Balancing motherhood and writing? Author of Your Guilty Secret Rebecca Thornton discusses balancing work & family life
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- Published on Saturday, 09 March 2019 11:05
- Last Updated on 06 March 2019
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I once read an interview with a high-flying female. I can’t quite remember who it was. But I can remember that she had about ten kids running around her at all times and still managed to look beautiful and well put-together and well, shiny. You know – one of those.
She also probably got up at about two in the morning for yoga, before sitting at her computer before the school-run rush– ‘just to break the back of her work emails’. Whatever. This is not me. I’m one of those who pray for some illness to hit me just as the alarm is about to go off. (Not a bad one, mind. Just something to render me bed-ridden for a day or two). But this woman did have one piece of advice that stuck with me ever since, which was that if you want to get things done – I mean really get things done, whilst also spending time with your kids: *Something has to give.*
This is one thing that her and I did have in common. That “something” was a party-all-hours, social life. Pre-kids, during my days in an office, I used to go out all night, pretty much every single night. How the heck did I do that?
I’d gather with my friends in the nearest pub, and slosh back about ten tonnes of cheap white wine (only the best in my twenties). I’d then spend the next day in a quagmire of self-hatred and alconoia, unable to do a thing other than lift the next salt and vinegar crisp into my mouth. Yet somehow, somehow – I got away with it. Call it youth, stupidity – god knows what – and god knows how it’s all going to catch up with me.
But now I’m just about to have my second novel published. Your Guilty Secret – which is about an A list celebrity whose life unravels in the public eye is coming out on March 7th. Writing, alongside kids aged six and three, meant that was the something that had to give.
When I had my first child, I realised I had to do what I’d always wanted to do –write a novel. I tried doing it all. I tried the drinks after the kids had gone to bed – no more cheap wine. I’d since migrated onto Prosecco. I would then try and write the next morning during a naptime (the baby’s, not mine.) Alas, the mindless chewing of crisps and alconoia ate away into my brain and I realised I couldn’t carry on. That if I really, really wanted to write and I also wanted to be a mother who was vaguely present – well – something had to give.
Of course, I still have the occasional (or maybe slightly more than that) tipple. But this time – a fine, organic red and in (sadly not always, though) moderation. No sulphites, if possible please – the best way of avoiding a hangover. That way, I’m robust enough to do my job as a mother, and put some words down on a page that isn’t covered in crisp crumbs.
REBECCA THORNTON is a journalist and runs an online advertising business. Her work has been published in Prospect magazine, the Daily Mail, the Jewish News, and the Sunday People. She was acting editor of an arts and culture magazine based in Jordan, and she’s reported from Kosovo, London, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Rebecca is a graduate of the Faber Academy and The Exclusives is her first novel. She lives in London.