Getting Personal: My Family's Reaction

Since I'm getting personal this week, I thought I'd share how my family has reacted to my new book contract. As most of you know, I've been married for 18 years and am blessed with five children ranging in ages 12 to 4.

When I got home from my recent writer's conference, one of my twin daughters wrote me a note: "Mom, I'm so proud to have an author mom." I think her note sums up the sentiment of my entire family. They're proud of me for working hard, for persevering through the tough times, for finally receiving the reward of publication.

My kids have loved being able to tell their friends that their mom is getting a book published. No longer am I just the weird neighborhood mom who sits out on the deck with her laptop and stack of history books. I'm the cool author mom now.

My husband is proud enough that I may not have to do my own marketing. He's great at telling complete strangers that I'm an author. Every time I'm tempted to hide in the writer's closet, he yanks me back out with his bragging on me!

With all of their excitement however comes a dose of reality. As I scan the road ahead of me, I see the rocky terrain, the sharp twists and turns, the steep climb. Soon I'll be writing my next book and have the added load of editing my first. I wonder how I'll have time keep up with blogging, other social networking, AND take care of my family.

I know I'll approach this new path of my journey the same way I always have--with determination and drive. I'll put my head down, move forward, and do what needs to be done. But here are just a few of the changes I'm making:

I'm trying to plan out more concentrated work time. On the evenings and days that my husband is home, I pack up my lap top and head to a quiet desk at the library. Even if it's only for two hours, without the interruptions it feels like five.

I'm also delegating housework. My husband is perfectly capable of fixing dinner and having it ready when I get home from the library. After all, I prepare supper and have it ready for him when he gets home from work! Fortunately he's incredibly supportive and helps wherever he can. My older children have taken on more responsibility as well.

I'm sacrificing social activities. I've always enjoyed inviting families over for dinner or going to various church functions and hanging out with friends. Over the past year, I've gradually done less and less. Often my husband will take the kids to gatherings and leave me home to work in quiet.

These kinds of changes have been the hardest for my family. My kids don't like having to kiss me goodnight at 6:00 p.m. as I head out the door to the library. They don't particularly jump for joy at folding extra laundry. And they definitely miss having our friends over or going more places together as a family.

Yes, having an author mom is cool in theory. But in reality, there are very tough days when they wonder if they can have their old "uncool" mom back, the mom who doesn't sit behind her laptop every spare moment.

When I wonder if I'm doing the right thing, if somehow I'll "damage" my children, I remind myself I'm teaching them so many things through my passion for writing. I'm teaching them to work hard for something they want. I'm teaching them that they can pursue what they love. And I'm showing them that their dreams can come true too.

What is your family learning from your passion for writing?

P.S. My dear blogging friend Roxane Salonen is featuring me on her blog today. For more about how how getting a book contract has affected my life, check out her awesome blog: Peace Garden Mama.


  1. Family is the best antedote for success. They remind us that we are humans that have other variables that attribute to our lives. You are successful because you are more than an author.

    I will be praying for you as you implement these changes. God knows and He is already working it out.

    I will be heading over to check out your interview- congratulations!

  2. I love it! What an awesome, supportive family you have. So CUTE about your husband telling strangers and your kids telling their friends.

    I can imagine time is getting tricky, but just like you said (and Debbie Macomber said too), you are teaching your children such valuable lessons! I'll pray God blesses every minute of your day. That you would be an excellent steward with the time He's given you. :)

  3. You are teaching your family even more than you know by having goals and a passion for something other than them (not to diminish your passion for them in any way). I think our families learn an independence they didn't know they had when all of a sudden Mommy can't do every little thing. Now, I know we moms love doing for our family, but sometimes it's good for them to learn they can do some things too.

    You have a lovely, supportive family, Jody. And I bet your friends are pretty cool too. Takes one to know one, after all.

