How I Found My Sanity (and My Coffee Cup) in the Written Word

By Catherine Kearns

Where is my damn coffee cup? This question crosses my mind about five times per day. Today, after having searched all the obvious places I normally leave it (microwave, laundry room, and on top of the bathroom hutch) I decided to check the kitchen cabinet. And what do you know…my coffee cup sits clean and safely in its designated space. At times like this, where I completely forgot not only washing the cup but drinking the contents that once swished inside, I can only smile at myself and be glad I found the cup at all.

A little over a year ago I decided to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mother. Before, most of my daily concerns centered on performance goals and budget completions—I used to be a yield analyst for a digital company in New York City—but now, I spend my days with three amazing boys who call me “Mom.” And because of this rather recent change, my daily struggles have shifted and I find myself dealing with misplaced coffee cups, trying to remember whether or not I brushed my teeth, and leaving wet clothes in the washer (which forces me to wash them again in an ongoing vicious cycle). 

When I was working I had time to read books on my commute and perhaps even jot down a few lines for a short story on slower days. I have a degree in journalism and, like most graduates, started a career that had nothing to do with writing (somehow I became a numbers person), so these small moments of literary freedom felt refreshing. For me, the written word has the power to balance out my sanity. It opens my eyes to other words (I read mostly fiction) and allows me to see myself clearly whenever my fingers grace the keyboard.

Now, I read mostly picture books and write notes to my son’s Pre-K teacher. My subway commute has been replaced by trips in the mini-van as I take my kids to school, doctor appointments, playdates, and family events. Please know that I do not say this with disdain but with great love—leaving my job was the best decision I’ve ever made. My family is my world and my children have brought a whole new meaning to my life. 

But I have realized something during my transition into a full-time mother—my desire to write has not left me. Yes, my time is more limited but we all have excuses. What I write may mean nothing to some and a world to others and I accept that. There is a good chance that the words I string together are complete crap and make sense only to me, but, again, this is okay. Writing is not about impressing others or inspiring a revolution. It is about personal growth, expression, and clarity.

So no more excuses; I’m going to write. I will write for me. For my children. For my sanity.  

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