Writer Moms

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts this week about friendship. From Facebook to family, we writers need a circle of support. It's hard to go the long haul alone. Without encouragement, we'd be tempted to give up too easily.

Since Mother's Day is on Sunday, I couldn't help thinking about being a Writer Mom. Ideally I would like to say my mothering duties take precedence over my writing.

Far too often, I find myself falling short of my ideal. Light bulbs don't get changed (thank goodness for long spring evenings!), soap dispensers sit empty, dog slobber decorates windows, outgrown clothes hang in closets. The perfect meals, the perfect home, the perfect wardrobes. . .I've learned to let these things slide.

And yet I find myself letting other things slide too, the more important things like: stopping my writing to play a game of scrabble with my son or taking a break to push my daughter on the swing. I've caught myself only half-listening to something one of them is telling me, or even ignoring a discipline issue because I'm too busy to stop and deal with it.

Guilt seeps in. I remind myself my children will grow up fast and that I shouldn't let a single precious moment pass by. I truly want to train them diligently, listen to them whole-heartedly, and delight in the time we have together. I fail so often but pray for the wisdom to juggle my mothering and writing better.

In spite of all my short-comings as a Writer Mom, God gives my children the grace to endure. In fact, I think they even still love me! One of my daughters recently adorned me with a medal. Do you know what it said: Best Mom. (That's it above, staples and all!)

So, Writer Moms (and Dads!) in what ways do you struggle to balance writing and parenting? Do you ever neglect household duties to write? How does writing affect your relationships with your children? Please tell me I'm not alone in this struggle!

And for all you hard-working Writer Moms: Happy Mother's Day!

P.S. Sorry for the lapse in accountability! We'll get back to it next week!


  1. It's hard, but I try to remember that God, my hubby and my child come first.
    Sometimes that means I take more days off from writing than I would normally want.

    Have a Happy Mother's day!!

  2. I didn't write at all when my daughters were young. Now that they're teenagers, hence more independent, I write when they're in school. When they come home, I'm ready to take a break.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  3. I can relate. Writing isn't some part-time job I took to help pay the mortgage. It's a want-it-so-bad-I-can-taste-it goal, and whenever I want something, I do what it takes to get it. Obsessiveness is a side dish, unfortunately.

    All I can do is pray for guidance and good choices. My family won't fall apart if I write for a few hours in the afternoon. They will see me working hard for something I want. However, I have to pray to shut the writing hoopla down after that. I know instinctively when I've let my dreams take precedence over my family.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

  4. Happy Mother's Day to you this weekend!
    I didn't write much when my daughter was little--except in my journals at night. I think it would be hard but if it is something a mom wants--she will make the time.
    I balance my other work and husband with writing now and that is a new challenge but gaining!

  5. Happy Mother's Day!

    I read recently on an author's blog that her children learned to hold fast to their dreams by watching her carrying on at the computer on her road to being published. I sure hope that is one of the messages I am passing on.

    It is a daily struggle for me, but I think b/c God holds me accountable I put my mom hat on first and foremost. But again, a struggle.

    ~ Wendy

  6. Jennifer: Great reminder of priorities and to take days off!

    Rebecca: Sounds like you have a workable plan!

    Jill: See, I told you we were alike! I'm want writing so bad I can taste it too! I have to constantly pray to find the balance.

    Terri: So true. We will always have to juggle writing with relationships no matter what stage we're at!

    Wendy: I always hope that I'm inspiring my children too; also I hope I can model self-discipline, perseverance, and hard work. But in it all make sure they know they're still most important!

  7. You said it perfectly when you wrote "Ideally I would like to say my mothering duties take precedence over my writing"

    I often find myself doing alot of the same things. Too often do I turn on PBS (no, not for the infomercials!) to occupy my son as I get a little more work done.

    You are not alone Jody, but I am SURE you are an excellent mother and deserved that medal.

    Thank you for this post, it's good to know I am not alone :)

    Happy Mothers Day!!!

  8. Happy, blessed and special day to you!

  9. Jody:
    My kids are grown, although our son lives with us temporarily.
    When they were little, I dabbled in writing a bit, and got a few things published, but didn't get serious until they were gone.
    However, I still struggle with priorities. My house stays a mess, unless I dust or scrub out of frustration. I space out in converstations because my mind is on an article i'm writing.

