Motherhood & Words

Well, I made it through the first week of full-time work last week, but by Friday afternoon, I was exhausted (and had officially developed a head cold). I really like the work (and my coworkers are lovely), but I did feel that pull back to my desk (when will I get any writing done?) and to the River Road (when will I walk?) and to my girls, my girls, my girls. The last has been the hardest. At 2:15 each day, I stare at my clock, knowing that Stella is walking back to my mom’s house from the bus stop, chattering away about her day. That is one of my favorite parts of my day–Stella in reporting mode, talking a mile a minute about everything that happened at school. I miss it!

I think Stella misses that time, as well. On Wednesday last week, she screamed, “I hate your new job! You wear make-up now and you don’t even look like my mom!” I nearly burst into tears. Later I asked her what I usually look like, and she said, “You wear sweatpants.” Oh yes. Did I mention that I miss my sweatpants, as well? 

I know (hope) it will get easier, even as I add my fall class to the mix this week. But I’m determined to get up at 5 a.m. to build a little writing and exercise time into the week. What do you think? Possible?

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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. Emma on September 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Oh, I feel for you! It's definitely possible. I, for one, can NOT get up at 5 a.m. these days, but I do manage to fit in some running and writing on top of a desk job. Not as much I'd like, of course.

    Too funny about the makeup and sweatpants!

  2. caro on September 26, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I am in a similar boat these days–looking at the prospect of 5am every time I try to reach for more writing time. I don't know if I can do it. Can we start a 5am club and egg each other on?

    (Congrats on your job, by the way–that sounds like a great place to work.)

  3. Patty on September 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Just today I was thinking about starting to force myself out of bed at -yes, 5 AM to find time to run again. Count me in for the 5 AM club. But let's not start until next week, I'm soooo tired!

  4. kate hopper on September 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Yes! Let's be a 5 a.m. club. (Emma you are excused for now, but I know you're writing…)

    My goal for this week is to just get up and take care of business-y stuff. Then next week I want to get a schedule of writing Mon, Wed, Fri and exercising Tues and Thurs. What do you say?

  5. Elizabeth on September 27, 2011 at 1:40 am

    It's just the hardest thing — to fit in exercise. I wish that I had done it more often and with more discipline earlier in my life because it only gets harder the older one gets (when you need it the most!).

  6. Jan on September 27, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Let me just put in a good word for the 5 am club. I did it for years (well, 5:15, really) so I could get in a 30 minute walk before starting the breakfast-lunch-school routine. Now I've nudged it to 5:30 because the kids' schedules have changed, but it's still the same: The thing that gets me out of bed every (dark cold) morning is how good I feel once I'm out there walking. By the time I've gone a half-block, my blood is flowing, my mind is starting to clear, and I feel way more awake (my eyes are usually open by then too!). It puts a whole new spin on the day.

    Good luck!

  7. Sarah on September 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Oh, Kate, that is a lot going on! Thinking of you and sending my very best wishes as you and your family all adapt to new routines! Step by step.