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Bad Mommy Bad Writer 

Examining the messy path of building a career while staying home with the kids

The pandemic made working from home while caring for small children all too real for many parents. Growing a career alongside the kids is at times impossibly difficult, positively hilarious and just rewarding enough to keep anyone from walking out on the job.

Are you a parent immersed in the double-duty of working alongside your children? A hilarious and inspiring memoir released this summer shares the heartaches and journey of spending most days trapped under a pile of plastic princesses or scraping peanut butter off the wall. Bend author Kim Cooper Findling's "Bad Mommy Bad Writer: Writing From Home While Keeping the Kids Alive" follows one woman's quest to make something of herself—during naptime.

COURTESY KIM COOPER FINDLING
  • Courtesy Kim Cooper Findling

"Bad Mommy Bad Writer" is a story of having it all: of going hard after your dreams while keeping a sharp eye on job number one—those precious darlings who really could care less about your deadlines.

Check out a few of our favorites from "Bad Mommy Bad Writer."

Bad Mommy

Last Wednesday, I sat with a cup of coffee in front of my computer at 6:30 a.m., trying to come-to after a sleepless night. I was wrangling edits for my book-in-process, already lost in thoughts of the narrative, the perfect turn of phrase. All else had faded away.

Suddenly Chicken Noodle burst in, arms aloft, and declared with delight, "Everything's better, Mommy!"

About what happened next, Noodle later recalled, "Mommy went"—palms to face, mouth open, sharp intake of breath—"Then she cried."

Because everything wasn't "better." Not unless you think two children who have cut their own hair to the scalp is "better."

Noodle's happiness crumbled in light of my tears. "Stop crying, Mommy! I'll never do it again!"

click to enlarge COURTESY KIM COOPER FINDLING
  • Courtesy Kim Cooper Findling

But after a half-hour, when I was still blubbering like a soggy idiot, Noodle went all eye-roll: "Mom, are you ever going to stop crying? Like, by ten?"

I couldn't stop. I wasn't crying out of vanity because their school photos were ruined, even though they were. I wasn't crying because they could have lost an eye, even though they could have. I wasn't crying because I left the scissors out, even though god dammit, ya moron!

I was crying because this little DIY haircut session was a direct shot to the heart, illuminating in full living color my primary, daily struggle: my work vs. my children. Or put more succinctly: self vs. family.

My writing life lives in the same house as my family life. It's like having two lovers. The problem with two lovers is that one of them is usually neglected. I steal a few moments for Lover A and Lover B slashes her hair off in jealous agony.

When I finally got my sister on the phone an hour later (yep, still crying), she laughed. "Almost every kid does this." I continued to sob, insisting on my singular ineptitude and unparalleled selfishness.

"Seriously," she finally said. "When is this going to be funny?"

I sniffled. "Maybe next week?"

Here I am in next week, groping for the humor and self-forgiveness. As well as being practical. It is not possible for me to monitor every moment of my children's lives for the next eighteen years. We must sometimes be apart. I am banking this will build autonomy and confidence for all. Noodle and Little are growing up alongside my writing career. Both deserve my attention, and both may be better for the other in the long run.

Still, I am not an idiot. I hid the scissors.

By the way, the reason Noodle declared that everything was "better" after having removed her bangs? "Now I can see my forehead like you, Mom."

Let that be the final word on the subject: As long as my oldest daughter desires to emulate me, I must be doing something right.

Things I Learned This Week

If your child poops on the booth seat in a restaurant, you will feel obliged to leave an extra-large tip.

When, at the grocery store, you consider buying sleeping pills for your two-year-old who seems determined to rise at four a.m. every morning until the end of time, you must forgive yourself for your bad mommy thoughts, and when you do go ahead and buy Benadryl, vodka, children's Tylenol, melatonin, wine, teething tabs and cocktail mixers, you remind yourself gently the important thing to remember as a parent is simply who to drug, with what, and when.

Good Advice

Chicken Noodle: "Mom you should write a practice book, and then if you mess up you can start fresh on a new page."

Tiny Witness

Chicken Little: "Mom, remember when you crashed into that car?"

Me: "Yes, Boo, I remember."

Little: "You need to watch where you are going."

Find "Bad Mommy Bad Writer" online and at local bookstores. See kimcooperfindling.com and dancingmoonpress.com for more.

About The Author

Angela Switzer

One of the original members of the Source team, Angela remembers the days of ringing fax machines and crying babies when the newspaper operated out of her home. She loves all things outdoors, especially mountain biking with hubby, trail running and cooking gourmet meals, while camping in her beloved Eurovan. Her...
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