    You are not alone, my dear. You must be doing something right, or the medal would have gone to someone else! And, it's so darling!

    I think the key is, listen. Listen to the Holy Spirit when He says "Get up and be with your kids for 15 minutes;" listen to your family if they send big and little messages that say "I need you;" mostly listen to the Father saying "You are precious in my sight. I love you and am proud of you. You don't have to be perfect for me to believe in you and empower you to succeed."

    Happy Mother's Day! You are doing a great job!

  10. I feel like I fail at this daily.

    The housekeeping stuff, yeah, I stink at that. I'd love to focus more on it, but as I've said, I work all day at a somewhat stressful job, when I get home cleaning my house is SO not on my top priority list. *sigh* I need to do better, but I've determined that I am NOT superwonderwoman, even though I try to pretend a lot!

    I also need to do better at not ignoring my kiddos! I struggle... alot! I've been making a concerted effort though lately to do better at this, all the while praying that God will give us some much needed relief in our schedules (although i'm careful when I pray this with the economy!!)

  11. Jody, did you swim around in my head a bit before writing this post? :) These thoughts could be mine, absolutely.

    While there are some areas I need to work on (the breaks for game playing and listening better, for example), I'm growing comfortable with the fact that I don't have to have every dish clean and put away every second, or that I haven't vacummed the basement in a week.

    This balance is hard and I think I'm doing okay, though it's something I'll likely always struggle with. I agree the kids are resilient, and they seem to soak up what I do do, instead of what I don't. For that I am so thankful!

  12. Of course you're not alone, Jody. Right now, kids take precedence. They're my first ministry. So I don't write nearly as often as I would like.

    My oldest has gotten involved in writing through school, but we've connected on another level over that. He was really excited for me when I sold short stories, especially when he saw the checks. :)

    My two youngest don't really get it yet, but they do their best to respect Mommy's writing time, when I take it, which is not too often. I try to write when they are already otherwise engaged so I'm not taking anything away from them.

    Motherhood is a 24/7 balancing act, whether one is a writer or not. We all do the best we can, and that's all we can do.

    Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

  13. Trust me, Jody, you're not alone. Before I went on my retreat last weekend, I prayed a lot about how to find a balance in my life. How to be able to get writing done and spend time with it (because it means a lot to me) but still be able to keep the house up and enjoy time with my children. God was faithful and had a speaker at the retreat who spoke specifically on the topic of balance.

    So far, I have been trying to set aside SPECIFIC times each day (the same times each day if I can) where I can write and not feel guilty about it. Usually while my daughter is having some free time in the morning and in the afternoon at nap time. And now that it's getting warmer out, we're trying to do more as a family outside of the house. A. this give me exercise :) and B. it makes me a little more inclined to focus on my family and not think of my computer over on the table and how I could be writing.

    Happy Mother's Day to you, too!

  14. I think it's important too for children to see their Moms pursuing their interest, trying to make a living with it maybe, learning persistence, dedication, and passion. It gives our lives dimension. A tough balance sometimes, but when it works, it's beautiful! Happy Mother's Day to you, Jody :)

  15. Marybeth: Are you sure PBS isn't for the infomercials?! ;) Thanks for being honest and understanding!

    Angie: Thanks! Same to you!

    Jeanette: Thank you for urging me to listen to the Holy Spirit. I'm sure there are times when I've been guilty of ignoring his nudges! But he is strong at convicting me. Thanks for your encouragement! You're great at it!!

    Krista: It is so easy to try to be superwoman and do it all! I'm normally a neat and organized person, and err on the side of being overly so. Through all of the demands, God has stretched me to let go of my high expectations. I guess the key is finding what God is trying to teach us and how he is wanting to shape us.

    Janna: I'm so glad you can identify! It's comforting to know I'm not alone in this struggle! And I really am glad my children are so resilient and even hopefully gaining some good from their maniac writer mom!

    Patricia: You're right about motherhood being a balacing act 24/7. I'm sure even if we weren't writing, we'd still have things that pull us from our priorities as mothers. We would probably just fill our time in other ways.

    Cindy: What a cool answer to prayer that your retreat speaker talked about balance! And I like your idea to set aside specific times to write! I usually try to schedule my concentrated writing time for early morning, nap time, and after bed time. But I often try to squeeze more in! Maybe I need to discipline myself to stick with what I've set and no more!

