How to Write with a Clingy Baby

Another important topic I was asked about frequently as a new writer-mom was HOW TO WRITE WITH A CLINGY BABY!


I got some pretty earnest street cred on this: Little Man exclusively nursed, contact napped, and bedshared with me, so to say we are tightly bonded is an understatement. I didn't head out to a coffee shop to write by myself until he was about 10 months old! But by following the steps below, I was eventually able to leave him with his grandparents and go have a couple hours of uninterrupted writing time to myself! Here are some things that have helped me write while attached to him! 🧠 UNDERSTAND. A lot of my stress about "Why can't my baby just be chill without me?!" was soothed when I dove into the biology of the "why". Humans are "carry mammals", which means unlike, say, a deer, our milk is actually designed to sustain our babies for just a short while. They're wired to be on or near us at ALL times, even once they're weaned! They're also just human, and humans have bad days, hard nights, a need for reassurance that they're loved and cared for. Responsiveness actually teaches a baby that it's safe to be independent because you're watching over them. So clinginess isn't a bad thing, a problem with the baby or a reflection of you - even if it makes writing a challenge! ✌ ACCEPT. Clinging is a part of growing and its inevitable at some point or another, even in the chillest kids. Whether it's because of poor sleep, teething, sickness, WHATEVER, every writer-mom (and non-writer mom!) will encounter The Cling during their babies' lives. But it won't last forever! 📊 STRATEGIZE. You may have to be less leisurely and more strategic about your writing time for now. Block out time while kiddo is occupied by another person/activity to write, or if they cling whenever you're around, plan a time when you can leave them with another caretaker and write independently at least once a week! ▶️ PRACTICE. If kiddo is a little older, try practicing play + writing time. Take increments where they play nearby and you write, even just 60 seconds...then slowly extend. Make sure to praise them for spending even just a couple minutes playing while you write! You can also have special activities, toys and books set aside for this, or even "together" writing time where they write while you write and then get to read you their story! This makes writing time something they look forward to and can help it still feel like "together" time.

💪ADAPT. Your little may have a great independent day one day and cling like a barnacle the next! Don't put pressure on either of you to have a controlled, predictable writing schedule. Also, keep options open to write on the fly - during a car or contact nap, if baby suddenly decides they want to play independently, etc! Set yourself up for success on those occasions with tools at hand!

👁 KEEP PERSPECTIVE. Someday your kiddo will crave their independence (another biological need!) and you'll have more structure to your writing routine. In the meantime, look for places you may be able to trim down time on other things - even the sacred sleep! ;) - for a few minutes of writing here and there!

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