It's been a long time between books. My last one came out nine years ago - and was in a different time of my life However, when I announced to my children that I was thinking about writing another book - they turned to my husband (who wasn't around for the first 27!) and said "DO NOT LET HER" I listened to them for about six months - my children and my husband are very important to me, and I agree the old writing me wasn't great at fitting other things in. My old writing style went like this:
- Get a book contract
- Plan out the book
- Sit on the information and collect ideas for five months
- Spend a lot of time thinking about how cool it was to be writing a book
- Madly hope the writing bug was going to hit at some point
- Discover it a month out from the deadline
- Madly write 20 hours a day in the last month before the due date, forgoing interaction with children, sleep, proper meals, and any form of adulthood.
- Collapse in a stressed-out heap on deadline day
- Swear I'd never do it again
So really, I understood my children's feelings on the matter. They'd lived through my single focused moments of less than ideal mothering, and it wasn't something they wanted to repeat I did consider a few options - go rent a house in the country and write for two weeks away from everyone. Maybe just wait until they all moved out? But the book has been stirring in me - and when it finally shaped into something with a title and a plan I knew I had to just get it done I'm now halfway into writing my new book "The Working Mother's Confessional" - a story and "you can" book for working mothers everywhere I've had to change the way I write to make it work with my family (the irony of having to do this with a book about working mothers is not lost on me!) This time I'm pacing myself - I aim to write one thousand words a day. I flick between the unbearable pleasure of knowing it's coming every day, and the fear I'm going to sit down and nothing will flow. So far so good! I'm pretty sure I'm self-publishing this one - I've not scouted around publishers this time. It's been the most incredible feeling to be writing a book again after such a big break from the last ones - and I'm very much looking forward to having a book with Rachel Klaver as the author instead of Rachel Goodchild - new beginnings, new ways of doing it, and new subject material! Here's a brief excerpt from the book so far..:the Introduction bit about why I'm writing this book Three things made me want to write this book.
- I wrote a blog post called Why Being a Working Mother of Children under Five Essentially Sucksand posted on Linkedin
After a few months around five hundred people had read it, which was ok. Then one person read it and shared it, and it went off. For months more people would share it, comment on it and ask friends to read it. Thousands of people have read it. I could see there was a huge need for women who had young children to know there was a light on the other side of the struggles of the first few years.
- I got a call from one of our clients. We talked business, and then she asked me for some advice on helping her baby stabilise her feeding patterns. It reminded me how isolating it is to be a mum who works - we often miss out on all the Plunket and other mother’s groups as they are during the day. We have to choose between online mother’s groups and business ones if we are time poor. And we often miss out on the casual catch up friendships and support mothers who don’t work can access. And there is this weird swing from personal to professional often with our other working parents. Both are important. But we often feel the need to apologise for the parts that are not solely work-related.
Being a mother is an incredible experience. But it’s also often an isolating one, even at the best of times.
- My business changed from one where everyone was a mother (and so the culture became a very family centric, family focussed one, with flexible hours and all of them part-time or on contracts) to a business where everyone is full time, and work in-house and no one has children (yet.) And yet - at some point, all my staff are likely to have children - and so this is many ways, is my very long letter to them with all my tips, tricks and understanding so that they’ve got something for them to use when that time comes. I’ve worked in both very supportive environments for working parents and ones where I felt anxious and stressed and tried to hide the fact I was a mother in case it was held against me.
This book is written especially for those of you who are working mothers or want to understand a little more about what working mothers struggle with. I’ve been one of you since my first child was four and a half months old, and I’m still there with them all as teens. Is this a how-to book? I don’t think so. It’s more of a “You can” book - you can do all the things. You can love both your family and your work. You can let go of guilt. You can put yourself first without letting the family or work suffer. You can, you can, you can do it. It’s also my personal “Survival manual” - I made it this far. And my children are quirky. I’ll admit that. They’d admit it too! But they are also incredibly independent, capable, clever, forthright, and they are turning out ok. Their working mother didn’t break them. They are ok. My deal with my family is this:I’m allowed to write this book if
- I stay a nice person through it
- I remember that we need to eat more than tinned food for dinner every night
- I make sure I tell you all how incredible my children are, and how lucky I am to have them all.
I’m good with that(and my children are incredible and I’m lucky to have them all. Same goes for my husband who is the best stepfather any of us could have ever believed existed. It’s very true that we forget you weren’t there from the start all the time! Thank you guys for giving me the time to write this!)