Guest Post Katharine Grubb: How Motherhood Makes Me a Better Writer

Aug 6, 2011Family Uncaged, Write!

I am thankful to have Katharine Grubb here today writing about the connection of motherhood and writing.

I do not write in a remote cabin in the woods. I do not have a fancy office. I write around five passionate and very loud children. I’m a better writer for it. Here’s why:

There Is No Room For A Diva. As a result of my experience with public situations involving body fluids, I have low expectations of what others think of me. If I ever think that I’m hot stuff, my children remind me that I’m not. Because of this, I hope, I’m more approachable to others and not anywhere close to being a diva.

I’ve Simplified My Communications. I have to work hard to take grand ideas (like love or God) and re-sculpt them into my children’s brains. This is good for me. This will make me a strong writers.

I Understand the Game of Inches. I do a lot of the same work over and over, but the work is not futile. I gain ground that was not there yesterday, it’s just hard to see because I’m so close to it. Writing is the same way, especially for the writers of novels and books.

I Have A Built In Cheerleading Section. No one wants me to succeed more than my own family. (If I were a hermit, I would miss this the most.)

I Grow In Discipline. I have to ration out my time for laundry, meals and errands. This requires inner mental and emotional discipline and makes me all the more committed to my writing future.

I Am A Magnificent Problem Solver If I can divide three cookies for five children, if I can gather a consensus on what DVD to watch, if I can create a diaper out of paper towels and scotch tape, then I can solve the problems of my paragraphs, outlines and characters.

I Have the Privilege of Dying To Myself I was explaining seeds to my children and reading to them the words of Jesus in John 10:24 “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

I asked my then 9 year old daughter, what would happen if the very first wheat seed refused to die? There would be no wheat today. Or what about Mommy? What if I refused to lay down my life for you? What if I were selfish? Where would that put you, your brothers? Your sisters?

My daughter’s face lit up. “This means,” she said. “I’m really important.”

With all due respect to those authors who have unheated cabins in the woods, there is another type of writing life that can work too. Mine is loud, messy and smells suspicious.

I can certainly appreciate the effort and determination of being a full time writer, whose only concern is putting thoughts down, but that is not me.

And I’m glad.


Katharine Grubb sets her timer every ten minutes and goes between caring for her family and writing. It sounds crazy, but it works. She blogs about this at