    Joanne: Beautifully put, Joanne!! Thank you for that reminder that our children can really benefit from seeing us pursuing something we're passionate about.

  16. Sadly yes the neglect runs rampant around here. I clean in jags now which I think is healthier all around for me emotionally. I'm much happier now that I write all the time. Happy mothers day!!!!!!

  17. Sadly, you've described my life, too. I clean back and forth from the computer. Lots of things get overlooked. My floor needs mopped really really bad. I need to switch laundry. Will I do all this soon? Probably not. I have outlining to do... naptime is soon. I live for naptime. Writer's time. My time.

    I love my family. Finding a balance is tricky, but essential. Some things you just have to let go. Like the dirty floor.

    Thanks for a great post!

  18. Oh boy. I know how you feel. There are times when I have to remind myself to just have fun with my daughter - last night we had a pillow fight and she loved it SO MUCH.

    It's all about balance, I think. But achieving that balance can be immensely difficult.

  19. T.Anne: Clean in jags? You'll have to do a post on that one! Sounds interesting!

    Lady Glamis: I love naptimes too! I try to make some headway on the WIP at nap time and catch up on blogs if possible!

    Melissa: A pillow fight sounds like a lot of fun! I'll have to keep that in mind for a rainy day!

  20. I often hold Brogan while I surf the web... he is getting awfully used to looking at a computer screen. Probably not healthy... Happy Mother's Day Jody!

  21. I'm struggling with the balancing act right now. I used to just write when my daughter, Charlotte, napped. That's not an option now. And writing with her in the room isn't possible because she loves pushing buttons to turn the screen blank. Yep- still working on it.

  22. Katie: Sounds like you're just preparing Brogran to be a writer someday! Enjoy your Mother's Day too!

    Joyce: You situation sounds a bit challenging!! Toddlers and computers just don't mix! I remember one of mine sticking a toy into the CD player of the hard drive once! Talk about panic!

  23. I often neglect household chores, so if cleanliness really is related to Godliness - I'm in trouble:)

    On the other hand, I never want to neglect my son for writing - he will always be most important!

    Great post, and I hope you have a Happy Mother's Day tomorrow!

  24. Good post. :-) Best mom! :-) That's so sweet.

    Yeah, I've learned to to not even try writing while the kids are up. I just can't do it. I'm up every five minutes to pull the toddler out of the sink or to break up a fight. To read a story or to let my son show me what he made. LOL Writing with them around is impossible.
    My time is pretty organized. I have a set amoung of chores I want to do each day and that's about it. So I wouldn't say writing cuts into my household work because everything has its place. Which sounds much more structured than I really am. Because I don't keep a planner or anything. I just kind of have an idea of what I want to do each day and I know that naptime is reserved solely for writing and blogging. NO Chores allowed. LOL!

    But I'm not perfect or anything. I've def. let writing take a place it shouldn't. I try to be more careful now and prioritize better.

  25. Kate: If we need to let something slide, things around the house are always better than relationships!

    Jessica: Did you have a nice weekend at the Keys? Sounds like you have a great schedule for getting done what you need to! I think it will always be a struggle to keep writing or anything for that matter, from taking over our relationships with our family

  26. "So, Writer Moms (and Dads!) in what ways do you struggle to balance writing and parenting?" Balance? I don't think it exists. You just sneak in the writing part when you can and I, for on, could never write when everyone was home.
    Do you ever neglect household duties to write? ABSOLUTELY - we have a lifetime to clean toilets. Why do it now?
    How does writing affect your relationships with your children? It is where i get my best essays and learn the most about myself as a mother, a partner to my husband, and about myself, which can only enhance the family relationship.

  27. Midlife Jobhunter: Thank you for sharing so openly. You're right about learning the most about ourselves as mothers and wives. When we're under the pressure of writing and working and trying to juggle so many things, we can learn to grow!

  28. Coming in late here. You aren't alone as other's have said. Laundry gets forgotten, dinner sometimes gets on the table an hour later. But my family is flexible and supports my writing. Which is a good thing. If they didn't, I wouldn't be able to do it.

    As long as they get the attention they need, we are happy. And both my guys don't hesitate to let me know if they need it.

  29. Hi Robin,
    I think our writing does teach our children to be flexible and know that the world does not center around them. That's a great thing that your guys tell you when they need attention! Open communication is key!


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