By Lisabet Sarai
I like to think that I can write on any topic. This week's subject, however, has me stymied. I'm completely unqualified to offer my opinions on "Writing and Parenting".
I'm in my fifties and have been married for more than twenty five years, but, by choice, I have no children. It's not that I don't like kids--I do. I get along really well with children, mostly because I have vivid memories of what childhood was like. I can still summon the excitement of a snow day, school being canceled, an unanticipated gift. I remember the games I used to play in the woods with my brother and the stories that I made up for my dolls. As I recall, though, my favorite dolls were teenagers or adults, not babies. My fantasies involved living in a "studio apartment" (whatever that was--it sounded exciting!) and having a job as a famous scientist, not feeding bottles and changing diapers.
Anyway, I don't regret being childless, although I sometimes think that it's a waste of excellent genetic material. My husband never wanted kids, and I had very little inclination in that direction either. We were rarely in a stable financial situation--we had boom years and bust years-- and I knew that to bring up a child, you need money that you can count on, for eighteen years at least. Both of us worked full time, and there was no way that we could afford day care or a nanny.
Still, lots of parents face financial obstacles but that doesn't dampen their desire for children. Sometimes I think I'm just lacking a maternal gene. Actually, neither of my siblings have children, either. Perhaps being childless runs in my family.
When I reflect on the question, I suspect that I would not have been a good mother. Overprotected myself, I've no doubt I would have treated my children the same way. Children have always seemed such fragile creatures. I worry so much about my husband and our cats (both of whom are more competent than the average two year old) -- I'm sure I would have driven my kids, and myself, crazy.
I know that I'm a rarity, in the romance world, at least. Practically every author I can think of is married with kids. All the other members of the Grip have at least one child, ranging from toddlers to teenagers. I don't know how they do it. I'm hugely impressed. No, awed.
Your kids have to come first. So how can you pursue a writing career with one or more little creatures demanding your attention? If your kids are older, how do you explain that you write stories that some people consider immoral or evil?
I suspect that I'll get the answers to these questions over the course of the week. As for me, I have the luxury of writing without sticky hands grabbing my skirt or rap music blaring from a teen's room over my head.
The only thing I have to worry about is cat fur on the keyboard.