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Mom Musings: What I’ve Learned One Year Later

By Erin McCrea

A year ago, I started writing for The Sask Press. When I was asked what I would like to write about, I knew I wanted to tell my story as a mom. Being a mom is only one aspect of who I am, but I still wanted to share my “mom life”. I wanted to share my experiences as a first-time mom. I guess I’m no longer a first-time mom, as I now have a toddler, but every experience is still a first for me. My intention was to write about this journey from the very beginning to motherhood.

I’ve been writing for a long time. Writing is my passion, but this was still new to me. Writing for a brand new online magazine. Writing my own column. Writing about something I love. It was another way to follow my dream.

I planned out all the pieces I was going to write. I was going to start from pregnancy, move on to my birth story (and my son’s birth story), and then dive into learning how to live life with a newborn. I was going to keep writing about my life as a mom until I reached the toddler years. Essentially, this ensured I would never run out of things to talk about, as life with my son provides an endless source of writing material.

I learned many lessons this year. I learned a lot about my life. I learned a lot about my writing. I learned a lot about myself. I will never stop learning, and I thought I’d share some of the things that I see more clearly now. Not everything is specifically because of this column, but writing has helped me sort out my feelings; it has helped me continually be open to learning.

Just because you have a plan, doesn’t mean you have to follow it. I knew what the subject was going to be for every piece this year. I had it all written down (although, I have no idea where I wrote it down). I discussed it with our Sask Press editor, Casey. Luckily, we both adapted to new ideas. I followed my plan for two of my pieces. After that, I wrote about things that I needed to write about. It primarily fell under the Mom Musings Column, but not always in a straightforward order. It’s important to note that I enjoy adapting and changing things up. Will I ever get my entire chronological story written for the Sask Press? I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that I’m writing about what feels important to me.

My humour has finally come out in my writing. I know I’m a funny person. It sometimes comes out in sarcasm, and it sometimes comes out through jokes. I love laughing; I truly feel that laughing is what helps me get through the tough days. I grew up writing short stories and writing in a journal. I often wrote sad stories. My sadness was saved for my stories and my journal. There was a time when my sadness also came out in my real life as well, but it mostly came through my writing. It wasn’t until I started blogging and writing about my life as mom that I realized I could write about the fun things. I could make people laugh with my writing. I can take a completely frustrating moment, and make it funny now. I can thank my son for that. He knows humour is important, even at the age of three. Writing about life with him has truly brought out the playful nature in my writing, and I’m incredibly grateful for it.

Writing heals. I knew this already, but it’s been pretty obvious this year. I needed it. I wrote, and it helped. I’m not talking about just writing for this wonderful online magazine. I’m talking about writing for myself. I write in my journal. I write Instagram and Facebook posts. I write blogs. I write the truth about what I’m dealing with, and it helps me. It helps me heal. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have writing. It has saved my life many times.

I can see my goals more clearly. I know what I want, and instead of sitting around and waiting, I am actively working to reach my goals. I want to be a published author. I want to be a paid writer. I’m not there yet, but I am not giving up. I see what I want. I am on my way there. In the meantime, I will keep writing.

This year, I decided to write… and I’m so glad I did. A couple of years ago, I decided to write every day. I did. I wrote every day for 356 days. I wrote little things. I have a book of prompts. Not all of my writing will go anywhere, but I did it. Since I made myself do this, I’ve been a lot more consistent, although, I do miss a day occasionally now. This year wasn’t about writing every day. It was about writing for me. I have been writing about my life, and my hope is that it inspires somebody else. I hope it means something to somebody. This year, I decided to write about the things that hold meaning, and it’s meant everything to me.

Life is really hard. Shortly after The Sask Press launched, I lost a friend. It was not an easy loss. No loss is, but this one was awful. The phrase “with heavy hearts” has never rang more true. It was brutal; it was shocking. My pregnant friend was murdered by somebody she loved. This is not easy to write about, but I have written about it in one form or another over the course of this year because it has helped me through one of the hardest years of my life. I’ve dealt with grief before, but never to this extent. There have been times when I just wanted to curl up in my sadness and not face the world. I already knew life was hard, but this year I saw so many people deal with loss, sadness, and tragedy. I’ve seen people suffer through things that I cannot imagine having to deal with. Loss is a scary thing, and at some point everybody will have to deal with it.

