Today my little girl is eleven months old, and I have been on maternity leave for a whole year. A whole year! And I don’t go back to work until January. Woohoo!
I can still remember how I felt before I went on leave: I mean, all that time! How amazing! What an incredible opportunity to take a break from work and see whether this whole writing thing could be my primary career. Sure, I’ll have my new baby to look after, but babies sleep, right? I’ll have heaps of time to write. Other mums seem to manage it with no problems.
Let’s see. What’s a realistic writing goal for the year?
Well, while working full time in a demanding job, I write two books a year, so – how about three category romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon, and I’ll start working on that single title project I’ve had bubbling away for a while? Yes. That sounds doable. Maybe a little conservative, even.
So there you go – that was my plan. And how did it go?
- Number of books I planned to write in 2013: 4
- Number of books written in 2013: 0
Can you guess what actually happened?
Yes, that’s right. I had a baby.
I knew, logically, that nothing can prepare you for having your first child. But, well, knowing that and experiencing it are totally different things. Right from the actual giving birth bit (my reaction to that was simply - what the $#&@ just happened?!?) to everything else since was nothing like I expected. Instead it’s been wonderful, amazing, overwhelming - and yes, at times, incredibly hard. But as I’d expected? Not even close.
You know those writers that finish their revisions in hospital after giving birth? Or that write four books a year with four children under five? Well, I’m not that woman. I was the woman who on some days was pleased I accomplished having a shower. I’d heard of the “happy-I-had-a-shower” thing before, but I didn’t get it. How was it even possible? I mean, could you really be that disorganised?
Don’t worry, I get it now.
(Cringeworthy Leah fact: – I used to envy stay at home mums for all the time they must have to write. I’m saying that now very, very quietly).
So what is the purpose of this post? I don’t know. Maybe it’s for someone like me 18 months ago to stumble upon. Or maybe it’s to explain my total absence from this blog, my web site, Facebook, Twitter…
Also, I guess it’s a way to announce that I’m properly back. For the first time in forever, I’m thinking about my next story idea when I have a shower, rather than baby stuff. I’m having actual ideas again (I had begun to worry). I’ve even starting the opening chapter of my next book. When I think about writing I’m getting excited, rather than dismissive, or worse - stressed. And, most importantly, I’m getting some sleep.
I’ve had the most amazing year with my little girl, but now it’s time to be a mum AND write.
I can’t wait.