I’m a busy Mom of 5 kids. They’re all very active, eat me out of house and home, pile up basketfuls of dirty clothes, and need armloads of love and attention. On top of the usual mom duties, I homeschool my crew—kindergarten through eighth grade. And as if that wasn’t enough, I’m also squeezing in what has become a full time writing career.
I’m answering your questions this week about TIME. Jaime Sundsmo asked: “How do you find time to write with so many little darlin's running around your house (I'm trying to figure this out with just ONE!)” And Susan Mills asked a related question: “I’m dying to know how you keep up with it all. Homeschooling, writing, blogging, normal motherly duties... ”
Yes, I’m busy and it’s not easy juggling all the demands of a large family. Of course I like to think I’m a martyr, and I always enjoy having pity parties for myself. But the fact is, many of you are probably just as busy if not more than me.
We’re all busy. Life is busy. And our writing only adds to the already packed lives we lead. So how do any of us make time for writing?
Most of us don’t view writing as just another hobby. We’re too passionate and our aspirations too high for such a label. Instead, most of us see it as our calling, gifting, or ultimate job.
In fact, I’ve gradually had to accept the fact that in some ways, I’m a “working” mom. (As if I wasn’t before!) And I really think it’s something any of us serious about publication need to consider—writing is real work. For a while we’ll have to work without pay—especially in the formative years during which we’re gaining something similar to a college degree in the basics of writing.
My point is that, if we want to accomplish our writing goals, the first step is making a shift in the way we view our writing. No matter where we’re at in our journeys, it’s never too early to treat it like a professional job by giving it the respect, time, dedication, and the effort we would other work.
On a more practical side, here are some of the ways I keep up with all the responsibilities, much like any working mom must do:
*Order out and eat lots of pizza. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one!
*Delegate household work. My husband does all our grocery shopping. (Don’t shoot me! Yes, I know, he’s a good guy!) Our philosophy is that everyone who lives in the house needs to pitch in with the housework. If you’re wondering how to get your kids more involved in helping around the house, see my article: 5 Ways To Convince Your Kids To Do Their Chores.
*Make simple meals. I generally stick with dinners I can make in 30 minutes or less. With a 13 year old son who inhales his entire meal in less than two minutes, aesthetics, even taste, aren’t all that important! I may cut back on meal prep, but I try to protect family meal time.
*Sacrifice a LOT. I've given up all hobbies, except for the things I do together with my kids for fun. I don’t get together with friends as much as I’d like. I don’t have time to shop (which is probably a good thing!), and I don’t watch TV (okay, except for one show).
*Be willing to work odd hours. I almost always work in the evenings after the kids are in bed, especially when my hubby is also working. And I get up early for a jump start on my writing. I also head to the library every Saturday, even when it’s a gorgeous sunny summer day and I’d rather be playing outside!
What it boils down to is this: If I waited until I had “free time” to write, then I’d never have enough. Instead, I have to carefully maximize my days—dedicate time to my writing AND then use that time as wisely and as diligently as I can.
What do you do to keep up with all your responsibilities and also fit in time for writing? Share your secrets! We'd all love to know!