_Being a mom is hard. Being a mom AND an author, even harder. But fear not, it can be done. It's not impossible and with some minor adjustments and a bit of creativity (we authors are known for our creativity after all) we can be successful in both the parenting arena and the author arena as well. Notice how I placed "author" second--that is exactly where it should be. (In another post, I will discuss how to juggle your wifely duties with that of your writerly duties).
All these tips, if applied with a heart full of love, will not only make writing more manageable, but will also give your children a sense of what it is you do and value you all the more for it. We want our children to be proud of us while providing them with a secure and loving environment.
Some of these tips will work better for younger children while others work best for older children. Pick and choose which will work best for you and your family.
Yummy! Even big kids love Cheerios. Throw some at your teen.
_Tip #1: Buy a big box of Cheerios and make sure to keep a good rotating supply of it handy. Better yet, place the box next to your computer/laptop. When your child tells you they're hungry, throw a handful on the floor and yell, "Five second rule!" Your kids will scramble to pick up the tiny round bits of goodness, feeding their hunger, while playing a creative and active game. This tip takes approximately 15 seconds to implement, but will buy you at least another hour's worth of writing time.
Look how happy these kids are.
_Tip #2: Day time clothes are highly overrated. Kids love wearing PJ's and most authors love them even more. For ten dollars, you can purchase several pairs of colorful sweats--tops and bottoms--for the whole family. (Wal-mart, has the best deals by far). Not only do sweats work for night time, but in a pinch can pass for day time clothing as well (you will look like you've been to the gym and people will be impressed). You can save valuable time that you would normally spend getting yourself and your children dressed by implementing the SWEATS-ONLY policy in your home. Bonus: Sweats are super comfy.
Fun for the whole family!
_Tip #3: Play Hide-and-Seek. If you are the seeker, tell your children to hide while you count to a thousand. Take your time--one hundred and fifty two alligators, one hundred and fifty three alligators, etc...Or better yet, don't go searching. You're children, after a great length of time hiding, will come to you. Ask them where they were hiding. After they tell you, tell them you checked EVERYWHERE but there. Tell them they are amazingly good hiders. Then tell them your willing to try again. Go through the same process. If you are the hider, slip your laptop under your arm and then hide in either the spooky attic or in the dark, damp crawlspace. Because of Boogie Man issues and fears of the dark, your kids will never come looking for you there. To buy yourself some more time before the children start crying, tell them before hand that this round will be VERY HARD and then tell them there is a reward for the child you finds you first. You will have plenty of alone time to write and your children will have a blast looking for you. It's a win-win situation.
Look how much fun this kid is having
Tip #4: Put your kids to work. Start them early. Make a game of it. A toilet bowl scrubber can be a kid's favorite toy. Just don't give toddlers chemicals. That is bad. But a bowl full of water is plenty of fun for babies. Little kids are intrigued with vacuums, brooms, and dusters. Let them have at it. They will have tons of fun and not only will you have plenty of time to write, but you will end up with a clean house as well. This is a two-for-one kind of deal.
TV is the BEST babysitter when you can't afford to pay for one.
Tip #5: Though less creative, the television is a wonderful tool. There are SO many programs directed toward youngsters. Turn on the TV, give your child a bowl of dry cereal (milk will ruin carpets) and turn on their favorite cartoon. There are literally hours and hours of child-based programs on cable. AND even if you can't afford cable, the good news is that children LOVE to watch the same show over and over. It is good for brain development. For teens, you will have to be a bit more creative. Buy them their own TV for their room, an X-BOX and a dozen or so rated M games. They will not only be entertained for numerous hours, they will think you're the coolest mom ever.
Let your imagination go wild. There are so many opportunities for you to find the time you desire to write while being the best mom or dad you can be. Don't limit yourself. If you really find balancing family life with your writing life, and your children are under your feet snuffing out the voice of your muse, hiring a nanny is optimal. Nanny's are wonderful and will free up the hours in your day. Good ones cost a pretty penny, but in this failing economy, you can pick up a nanny for only cents on the dollar (as long as you are willing to forgo a criminal background check). Pay them under the table and you can avoid taxes as well.
I truly hope you found these tips helpful. Good luck with your writing and give your child a hug from me.
What are your tricks and tips for balancing time to write with lovingly parenting your children? I would love to know and other authors will truly appreciate your wisdom. Let's help each other. Please leave a comment. Thanks.
*By the way, the above is only a joke. I had you worried, huh?*