  4. You're a mommy superhero. I love it. :)
    Some of my friends and family are more supportive than I could have ever asked for. Others have made me see how UNsupportive they are.
    When I sign my first contract it will be the supportive ones I celebrate with. :)

  5. I so can relate. Everyone goes around telling people about their "author mom/wife/daughter" now anyway and i don't HAVE a book contract... it's quite irritating to be honest... There are a ton of questions I have to answer like, "No... I'm not published yet" that makes me feel like a fraud.

    But... someday... when I DO have a book coming out... I'll be very appreciative of the word of mouth advertising:-)

    Regarding *time* my family is for the most part very good about giving it to me. My hubby tries to take the kids ever now and then to the park so I can have *alone* time. And kids are okay when I need to do "evening" writing with playing with each other after dinner, with, uh, minimal mommy interruption

    So yeah, they think it's cool:-)

  6. Jody, I like getting the family's take, about how it affects them - at both ends of the spectrum.

    I hope I'm teaching my family that you must believe in yourself - for success, for confidence, for happiness.

  7. We are proud of you, too, Jody. God will show you the balance, and it won't hurt the kids to do laundry. They may even learn they enjoying cooking alongside DAD! He sounds like a keeper.

    My family is learning how much work a writing career takes, and that writing as a calling is an ocean away from writing as a hobby.

    They are supportive, though, and sometimes believe in me more than I do in myself. It's humbling.

  8. I cried as I read this. What a beautiful gift you are giving your children by following your passion. I hope I'm demonstrating that as well.

    Jody, you make me proud and I'm not even your kid...I'm still that weird neighborhood lady pounding away at the computer. :D
    ~ Wendy

  9. It's hard on my kids sometimes. They are all under 5 so they don't get super excited about my possibilities as an author. They just see that I need to write for 5 more minutes. Luckily the baby still naps and my other 2 are in school for a few hours a day so I have a couple hours before they get up and while they are at school to get stuff done. And they still love me when I have to write for 5 more minutes.

  10. Much like you, I think my family sees the importance of knowing your passion, and incorporating it into your life, letting it become a part of your identity. There's no reason to deny something so important. BTW, you have a beautiful family supporting you there!

  11. I think that working (as a lawyer or a writer) makes me a better mom. I need to have some focused adult time, using my skills and education, so that I can then be completely committed to the time I *do* spend with my daughter. Every family needs to find their own balance.

  12. What a beautiful family, Jody! I don't know how you do it.. I have trouble with two kids!

  13. Jodi! How I relate (even though I don't.. like have an agent or a contract or anything...)

    I have been in deep revision mode with an interested agent and today my fifteen year old was getting out of the car. She sails and had asked me to get her a towel before we left home. I forgot, but remembered when I saw her get out of the car with the towel in her bag. "I'm so sorry honey!" I said.
    "That's okay mom, your working hard at getting published." And she kissed me. And she meant it.

    It all comes out in the wash.

    Thanks so much for sharing this part of your path.

  14. You amaze me with your ability to balance it all. :) I'm glad you have such a supportive family; what a huge help when you're on a roll or up against a deadline!

  15. Jody, thanks for your willingness to share this part of the writing journey. I think we all have some of these worries, but seeing you balance *five* kids encourages me. :-) Oh, and I'm also a twin.

  16. It sounds like your family is incredibly supportive--what a blessing! I think my family learns through my passion for writing. My children see my dedication and my husband sees my perseverance. Both my husband and my oldest daughter have told me they're proud of me and it means a lot.

    Jody, I'll be rooting for you as life gets busier. You seem like such a driven person, I know you'll get it all done and still have time for your family. Have a great day!

  17. Your family is so gorgeous--what cutie pie kids!! I love that Michigan jersey. Give that boy a hug for me!

    I'm going through some of the same adjustments. I'm expecting more out of my kids on the chore front. And I find it difficult to fit everything in also.

    I can honestly say this, though. Your kids pick up on your enthusiasm and excitement. Sure, they want 24 hours with mom, who doesn't? But you wouldn't have the same energy if you weren't writing, and they would miss that.

    Good luck!

