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The Members-Only Perks of Working Motherhood

There has been much ado lately about the Woman Card and its discounts on wages and its bonus minutes waiting in line to pee. But the mother of all identifications that make you stronger if they don't kill you is ... well ... the Mother Card!

This week, I renewed my Capital City Writers Association membership, AND I got invited to a Members-Only luxury spa and tea party day at my daughter's preschool!

One of the perks of this event for my writing career is that it gave me an extra challenge in meeting my goals for the week. The price of attendance was giving up the one two-hour block of time each week when I can be alone in my house to focus on writing.

Plus now, I get to enjoy this manicure given to me by a five-year-old as I type. Yes, the teacher supplied nail polish remover and wipes for those of us who had to go back to work, but NO, I did not use them. And if you judge my manicure infused with the adorableness of a preschooler's love for Mommy, I will cut you, bitch.

And that's the kind of attitude that helps us women to achieve success in this life!

Sometimes.

Oh yes, many of us will crash and burn out. Motherhood is like a boy's training in Sparta. Sure, only a minority of the little warrior class tots actually made it to adulthood, but the ones that did were so badass! Staying in the game of a career while parenting-without-a-wife [mothering at all; also single-fathering] is like that. With less murder.

Just witness the instructive video below, from a lecture by Michael Hauge, a sought-after guru of Hollywood script writing, whom I may be able to meet next year thanks to my CCWA membership. (Yes, really! Wahoo!) In this video, he shares some of his rock-solid guidance on crafting a story hero, but the example he uses of a good film hero is not just a fictional character -- he uses real-life hero and working mom Erin Brockovich.

He discusses how in the first scene of the film, Erin has a hard time getting a job at first because she's missed out on education and has developed that emotional armor of F-U-I-DO-WHAT-I-WANT in her manner and attire that affects so many single moms with rough lives.



But instead of fizzling out of the game like so many others in her situation, some unique combination of personal grit and merciful fate allowed the real Erin Brockovich to draw enough strength from all the weights she'd borne that she not only "caught up" to her peers, she hulked out and became a living human legend, true hero, TV star, law consultant, and president of her own firm. Whew!

Sometimes, we can focus the heat generated by the friction in our lives to light that heroic spark ... not just in our writing but in our actual lives, which I can't imagine wouldn't enrich our stories with a certain depth not easily accessible to an author who isn't a mother.

If I can pull this off even on a much smaller scale -- say, by nurturing my family for the rest of my life while also earning a comfortable income and writing stories that inspire other people -- I will die proud of myself and grateful to have been a woman who really did "have it all."

It's a strange thing to be a happy member of a "club" that entitles you to greater challenges than your peers have. But I do believe that nothing worth having comes easy.

Happy Mother's Day!

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