The Moms like to write. Duh. But how does writing help in the parenting department?
Confession time: I babble when nervous. Gaps in conversation make me uncomfortable and as a result, I prattle. On and on until I can extract myself from the situation. I will change the subject six or seven times, pepper people with inane questions, or blurt out something marginally inappropriate and usually profane.
While I am perfectly content with silence (oh, hell, I CRAVE it, who are we kidding?) when alone or with a few carefully selected friends, larger groups of people or social events cause me to quake with fear on the inside. Numerous times during these interactions I find myself thinking, “Couldn’t I just write you all an email?”
Introverts like to write. It is easy to see why: writing allows time to process and construct responses and to reflect upon the interaction itself and any resulting feelings or ideas. For me writing is a quiet, solitary activity. Writing also serves as an ordering exercise and allows for the mental arrangement of a tiny portion of the endless stimuli with which I am bombarded. It can take the form of a simple list to a free-form exercise describing the overwhelmingness of everyday life or how happy a pair of well-fitting pants makes me feel. These things, in aggregate, calm me down and permit a return to center, if you will. Oh, the power of a blank piece of paper and a pencil.
And believe it or not, I think an affinity for writing makes me a better mom. Obviously there are many, many situations with small children that do not allow time to formulate a considered response (example: Señor Lunchbox. Every. Damn. Day.). As Princess Slim has matured, however, we’ve had some great conversations during which I’ve been able to offer more considered and thoughtful responses to the changing nature of her questions. Writing has undoubtedly trained me to think this way.
I hope writing will bolster our mother-daughter relationship during the tumultuous teen years when she hates me and doesn’t want to acknowledge my existence. That can all be fixed with a funny note or email, right?
Poking my head in after a week away at a writing workshop to say I AGREE, both on the importance of writing for introverts and the sad lack of opportunities to gather one’s thoughts while wrangling little kids. One of the toughest things for me as a parent is having to fly by the seat of my pants so often.
But, like Tiffany, I hope that will change as Doodlebug gets older. Long ago I wrote down the title of this book, a journal for moms and daughters to write together. It looks like it’s aimed at tweens, and I think it will be great to have not only a place where we can “talk” without being face to face but also a method of communication that will allow me to marshal my thoughts and my reasoning ahead of time.
You wouldn’t even have to use a true diary, any notebook would do. And Doodlebug and I both looooove pretty notebooks. I might just have to raid my stash and get us started sooner rather than later. Maybe today!