Motherhood and Pirate’s Treasure


In an effort to be a balanced mom, I scheduled some time to commit to my passion, as Bria Simpson suggests, and attended a James River Writers event called From Random Thoughts to Random House, which featured Michele Young-Stone, author of the fiction novel The Handbook for the Lightning Strike Survivor. Michele Young-Stone’s persistence in pursuing her passion while mothering a young child made such an impression on me, this week she’ll be guest blogging, sharing her thoughts on raising our kids without losing ourselves.


Motherhood and Pirate’s Treasure

Last month, my son told his grandparents, “I wish I could find a pirate’s treasure chest so that I could pay someone to write my mom’s books. That way she’d have more time to play with me.” As the pirates would say, “Arggh!” I am guilty as charged.

After my debut novel The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors was due for publication, one of the first questions I was asked (in various interviews) was: What was the hardest obstacle while writing and subsequently finding a publisher for your novel?

My answer: Being a mom, graduating with my MFA in creative writing when my son was two-months old; finding time to write while taking care of him; having a crisis of identity: am I a writer or a mom? Is it possible to be both? How do I juggle my family life and my writing life?

And then I felt guilty because—of course—nothing is more important and meaningful than being a mother. And I know this. In fact, my debut novel The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors has more depth because I’m a mom. Before having my son, my novel investigated the relationships between children and parents, but I only knew this relationship from the child’s perspective. I could imagine the mother’s perspective, but after having my son, I knew and understood that love. I “got” that a mother will do anything to protect her child.

Nowadays, I’m traveling a lot, reading from my novel and signing books, and whenever possible, my five-year-old son Christopher and my husband Danny are there with me. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. The greatest moment I’ve experienced since my novel was published was taking my son to a bookstore to show him, “Look! There’s Mommy’s book.” He’s proud to tell everyone, “My mom’s a writer. She wrote a book.” He’s my biggest fan, even if he wishes someone else spent hours writing at the computer. He still hasn’t found that pirate’s treasure chest. And, I’m really glad, because, as I tell him, I LOVE what I do.

I still struggle to balance writing and motherhood, but I think it’s like any other career: we moms do the best we can. It’s good for our children to know that we have passions and interests outside our homes. I hope that by following my dreams, I’m setting a good example for him. You can do anything you set your mind and heart to.

You can read more about me and my exploits at:


Michele Young-Stone, a native Richmonder, is the author of the debut novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors (Crown Random House). Proud mama to a five-year-old son, Michele is no stranger to the balancing act that is motherhood.


About the book: “Nothing in this novel is predictable, which is one of many reasons that it’s a delight. Young-Stone has written an exceptionally rich and sure-handed debut, full of complex characters, brilliantly described. . . . Her style certainly has an electric immediacy.” — The Boston Globe