn’t have to worry about parental acceptance and could simply let myself foster that love for writing, even though it was subconscious at the time
I do remember sitting on a couch in my first or second grade classroom with my mom, listening while she talked about being a writer to my class. Mostly I felt awkward because I sat there doing nothing while my class just stared at the two of us, but I remember being slightly nervous. I thought my mom and her job were so cool, and I wanted my classmates to think they were cool too. And they did, or at least didn’t act like stereotypical jerk kids. If they had, I probably would have felt a sense of shame, but I didn’t. That feeling of awe never really did go away, though obviously it has manifested into something different now that I’m older.
Overall, what has it been like growing up with a mom who’s a writer?
I don’t know, like growing up with any other mom? A good mom isn’t really defined by her job. Those with high-power jobs, like doctor or lawyer or CEO, they can have a more difficult job because they’re away from home so often and can’t give as much attention to their kids. Judging by the next question, I think the implication is that writers face that same challenge. But I honestly believe that if my mom had been a doctor or a lawyer, my childhood would have been pretty similar when it comes to my mother. She’s caring and attentive and has far too large of a guilt complex, and no matter her job, she would have made sure to be there for us in the same way she’d actually been.
I can’t tell if I actually answered the question. It was normal, growing up with a mom who’s a writer. Only it was extra special because my mom’s success is tangible and evident and can be physically flaunted in front of my peers’ faces. Not that I’ve ever actually done that. Yet.
Do you wish she had spent less time at her computer and more with you?
I think the better question for my family is does she wish we had spent less time on the computer and more with her. I simply jest.
Honestly, I think the only person it really bothers is her. She expresses her guilt all the time about how she’s always working downstairs in her writer’s cave of an office, how she never makes dinner or all that other “mom” cr**. My sister and I couldn’t care less about that kind of thing. She was always there for us when we wanted to talk to her, dutifully taking as much as an hour’s break to listen to me chatter away about things that really had no true point. I know my sister and I both, me especially, kind of appreciate needing to become self-sufficient. I will not be one of those yuppies next year in college who lives off of Ramen noodles and doesn’t know how to do laundry. And for that, I thank her. Besides, she cooks often enough that we all have favorite meals that she makes, and it’s not like she’ll say no (usually) if we ask her to make something special.
So, no, I don’t think I wish she had spent less time at her computer. I think everything worked its way out in the end.
What’s the worst part of having a mom who’s a writer?
Being the daughter of someone who is exactly like me.
What’s the best part of having a mom who’s a writer?
Being the daughter of someone who is exactly like me.
I hope Number One’s thoughts can serve to ease some of your minds. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to serve every need. The kids will grow up just fine.
And you’ll notice that she didn’t even mention a clean house!
Natalie J. Damschroder is an award-winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance—Love with a Shot of Adrenaline. She sold her first book in 1999, and 2013 will see the publication of her 14th novel. She grew up in Massachusetts and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing, revising, proofreading, or promoting her work, she does freelance editing and works part time as a chiropractic assistant. She and her husband have two daughters she’s dubbed “the anti-teenagers,” one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.) You can learn more about her and her books at http://www.nataliedamschroder.com.
Natalie’s next release is Heavy Metal, book 2 in the Goddesses Rising series, available for pre-order now. Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powell’s Books | iTunes/iBookstore | Goodreads Page