Be a Mom and Follow Your Dreams: Tips from Author of ‘Escape From Eden’

I just love author Elisa Nader. She’s a super-cool person, mom, writer and designer. I’ll just be honest, she was my student when I taught young adult novel writing in New York City. She was incredible then, and she’s incredible now. She just published her first YA book called, Escape from Eden

Kirkus practically raved about Elisa’s work: ”In a harrowing and often disturbing adventure, two teen members of an exploitative cult try fleeing to safety…Mia’s story is not for the faint of heart. Its rewards, however, are many: fast-moving action, a capable heroine and a resolution that leaves plenty of room for a sequel.”

Rock on, Elisa. She wrote a guest post for me about how to be a mom and follow your dreams–something she knows a lot about.

“My husband texts me a photo of my daughter on the National Mall playing frisbee, or watching a video art installation at the Hirschorn, or hiking over the Billie Goat Trail, or tubing in Harper’s Ferry.

And where am I?

At home. Writing a manuscript. Or working on grassroots book publicity. Or catching up on the hours of my day-job work I may have missed because I had to swap those hours during the week to write. Because I’m a writer. And a mother. And I have a full time job. (Let’s not even mention the household upkeep, because, come on. The laundry can wait. Isn’t that what the back-of-the-drawer underwear is for?)

Please, though, let me be clear: I’m not complaining about writing. I’m not performing life-saving brain surgery. I’m not cleaning muck from a Porta Potty (although, being a mother, I’ve come close). I’m not doing a job that’s a threat to my health (unless I go all Hemingway, or Plath, or Fitzgerald, or… crap. Never mind). I’m at a laptop, writing. The most dangerous threat to my health is carpal tunnel and sitter’s butt.

But parenthood is full of tough choices, we all know that. But there are times those choices feel selfish—especially when they don’t contribute to the family monetarily and, right now, my writing isn’t adding anything significant to our bank account.

When I left my corporate job in 2008, I promised myself I’d finally revive my writing after years of atrophy, or at least try. I wrote at all hours. Balancing writing and life was easy because I hadn’t found a new job yet, and my daughter attended preschool.

But it didn’t last long.

By the time I’d started a new full time job (one that required me to commute to New York City weekly), my brain was melting out of my ears trying to juggle work/home/family/writing. I knew I should have stopped the writing, it would have made everything easier, and I’d feel less guilt. But giving up on my dream to become a published writer felt wrong; felt like I’d be cheating myself and, somehow, my daughter, too.

Thankfully, I married a very supportive husband who will take our daughter somewhere exciting for an afternoon so I can write. So, maybe I’m not with them on every adventure. Maybe my writing career isn’t exactly lucrative. Maybe I forget more items on my to-do list than I remember. But maybe, when she’s old enough, my daughter will see that the moment you give up is the moment you’ve cheated yourself out of your dream.

I’ll never regret following my dreams–and I wish the same for my daughter.”

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