  18. Jody, there are sacrifices in everything. Balance is the key, and since you're home all day working with your kids homeschooling, I'd say you've found a balance with them. I'm feeling for your hubby, though, but I'm positive you have date times regularly scheduled with him!!

    You go girl, run this race, knowing you're leaving a legacy behind!

  19. It's hard to balance and sometimes I tip the scales too far either way. What we have to realize that while being an author is awesome, family is what last forever.

  20. I'm still the wierd mom sitting out on the deck -- but I don't mind. My family is great and humors (er..supports) me. :)

    And, another thing in common - I have also been married 18 years. It will be 19 in December.

  21. Jody, it was so fun to see your family, and this post worked in perfectly with the interview on my blog this morning! You're already a marketing ace. :) I'm proud to have featured you this. My laptop Internet was off so it took me a while to get the comments published, but they're on now. You'll have to check back later -- when you get to the library, perhaps. :) As you know, I understand the tough balance that you're trying to work out, but I have confidence you'll figure it out just fine. The rewards, especially ones like your daughter's note, really do make it all worth it! Could there be any better affirmation? :) Peace!

  22. Wow, you are really speaking to me.

    First, let me congratulate you for managing to write a book with 5 kids. Also, on your beautiful, supportive family. That doesn't happen by accident.

    Every day isn't easy, but mothers and fathers have to find a balance that works for them. Your children will learn that while they always come first, they are not the only focus of your life. That is a very healthy thing for a child to learn.

    Best of luck in all your endeavors. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  23. Jody, you have a wonderful family. The sacrifices that writers need their families to make are not easy ones.

    Consider building into your annual writing calendar special "family days" and certainly family vacations (not wrapped around writing conferences). Highlight the special "can't miss" events at school and be sure to make them.

    Children get it when they are told that hard work and sacrifice are needed to pursue one's goals. You're helping them to see that live and up close, but they also need to see some "give" to go with the "take".

  24. My family can support the short-term time crunches like when I'm madly editing prior to a conference. It's the long haul that I'm learning to balance better.

    My hope is to write while the kids are at school and be done with my writing day by the time my husband gets home from work so we can spend the evenings together as a family. Yet, the temptation is still there to say that he's home now to watch the kids so I can disappear and work just a few more minutes.

    I think I'd better save those extra evening times for when I'm really on a deadline.

  25. It's awesome to see how excited and supportive your family is!

    My family hasn't learned anything from me yet since writing is still a hobby, at this point. Down the road, though, I hope they'll learn that it's really something I'm passionate about and that it's okay that I didn't go to law school.

  26. I think you are teaching them a great deal. I hope I'm teaching mine something, too.

  27. I just posed the question to my kids as they are doing school across the desk from me.

    They are excited, and they're happy that all my hardwork is paying off.

    They've taken on more responsibility here at home, and they shoulder more of their homework tasks. (Of course, my kids are older than yours at 17 and 13, so that makes a difference.)

    I hope I'm teaching them that perserverence pays off in unexpected ways.

    Like Katie, I found Debbie Macomber's take on writing and children to be inspiring.

  28. What a great, honest post! Thanks for sharing about your family and how you're working through the future shift in schedule, etc. Your family (and husband esp.) sound so supportive!

    I don't know what I'm teaching my kids yet. LOL The oldest is five. I guess I'll find out soon, but I do hope I'm teaching them to have a good work ethic and to do things quickly and efficiently. (LOL, totally non-writing related) As for writing, I hope they'll be encouraged to work hard for their dreams. :-)

  29. This is an age old problem, the delicate balancing act of family and career. Many women authors have written about their experiences. Half the battle is having a supportive husband, sounds like you do.

  30. thanks for getting personal and candid. there are definitely sacrifices to be made for this type work...but your family is so supportive....that's wonderful.

    great interview on roxanne's blog!
    Where Romance Meets Therapy

  31. Finding that balance is so tough and I only have one kidlet. I can't imagine finding time with five! Kudos to you. I hope one day I too can move from reclusive writer mom to cool author mom. :)

  32. My husband calls it an obsession. LOL

    I left a little something for you on my blog. Check it out.

