Today at Peanut Butter on the Keyboard we’re very excited to host fellow author and guest mom, Amber Lin! Welcome, Amber!
Every mom knows to limit screen time for her kiddos. No TV before the age of two! No video games! Except if they are educational or if you’re completely desperate on a road trip and the iPad is your only hope! Or maybe that last part is just me.
But as a writer, I spend a lot of time in front of the screen. No, I don’t want much TV or play video games, but I do stare at that damn cursor. I mean, I write a lot! Or something. I also blog on my own and guest blog and pinterest and tumblr and oh, twitter! I do all this because I enjoy it AND because it’s an important part of book promotion. Hey, I just released my debut book—this isn’t the time to pull back from social media! More, onward, etc.
But what kind of example am I setting for my 4 year old, spending all this time in front of a screen? He knows that I’m working, and Daddy has told him how proud he is of me for writing a book, but still. Still.
And I’m not the only one struggling with this—even our fictional mommies are in a pickle. You see, my book Giving It Up is an erotic romance whose heroine also happens to be the mother of a toddler. Well. Sexytimes need to happen for her and the hero, and since my book also has suspense elements, dangerous things need to happen, and the kiddo needs to be safely out of the way. For that I usually relied on naptimes or babysitters, but there were times when the heroine was watching her kiddo and needed some introspection or maybe a phone call, so she turned on the TV. At least, she did in the first draft, until my editor was like… what? Okay, removed those. Whew. And luckily, response to the kiddo and even my heroine’s mothering skills (despite the super crazy stuff she does in her own life) has been pretty positive. But the point remains—it’s a problem we all struggle with.
Recently we picked up the little kid’s play kitchen from Ikea for my son. He LOVES it. I love it too, because before that he always insisted on helping me cook. And let’s be honest, when we’re talking about a 4-year-old in the kitchen, helping means exactly the opposite. So he’s got his adorable play kitchen and I’ve got my less adorable real one. There we are, happily cooking side by side…
Errrrrrrrrrr, he says. Beep!
I look over in confusion and see that he’s cooking something in the “microwave”. And immediately want to smack myself, because of course he learned that from me. He’s mirroring me, and yes, I use the microwave a lot! I also use the stove and the oven, and thank goodness, he copies that too. But then I’m sitting there thinking—am I doing this all wrong? Should we move to a commune and grow our own food and eat it raw and never see a screen ever again? Maybe my agent wouldn’t mind communicating with me via carrier pigeon!?
Okay, now I’m just being dramatic.
But then I noticed something. He likes to cook. More than that, he likes to serve us food. My husband and I will slurp up the tomato and carrot soup (don’t ask) he makes us and profess that it’s the best we’ve ever had, and his little face fills with pride. It really isn’t important that he microwaved the tomato before boiling and roasting it. The important thing is that he wants to do things for us. That’s what he’s learning when I cook for him.
I have to hope the same thing happens when he sees me working on my computer. Daddy has set up a little desk for him beside mine, where he can play on the iPad while I work. His chair is an adorable little wicker thing but he says he wants one like mine, an office chair. As he looks for ways to be like me on the surface, I can only hope that he is also learning deeper lessons. I hope he sees the dedication I put into my work. I hope he sees how much I love what I do and that one day he will do the same.
I won’t claim to have all the answers in this—I know I don’t. And I’ll keep restricting screen time and looking for more ways to play actively and encouraging us all spend more time outside. But I think, if my son could grow up to do something he loved, to work hard at it, whether it’s in front of a screen or not, that would be enough. More than enough of a legacy for me to pass on.
Tell me, have you had to lower your standards of motherhood to pursue your dreams? What kid things are sacrosanct for you, things you won’t give up even to become the most successful at what you do?
Her debut novel, Giving It Up, is an erotic romance that follows a woman’s journey of healing… and smoking hot sex. Reviewers have raved that Giving It Up is compelling, well-written, gutsy, deeply emotional and sexy as hell. The Romance Reviews gave it five stars, and Romance Junkies gave it five ribbons.
You can read an excerpt or watch the book trailer here: http://www.givingitupbook.com
“Giving It Up is original, affecting, emotionally draining, but well worth reading if you are brave enough to go along for the ride.
“—Annabel Joseph, author of Comfort Object
“A ballsy departure from romantic conventions. At once gritty and tender, stark and hopeful.”
—Cara McKenna, author of Willing Victim
“Giving It Up is an erotic, compelling story that takes us to the shadowy, lonely places but doesn’t leave us there. Amber Lin shows us that romance isn’t just for the rich and shiny. Love can find its way even into the dark corners of the most damaged hearts.”
—Tiffany Reisz, author of The Siren
“This is a book you MUST read if you like gritty, edgier romance that makes you think as well as turns you on.”
—Cari Quinn, USA Today Bestselling Author
“Dark and edgy…but don’t be fooled. There’s a wonderful love story running through this book. Sharp, intense writing, sexy as hell, and such a cool idea!”
—Charlotte Stein, author of Sheltered
“Every page is chock full of sexy, angsty must-read-moreness.”
—Karla Doyle, author of Game Plan
“Giving It Up is a gritty, real romance that deals in an honest way with what happens to sexuality in the aftermath of rape…. Read it. You won’t be sorry.”
—Ruthie Knox, author of About Last Night