When my four-and-a-half-year-old son was a newborn, I remember my best friend asking me how I felt being a new mom. She asked if I thought it would interfere in my career. I think she was trying to find out if I was having postpartum depression.
I told her that having my beautiful son made me want to be the best person I could be and I had to pursue my dreams so he would learn to pursue his. I spoke the truth and I feel the same way now. But the difficulty often lies between the theoretical and the practical.
I have wanted to be a writer since I was in junior high. For my seventh grade English class, I wrote a dramatic tale about two lost children trying to find their way home. They meet many different people and animals along the way. My teacher even said I should try to get it published. I never did send it out but I knew then that writing was my passion.
In college I studied sociology and child development instead of English or journalism. I still wrote, filling up many tattered notebooks. But I just didn’t have the confidence to show other people my stories. Writing was the one thing I wanted to do and if I failed at that where would I be? So I just wouldn’t try…great logic I know.
By lucky circumstance, I got a job at a daily newspaper as a news assistant. I thought that I would just be writing calendar listings and sorting mail. One day the religion reporter said, “Georgia, will you cover this story for me.” And that was it. Soon I was writing almost 100% of the time. I started to pitch my own stories, even series of stories. I wrote a weekly entertainment column. I was a writer. I may not have been getting paid much and my title wasn’t “reporter.” But I was really a writer.
After working at the paper for a year I moved to Colorado with my then fiancé. Within a year I was married and pregnant. I got an office job at the local hospital. My own lack of self-confidence kept me from looking for a writing job. I guess that is why my friend asked me those questions.
I now live in a suburb of Chicago and I have found my way back to writing. I was a staff writer for a weekly newspaper based in the South Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park, where President Obama lived before moving to Washington. I have even co-authored a book, it happens to only be printed in Japan…but hey it is a book. I decided to quit the newspaper job because it required being away from home many nights and weekends. I’m now trying to make a go of freelance writing.
Motherhood, I guess it’s about trying to be that “best person” while still having time to pick your son up after a fall, or taking time to play in the snow or watch another episode of Spiderman. The dirty laundry often trumps sending out brilliantly worded query letters, and it is near impossible to fit in that workout at the gym.
But hey, at least I can say with confidence now I’m a writer.