When I was working full-time (without children) my life was structured. I had a time mapped out for everything. Clear, written plans. A calendar with times and dates filled in, writing-time, work-time, fun-time. Now, not so much. I’ve learned to become flexible. A lot! Having kids is a full-time job in itself! Adding a day job and writing to that mix makes it all the more interesting. But, my passion for books continues. And I make room for it around my family. Since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom, I have several openings available to me throughout the day to fill my notebooks and computer files with my stories.
There is still a bit of structure to my day. I have about 30 minutes to an hour to write in the morning. I tried getting up earlier to have more time, but I swear my oldest son (6 y/o) is psychic. No matter how quiet I woke (no alarm clocks!) or how quietly I walked (I do have to visit the bathroom in the a.m.), within ten minutes he would wake and come see what I was doing. Then he would lecture me about how it was still night-time because the sun wasn’t out and I should be asleep. I’d like for him to take his own advice!
After I see him off to school, I spend about 2 hours cleaning the house or other morning chores. I move as quickly as possible since I’m not a big fan of housework (who is?), but if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Then I have about 2 hours of writing time while my 2 younger children (4 y/o and 20 month-old) play. That is, I do what I can on my laptop while sitting in the living room and settling squabbles or disputes, suggesting silly games to entertain them or when they watch a little TV (I believe Sesame Street is educational and it gives me at least an hour!). This time is not always guaranteed. I might actually squeeze in only 10 minutes of writing or editing, but that’s 10 minutes I won’t have to do later. The rest of the day is a blur of kid-time activity, other household chores, running to the grocery stores or paying bills, and mealtimes until after they go to bed around 8pm. From 8-11pm I can devote undivided attention to my writing, or as much as I can until I fall asleep. Some days I don’t do too much at night simply because I’m tired from my day. Being a mother is exhausting!
Of course, the school year is almost finished, and my writing schedule will have to re-adjust. As I’ve mentioned, having kids has made me learn to become flexible. But, I will continue simply because I can’t stop writing. I’m a writer. I’m determined to succeed. And the simple matter is that no matter what, we are all given the same 24 hours every day. If I can get only 15 minutes of that time spent on writing, I’m happy. That’s 15 minutes I won’t have to do tomorrow.