Today, my daughter-in-law ends her maternity leave and goes back to work. Her official work is in a workplace outside the home, although she brings home plenty of work, too. To support my addiction to writing, I made sure I had “a job” outside the home as well and have done that all my life–kid in day care, separation anxiety, and all of that as my kid grew up.
For many writers, writing at home is where it’s at, and you can read many articles about the right “place” to work, how it should be configured, what time(s) of day are best for writing, but the question remains: what to do with the kid(s)?
I read or hear about women who wait for their kids to be in bed to find some time to write. That’s dedication. Especially when the kids are little, Mom needs to sleep when the kids sleep, if she can. Otherwise, exhaustion wins. Writing late at night, early in the morning, when the kids are napping–if you’re a Mom who does that, I admire you. I could never do it, or, perhaps I should say, I could never do it well. I’ve been known to fall asleep over my computer keyboard. Now there’s a facial imprint. Fortunately, it fades and your face goes back to normal.
What we need is proper support for working parents (yes, Dads, too), whether they work in a workplace or at home. Few writing Moms can afford day care to enable them to return home to write. Income, if any, is generally minimal at best. Yet, in what is still the richest country in the world, social support for child care is sorely lacking. The feminist movement of the late 60s and early 70s was unable to secure ERA or federally-funded child care or any of the social needs of the bulk of the populace.
When will we wake up and realize that social services are not a bad intervention of our government, but exactly what governments are in place to do–provide the best possible options for the majority of citizens they presumably serve?
This question may sound far away from the writing life, but it could be at the core of a writer’s life and enable some talented writer somewhere to complete a work that changes our lives.