    Lynnette Labelle

  33. Congratulations Jody! It's always good to have a supportive family. From what I read, it looks like you have a lot more work ahead of you, but I think you have it under control.
    Your balancing and delegating plan will definitely help. Keep in mind with big blessings come great sacrifice. You're already on your way! :)

  34. You are teaching them wonderful things! Having a supportive family is so important.
    Right now my oldest kids like to point out I'm always on the computer and never have time for them. But, I'm homeschooling them and with them all day so I know that this is just going to be an adjustment for them:)

  35. It's so wonderful to hear how proud they are. Of course, you are feeling the same things that all working moms do I'm sure. You have to keep a balance and it's difficult to do. I'm hoping that my kids will see my dedication to something and know that they have the ability to do the same.

  36. I completely understand from an unpublished point of view what it's like to sink a little for your craft. There have been movies i've missed, some family time I've turned away all because I am so driven to this task. My daughter once told me I hate that you write and I hate your laptop. Since then I let her plot out a story line and often consult her with character and plot development. A very trusting endeavor considering she's eight. But the tension has loosened and she is in love with my series and often can't wait to tell others how she helps her mom write books. (They probably think it's a very interesting home schooling project) Nevertheless it has bonded us closer together.

  37. Great pic, Jody! It's wonderful that Dad is getting quality time with the kids. They'll treasure it when they grow up.

    Susan :)

  38. Great post and awesome support. However, it would never work here. My spouse is supportive, but I still have to find my own time.

  39. I have had my doubts over the years when much of my writing time took away from the family time. But, my husband and kids have always been supportive. If they weren't I don't think I could have kept writing. They gave me the okay to sit at my laptop. It makes all the difference in the world. The kids did grumble at times, but now my fourteen-year-old son talks about his mom's Christian romance novel.

  40. The book I'm writing is a longterm work. Way back when I first started, God sent an angel with a "supernatural sign" to our home. This changed my wife's life. For months she could hardly tell friends about it because she would always break down crying: she was so thankful to God for letting her see something supernatural.
    My wife has, for 14 years since, been an indescribably wonderful supporter to me; always believing in what I'm doing.
    If you are writing to honor God, I believe He will give you whatever help is needed in each case. In my case; I can't imagine what it would be like to not have family support.

  41. This is a hard one for me because my writing has definitely affected my family life, and I can't say it's for the better. Now I'm taking care to do my writing related things in the mornings and early afternoons so I can be there for my children after school (mentally...I was always 'there' physically) and husband.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  42. What a wonderful family you have, Jody. Sounds like you've been blessed with the kind of hubby I have--the ultra supportive kind. What a gift.

    I'd say the fact that your family is excited for you, believes in you and is bragging about you is one of the ways the Lord is using to show you that writing is His plan for you.

  43. My family grew accustomed to me working my way through mealtimes and occasional nights when I ran my own home-based business. They took over cleaning and cooking without a complaint and that continued when I began writing more seriously. So I'm blessed that they have always been supportive of my endeavours. I think it stems from respecting each other as individuals, and that's an important message to convey in today's world.

  44. At my launch signing I heard my daughter friend say to her, "Your mom's fammous!" Andrea replied, "She wasn't when I met her!" hehe

    Two of your commenters won The Familiar Stranger in the 10-book giveaway. :) Heading to that post right now!

  45. Jody, this is a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing it! My family is still getting used to me writing, both extended family, and even all my friends who don't write. On so many levels, they don't "get it." It's hard. I think it would be a little bit easier if they saw it paying off for me in publication, but that's a little far down the road.

    Good luck with your journey! I know you'll handle it all with grace and that amazing determination of yours!

  46. If you actually read all of these comments, I'll take my hat of to you.
    (and that's something I rarely do for lack of hair) I wish you the best in life and compliment you on your five beautiful children.


© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!