Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mom or Author?

How about both? Of those two things, being a mom is my top priority. That is why, sadly, I haven't blogged since October. Life got tough for a little while. And now it is back to normal (which means only slightly insane). In lieu of that, I decided to do a few blog posts over the next few weeks about how to achieve your goals as a writer while also being the mom (or dad) that your kids deserve. Because they deserve the best. And so do you! (Check out this amazing article, "What We Wish We Knew Then.")
I am the proud mother of four small kids, and they take up a whole lot of my time. All of my time, actually, between the hours of seven a.m. and 8 p.m. So how do I write and yet raise a healthy, balanced family (because even my husband needs some raising)?
It is all about time. You ABSOLUTELY have to manage your time. Make every single moment count and don't waste a single second on useless stuff like . . . watching television. Or playing bejeweled. Or (cringe) Solitaire (guilty). Or, dare I say, Facebook and Twitter.
Here are a few totally random time-saving tips:
1. Learn to chop vegetables like a pro. I am not kidding! Do you know how fast I can make a salad now that I can chop a carrot in less than 30 seconds? A bell pepper in 60 seconds? When I can whip up a healthy meal in minutes, I have time to spare for other things.
2. Be organized! Everything should have a place, and never put something down! Put it away. (Or be like me and follow your kids from room to room picking up their toys--or make them do it.)
3. Make your kids accountable for their own messes--especially their bedrooms. In my house? NO TV until kids are dressed (the older ones do it by themselves), bedrooms are spotless, and beds are made. If they clean up after themselves, that makes a lot less for me to do.
4. Have a set bedtime for your kids and enforce it every single day. As soon as all kids are in bed, focus on writing.
5. Every evening put a load or two of laundry in to wash/dry so that it is ready to fold first thing in the morning. Do this every day!
And then, when the kids are in bed, it just so happens that the house is more-or-less clean, the laundry is folded and (if I'm really on the ball) put away, the husband is happily watching television, and you are free to do whatever you want (which is write novels in my case).
Now, tell me what you do to make writing possible (even if you don't have kids because you're all probably just as busy as me).


Slamdunk said...

I agree with your priorities Bethany and have had to take a blogging break or two myself in the past for the same.

Your #4 is a slam dunk. We have been around parents and their young kids get so grumpy at night--they obviously are screaming hey mom/dad, get off your lazy bum and put us to bed. Young children need routine.

Michelle McLean said...

ahhh I so need to work on the laundry thing lol I definitely do the strict bedtime every night. Honestly, I need to stay off the computer more :) I spend way too much time on there. It is amazing how much I get done with the internet goes out :D

Hardygirl said...

Oh, this is great stuff!

We always do the no TV until you've finished homework ... But now I'm going to add clean your room. Brilliant!


DL Hammons said...

I agree with everything on your list. The only thing I would add is LEARN HOW TO MASTER THE DVR. If you watch any television at all this help to time-shift when you actually can watch it without feeling guilty. :)

Liza said...

I'm a new Empty Nester and only have one child...but as soon as she left for school, I sat down to write for two hours. THEN, I did all that other stuff. Now, I get up, eat breakfast and write for at least an hour and a half, before I go to work. Got almost 1300 words in today that way!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Luckily my boys nap at the same time so I use that time to edit and write. With another one the way in February, things are gonna get a lot harder on me, finding time for writing and editing.

G. B. Miller said...

I try to carve out time in the mornings on the weekend to do my regular writing, simply because I just don't feel comfortable doing it at night.

As for the blog, those I can write anywhere at any time and more often than not, I mentally write an outline of what I want for a blog post before sitting down to bang one out.

Also, it helps to un-attach yourself from the Internet from time to time as well.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great post! Kids and family definitely come first every single time. :)

Angela Brown said...

You've got some great tips here.
I'm still working on the balance thing. I try not to write until after I've gotten my little chipmunk tucked in, but before that I'm reading with her, making sure homework is done, feeding her so she doesn't do that whole starvation thing and the normal nightly hygiene routine. Sometimes I catch myself not doing so well, running about on the blogosphere like an addict. Then I have to readjust and make sure I keep her priority number one, no matter what I balance after that.

Anonymous said...

Excellent list! I need to do better about that enforcement rule because I totally let my kids slack off. Which works out now and then when I want to slack off, too. =P

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

This is great! I'm definitely going to use some of these tips. My kids' rooms are a mess!!