Why I Write

By Diane Stark

“Mom, I’m hungry,” says a child who got up from the dinner table precisely 16 minutes ago.

“You can’t be hungry. You just ate,” mutters the overworked, overtired mother of five.

“But I am hungry,” the aforementioned child insists.

“New rule,” says Mom of Five. “You are not allowed to be hungry again until I’ve managed to clean up the mess from the last time you ate.”

The child pulls a face, designed to let Mom know she doesn’t like the new rule. Then she stomps off and calls to her siblings, “Don’t even ask Mom for a snack unless you want to get stuck washing dishes!”

And later that same day, or possibly a different day, because let’s be honest, they all run together, Mom of Five hears a desperate call from the bathroom. Is someone sick? Or out of TP? No, it’s nothing quite so urgent.

A child, who changed her outfit at least four times that day, wants to inform Mom that the hamper is overflowing.

“It can’t be – I did laundry all day yesterday,” Mom says with a sigh.

“Well, it is. It’s full of my shirt that got chocolate on it, and my pants that I was wearing when I sat in the mud, and my outfit that felt too itchy to wear,” the child explains.

Mom of Five sighs again. “All right, I’ll take care of it. Again.”

And you can see why all the days start to feel the same.

As you may have guessed, I am Mom of Five. My oldest son just got his learner’s permit last week. My youngest is in the throes of potty training. There’s another boy and two girls in between. We’ve got a teen, a couple of tweens, a grade-schooler who thinks she’s a teen and a toddler. Our kids cover the parenting gamut, and while I love them, these babies of mine keep me hopping.

Between volleyball games, baseball practices, dance recitals, long drives just to practice driving, and many, many trips to the potty, this Mom of Five hardly has a minute at home. We’re an on-the-go bunch, and I like it that way.

Because when I’m out with the kids, I’m Somebody’s Mom. But when we’re at home, sometimes I just feel like Everybody’s Maid.

Yes, my days run together in a flurry of cooking, cleaning and laundry. Sometimes my life feels like a ride on a merry-go-round. I wash the same clothes and mop the same floors, but nothing ever really gets done. Beds don’t stay made and tummies don’t stay full. And the dirty laundry seems to multiply overnight.

Nothing I do ever seems to last. My kids can un-do hours of work in just moments – and they often do. Clean house? Not for long. Full refrigerator? Look again. Empty laundry hampers? Yeah, for about an hour.

And that’s exactly why I write. I write because no one can un-do what I’ve done. If I write a story on Monday, it’ll still be there on Tuesday morning – unlike those seven loads of clothes I spent all day washing. My writing is just mine. It’s spill-proof, whine-free and completely off-limits to my lovable little mess-makers.

Best of all, it makes me feel alive and useful and intelligent. I love my life, and I love being a stay-at-home mom, but let’s get real. Reading the same Thomas the Train book 27 times in the same day is not the most intellectually stimulating way to spend an afternoon.

But writing, creating something from nothing more than your own thoughts and experiences – now that’s something to get excited about. When I write, I feel like I am doing what I was made to do. Writing is my reward for all of the other stuff I do.

I spend a lot of my time taking care of the people I love. My writing is the one thing I do just for me.

I hope that all of the little things I do for my kids will be remembered as they grow up. I hope they’ll remember that I spent my days sitting in bleachers, yelling their names. I made time to cook their favorite foods, wash their favorite jeans and read them their favorite stories. I tried hard to make sure that what was important to them became important to me too.

I hope they’ll remember because these things are how I show my children how very loved they are. When I make time for them, I am investing in their futures.

And when I write, I am investing in mine.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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