Guest post by Amanda Green: Finding your voice
Maybe you didn’t even know it was lost, but it’s certainly easy enough to misplace a key bit of your identity in the chaos of juggling parenthood and career. But it’s still there, somewhere, buried under a pile of laundry or tucked away inside a file – whatever it is that makes you you.
What was it that made you feel complete before the demands of bosses and babies got in the way? Swimming or singing? Dancing or drawing? For me it was words: having the time to indulge my imagination by making up stories, a flow of words inside my head that was pushed aside once being a mother took up all my waking thoughts. It never really went away though, and I knew that I needed it.
I found there were opportunities, snatched moments here and there, if I could just be ready for them. A solo train journey got me started, when I found myself scribbling like a madwoman on a paper napkin, a magazine and even the tickets. Then I discovered the power of stationery. Every bag has space for a notebook and you can write in it, draw in it, even tearing the pages into tiny little pieces can be very therapeutic.
I didn’t have a job at this point, or seemingly any prospect of one, but writing saved my brain from total atrophy. I began blogging about my increasingly ludicrous attempts to find meaningful work as a woman over forty and it seemed to really strike a chord. And when eventually I was offered a job, it was because someone locally had seen something I’d written. Finding my voice had helped me find a way back into work.
They say success breeds success, but for me it was just a question of confidence. I was writing for me, for my own sanity, but after a while I became less bashful and wanted to share my work – words are for reading after all. One blog led to another, and now I’m serialising my first novel online. You can get more done than you think in a school day; you just have to be creative and resourceful. Parents are good at that.
Is this where I thought I’d be, ten years after first going on maternity leave? Of course not, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you can find your voice, then what you’re looking for will be out there – it just might not look quite how you imagined.
If you want to read more, my blog is www.goodenoughfordickens.com and I’m on Twitter @goodenoughfor_d