There are two reasons I’ve been able to fight my way through it: my son and my writing. My son keeps me going. I can’t sink into a pile of grief because I have my son to take care of. I had trouble finding the light in the months after I found out about my friend, but my son has always been my light. He always will. As for my writing? As I said, writing heals. Writing is therapy for me. More than anything else, it has helped to write my truth. I’m still working through everything, but I’m dealing with it, and I refuse to keep anything in. Life can be incredibly difficult, but it also really beautiful. Life is tragic and fleeting, and it’s full of wonder and love. We get through it because that’s what we do. I’ve learned more than ever before that in order to get through the bad moments, you have to find the good.

The writing community in Saskatchewan is wonderful. As I get more serious about my writing, I find myself needing to connect and communicate with others in the same arena. I want to have a place to ask for advice when I need. I want to see others’ stories. Through social media, I’ve been able to join groups and experience first-hand the encouragement and help offered to others. I see the celebrations when people are journeying through great moments, and I see the compassionate words when others are struggling. Through this writing community, I met Casey Balon. I met her before this year, but I’ve learned so much about her while writing for The Sask Press. I have found a friend, and we share this amazing passion for writing. She’s trusted me with The Sask Press social media accounts, and I’m so happy I’m able to help with a project she is passionate about.

In the past year, I’ve become very passionate about it as well. I love writing for the online magazine, and I love sharing on the social media account. I’m so happy that Casey shared this with me. She’s helped me do something I love. I have connected and met with other writers because of The Sask Press. I’ve been opened up to this amazing world of writers and writing, and it’s been fantastic.

Being a Stay at Home Mom motivates me more to write. I hate being called a stay at home mom. I used to hate telling people I was a stay at home mom because it seemed like it carried such a stigma. I never imagined I would be home all day with my kid. I never imagined I wouldn’t be working outside of the home… and I never imagined I would love it so much. I never would have hit my writing goals if I wasn’t home. I have been given this gift of time with my son, and I am also lucky enough to be able to write from home. I get to be a stay at home writing momma. This is my life right now, and I’m so proud that I’m following through with it. It took me a while to figure out the balance, but I have found it, and I don’t take it for granted. If I don’t write, if I get lazy, or if I procrastinate, all I need to do is remind myself that this is my time to write. I am living my dream right now. I get to follow my dream, while hanging out with my kiddo and his dog… and that’s pretty amazing. I will continue to put pressure on myself because I have this amazing opportunity to write, and I won’t squander it.

I have anxiety. I have had anxiety since my late teens (at least), but I wasn’t able to recognize it until this year. This has been life changing. I’m now able to see what’s happening, and I’m able to do something about it. I’m not always able to stop my anxiety attacks, but I can recognize what is occurring. I know it is the anxiety that causes me to feel this way. It’s been a year of self-discovery, and one of my discoveries has included seeing my anxiety for what it is. I wish I had known what it was a long time ago, but I know now. I’m slowly learning how to deal with it all. I’m learning to take care of myself. My son deserves a healthy mom. This has been one of the biggest issues this year, and I’m happy I am learning more about this. Anxiety doesn’t define me; it certainly has helped to shape me.

I am a writer. I am a writer. I AM a writer! I remember a moment three years ago when a friend I had reconnected with said to me: “I should have guessed you’d end up being a writer!” This stopped me in my tracks. I automatically wanted to say, “I’m not a writer.” I was not being fair to myself. I’ve always been a writer. I knew that I wrote. I knew I had a passion for writing. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but for some reason was never able to call myself a writer. I now call myself a writer. I am a stay at home mom. I am a writer. I am me, and I’m so fortunate. I’ve also learned that it’s less important to be a writer, and more important to write.

I am so proud of this year of learning with The Sask Press. From the end of June until now, I have learned so much. I have seen so much. I have survived. I continue to change. Life continues to change. I continue to become better at my craft. I am gaining deeper insight into who I am and what I want in life. This will continue to take on new meaning as my story continues, but I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity that came during such a difficult year.

I look forward to many more contributions to The Sask Press.  

To read more of Erin’s work, you can visit her blog “Writing Momma Life,” her Instagram page “The Writing Momma Life,” & her Facebook page “The Writing Momma Life.”

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