Motherhood & Words

The summer heat that browned the edges of our Hostas and killed our grass has suddenly disappeared, and the air is fresh, crisp, for the first time in months. It smells like new beginnings outside, which seems fitting because today is my first day home as part of my new truncated workweek.

This morning, Aguita pulled me out the door into the cool air, still damp from the night rains, and I took a deep breath, filled with possibility and relief. Relief that I wouldn’t have to rush to the office after dropping Zoë at preschool, relief that I would have a day—a whole day—to dedicate to teaching and writing and catching up on tasks that have long been neglected.

I began working full-time exactly a year ago. I needed a full-time salary, and I ended up enjoying both my work and my coworkers. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain that kind of schedule, not if I wanted to write and teach and spend time with my family—the things I most love.

When my position was cut to half time, my initial reaction was panic (How will we afford childcare? Pay all our bills? Save for college?), but relief quickly followed, and I figured out that the new schedule would allow me to have one full day for my own work and one full day to spend with Zoë. I would also be able to pick Stella up at the bus stop two days a week, something I’ve really missed over the last year. There is nothing like seeing my big girl bound down the steps of her school bus, smiling that wide smile, bursting with details of her day. (When I was working full-time, I only got the 5:30 version of her: tired and sometimes cranky, the enthusiasm of the day already having leaked out of her.) I can’t wait to have that uninterrupted hour with her on Thursdays before we go to pick up little Z from school.

This morning after I dropped off Zoë, I picked up a cup of coffee and drove home, where I settled in to my tiny office and opened my laptop to dive into responses and writing from my new group of Motherhood & Words students. It’s been a year and a half since I taught this class online, and I love it. LOVE IT! What a wonderful and talented group of women. I know that their lives and words will nourish me this fall.

Now the sky has cleared, but there is still a crispness in the air. Soon I’ll head out the door to take Aguita for a long walk, and I’ll breathe deeply, appreciating this gift of time that has been returned to me. I promise I won’t take it for granted. (And I promise that I’ll catch up on all of the reviews and interviews that I have been meaning to post for months.)

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you can carve out a little time for yourselves today, as well!

Posted in


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. KayK on September 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Kate – sigh – there are so many nights that our family gets each other at their worst. The end of the day. So happy for you that you have this time again. There is so much value in that.

  2. Andrea on September 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Sounds lovely…this morning I was on kid duty, and after they left, I dragged my feet a long time, thinking, “what if I just didn’t go to work at all…” The thought was delicious. Enjoy your newfound you time!

  3. Sara on September 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    September continues to be a time of fresh starts and new beginnings for me both because of the shift of seasons and the energy that comes with it and because of long-forged connections to the school schedule.

    I half regretted the play date I had this morning which took place during my work/writing time (and I still separate them in my head), but I enjoyed the play date and managed to squeeze in half an hour of writing at lunch time. Maybe just maybe I’m not too wiped out to do a little more this evening. The class is energizing me and helping me justify (to myself) the time for writing.

    Enjoy your new time, Kate.