My son is learning how to button his shirts.
For those of you who are still spending what feels like hours stuffing a squirming infant into clothing, this might sound amazing. How lucky! you might think, now that the task of dressing him is off my plate.
For those with children a little older than mine, you know how painful this stage actually is.
It takes him approximately three hours to button a single button. I had to literally sit on my hands the other night to stop myself from reaching out and doing it for him. I knew that it would take a fraction of the time if I did it, but I also knew that it is very important for him to learn.
To get to the glorious “can actually dress himself without help” stage, I need to sit patiently through this one. (Though I’m sure what’s actually waiting there is the “I told you fifteen times to put on your shoes!” stage)
How does this relate to writing? Well, the learning stage of any skill can be pretty painful and lasts for what seems like forever. You can see the other side so clearly in your mind, and every day it’s tiny bit better but you’re just… not… quite… there…
Moms are very patient. Writers are very patient. So writer moms pretty much win all the medals in the patience olympics.
It’s frustrating when you see others doing things you want to do. Releasing 10 books a year. Building a gigantic mailing list. Using Photoshop like a pro. You are so desperate for someone to jump in and do it for you, or some magic button that you push and everything gets done in an instant.
When those moments come in your writing life, use your mom life to help you out. Think back to when your kid was learning to button his shirt. Or learning to walk. Or learning to roll over. (Or, if they’re much older, learning to drive. Learning to play an instrument. Learning to ride a bike.)
You wanted to do it for them. It would have made things so much easier, so much faster, and everyone would have been happier, at least in that moment.
But your kids need to learn all of these skills to be successful. You can’t do it for them. And it’ll be painful, and slow, and others will do it faster and brag about it and make you want to scream.
If you need to scream, then scream. I almost did the other night, but instead I sat on my hands and used my writer patience in a mom moment (yes, it works both ways!). I remembered what my writing, and my website, and my newsletter looked like a year ago. I did things slowly at first, but I got better the more I did it. Some people showed me how, but they didn’t do it for me. I had to learn to do it on my own, and he will, too.
Patience, thy name is writer mom!