Sometimes Writer Moms Need to Vent!

Fact:  It is damned hard to be a writer and a mom.  Yes, it’s hard to be anything else and a writer. I get this.

We are an easily distracted lot.

I understand I have to make time.  I do make time.  But yes, there are days when I just want to pull my hair out.    

I thought it was rough when they were little and got into things–when my thirteen month old son pulled a nightly Houdini–never making a sound or uttering a word.  I didn’t sleep for two years with him.  I ended up taking a break from writing about then because I had a job as well.


The child didn’t talk for a long, long time, but he could skulk around the house, in the dark, while silently taking apart the dishwasher or removing every single screw in the living room furniture.  He seemed to find screwdrivers no matter where we put them. 

He would build his own versions of ladders and I’d find him on top of shelves, just sitting and smiling at me.  He’d construct elaborate working draw bridges, leaving trails of evil Legos waiting for that groggy, early morning stumble…

We actually had to build up the sides of his baby bed four times until we found a level he couldn’t circumnavigate– that was still safe!  Everyone thought it was riot that I had to unlatch the sides to get him in and out, but they weren’t there for the time he was fourteen months and it was three a.m and he’d pried off the electrical outlet covers with a screwdriver– then explored the little hole–just as I came around the corner and dove for him. 

When he finally talked, it was in mostly sentences like he’d been doing it all along and then he read so very early.  He can still read like a dream.  I watched him fly through a huge book and ace a reading test recently.

But kids basically trade one set of difficulties for others as they get older.  And there is something that happens around the fourth grade. 

It.  Is.  Not.  Fun. 

Today, I needed to hit a major word count.  Instead, I’ve been dealing with school work and behavior issues and it’s not only with my fourth grader but my fifteen-year old daughter, too.  I’m exhausted and so very disappointed that I can’t find a solution here. 

How do you make a nine-year old boy CARE about his work?  He’s so freaking smart his teachers are constantly frustrated.  They tell me he could ace anything if he just cared.  We’ve tried putting him in enrichment to stimulate his mind and interest.  We’ve tried keeping him busy with the one thing he loves-science.  He has a 97% in that subject.  (I can’t even begin to go into all the details of the experiments that started so, so early… but let’s just say he’s very interested in how different things freeze… nothing alive, don’t worry–just toys, liquids, dirt.)

He’ll come home and tell me with a big smile he met his reading goal and we’ll celebrate and then the teacher will say, yes, but it was with a lot of bad scores because he reads only enough to pass and get the points.  Agh!  I have to actually WATCH him read or he won’t do it.

So, I live in a house where kids are grounded like 80 percent of the time and I’m sure all the neighborhood moms with kids I turn away at the door, think I’m the meanest lady on the block. 

My children don’t realize how sad grounding them makes me.  I don’t like it when they’re upset, but I like it even less that they won’t at least try and pull their weight.

Yes, this is a blog about writing.  But writing requires brain function and when you have two page emails coming from teachers and then catch your other kid breaking rules and can’t sleep at night because you need to make sure one or the other hasn’t snuck into the family room for phone or TV… 

And they are sweet and loving kids.  They don’t pop off with attitude and they’re always doing nice things for me–hug me several times a day.  I am told “I love you” every single day without fail and if I get into an argument with my daughter, she’s searching me out in less than an hour with an apology.

They just don’t care about their grades.  I don’t get that.  I sweated Bs because I was a perfectionist.  And even when I went through my boy-crazy time, I still cared about my grades.

I’m sharing because I’d like to hear from other writer parents with kids my age or older who have maybe gone through this.  Did you find something that worked???


About Rinda Elliott

Writer.I love unusual stories and credit growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept us amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, I tried to separate my darker side with my humorous and romantic one. I published short fiction, but things really started happening when I gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, I love making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with my husband and two children. I’m represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
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8 Responses to Sometimes Writer Moms Need to Vent!

  1. I didn’t stress about my grades until I had something I cared about that my grades impacted. Like Drama. Couldn’t compete with crappy grades. I had to cheat in Math class to get a D or a C. But I had discalculia and didn’t know it.

    My husband is really smart (like your son) and he received below average grades because he was bored. He did enough to get by. But he made one of the highest scores on the SAT in our school.

    My kids are still young enough that I’m not really going through this yet. Sorry that you are. 😦

    Your boy sounds like he’ll be highly employable with that inquisitive mind of his. Engineer, maybe?

  2. relliott4 says:

    His nickname in pre-school was little engineer. This for the lego creations and for devising an escape plan for all the children too small to reach over the half door to the knob on the other side. He also picked a lock on the pre-school cabinet before he was two.

    I’d rather he be an engineer over a thief.

    My son is bored. He hates school. He’s even told teachers he didn’t need to do the work because he already understood it.

    Heather, I actually miss the young stuff. It was more fun to deal with this stuff when teachers weren’t involved.

  3. relliott4 says:

    Heather, can you email me some sites on Discalculia? While my son just doesn’t want to do the work, my daughter tries and tries and tries. She’s miserable in math. Studies for days and thinks she’s passed a test only to jump online to check at home and burst into tears over another failing grade. I try to help her and it seems she just can’t understand.

  4. I wish I had some advice for you, but I don’t. And it probably doesn’t help to know that I’d be just as frustrated in your situation.

    I’m sorry.

  5. X. Dell says:

    Actually, as one who has taught many years, I have developed a tremendous respect for students who don’t care about grades.

    Your son sounds like he’s underchallenged though. From your description, I think he might be gifted, which means he needs special curricula that your school system might not have the wherewithal to design. At some point though, he’ll have to find some challenge, or else he’ll get bored and stagnate. If you and/or his teachers put your heads together, you might be able to come up with somethin that will help.

  6. relliott4 says:

    I wish the teachers felt as you do, X.

    They do start out saying he’s underchallenged. He had the best first grade teacher. She took me aside and explained that his mind worked fast and he was easily bored, so she gave him things to do that he’d like. Science things.

    I understand most teachers don’t have time for this, though. And his teachers this year are really trying to work with me. I’m sure they get fed up with the trouble he causes.

    I also understand that my son needs to at least try. I have him in other activities to try and help. I used to think video games were a great challenge, but he can beat a 60 dollar game in just a few days and that’s with me making him stop to play outside, eat and sleep, too.

  7. Rosie Watson says:

    Very cool design! Useful information. Go on!

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