Motherhood & Words

I’ve hit a wall. The early mornings, the rushing, the gazillion things on my to do list that I never have time to get to are taking their toll. I said to Donny this morning, “Can’t we just move to Barcelona?” This has actually become a joke between us—I’ve asked it a hundred times over the last year when stress threatens to get the better of me.

I know that moving to Barcelona wouldn’t solve all our problems, but it would provide a distraction from them, no?

And really, I don’t want to move—not yet anyway. There is a lot going on, yes. But so much of it is really wonderful. The reading last week was fabulous. I’m so grateful to Jill Christman and Sonya Huber for flying into town for the event. And I’m grateful to all of you who made it down to Open Book. Sonya read a hilarious piece titled “Breast is Best” and Jill read her equally hilarious “Weaning Ella.” I was sandwiched in between with a more serious section from my memoir. (If you missed the reading you can listen online. It will be the 100th podcast on Mom Enough. I’ll post a link when it’s live in a couple of weeks.)

Another good thing: Teaching. I love Tuesday mornings, when I don’t have to rush straight to the office. Instead, I have an hour to sit and write before spending two delightful hours with a truly inspiring group of mother writers. What could be better?

But over the last month and a half as I tried to juggle full-time work with family and my writing career, I realized that it’s not motherhood and writing that are difficult to manage (as it sometimes seemed in the past); it is full-time work and writing that are at odds. Even if I get up at 5 am, as I’ve been doing most weekdays, I have so much other work do to during that hour that I never get to my own writing.

Wait. I’ve just looked at what I’ve written, and I’m shaking my head. WTH? “Stop complaining, Ms. Hopper. You’re lucky to have a job. Pull yourself together.”

Alright. Okay. I’m done. I promise. I’ll recalibrate and be back soon.
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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. S.Wells on October 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I totally hear you on this. It's hard not to whine and complain, especially when you have an idea tickling the back of your throat and all you want is a second to clear it out but NO, there's no time! I like busy, and how it forces me to use what little time I can find to write concisely, and to do a lot of the work in my head and heart before I hit the page, but still. Come on. Is 25 hours in a day really that much to ask?

  2. Andrea on October 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

    What did Alexander's mother say? "Some days are like that, even in Barcelona"? I know what you mean, though–it's hard enough managing work + kids + household (cause that doesn't go away, does it?), to add in writing too sometimes feels too hard. Can I run away with you?

  3. Sara on October 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    5 AM was the one time I let myself have to not do all the other things that needed doing (laundry, dishes, bill, cleaning . . . ), but of late the baby has been waking up around 4 when my brain just doesn't work and falling back asleep with me. I kind of miss our quiet mornings together with her playing and me drinking coffee and writing, but I kind of like the morning snuggle too.

    I'm currently trying to mix parenthood and parttime/flexible freelance work and (writing and crafts and running) and they just don't seem to mix. I can't imagine full time job in there. Hope you find the right balance for you.

  4. Elizabeth on October 19, 2011 at 12:59 am

    I'll complain, then, for you. I miss you since you've begun working full-time. I miss your writing here.

    So there.

  5. cath c on October 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    no worries, we all get it, right?

  6. kate hopper on October 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Sarah, I love the way you said that being busy forces you to do a lot of the writing work in your head and heart "before you hit the page." I think that actually does work, though I need more folding laundry-type work to let my mind wander. Right now I don't even have that dream time. Soon? Maybe?

    Andrea, this cracked me up. How could I have forgotten Alexander?

    Sara, I can't pass up the morning snuggle either. I hope you find balance, as well!

    Elizabeth, I love being missed! I miss you too! So there!

    Cath, exactly.

  7. Carlie on November 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm


    Your new site looks great and I will continue to read, well done…I’ve resurrected mine as well after a year’s hiatus, good to get the blogging juices flowing again.

    Happy writing when you can,

    p.s. Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?

    • Kate on November 3, 2011 at 9:17 am

      Thank you, Carlie! I’ll have to check out your site again, too. Glad that you’re back at it!

      I’ve never done NaNoWritMo, and I know I can’t fit it in this year. Maybe 2012?