In two more days, I will have my three children home for the summer. For the most part, I'm like, "Thank goodness! No more homework, science fairs, book reports, PTA, or painting stuff!" Yippee! But on the other hand... I have to say bye-bye to my six or so hours of ME time, which also happens to be my writing time (well, in between watching season after season of House on Netflix, but let's not go there).
Still, the fact remains: When am I going to find time to write with three kids at home? What am I going to do? How can I make meeting my deadline happen?
Well, I have come up with a very strategic plan. If I don't cave in, don't fold to their demands, I think I can make this work. Feel free to incorporate these ideas into your life as needed. You can make adjustments too, though I don't see where that would be necessary. Here we go:
1) I plan to ignore them. This sounds cruel, but it really isn't. A good dose of ignoring can go a long way, really. If forces kids to work things out on their own, be creative, and think outside the box. Just hold up one hand, say, "Speak to the hand" and continue to type with the other. Children need to learn to not cling to apron strings (does anyone wear aprons anymore?) and I'm just giving my kids a helpful boost in that direction. I'm creating a novel AND independent souls. Win-win.
2) I will wear earbuds all the time and crank it loud enough that I can't hear their squabbles or cries, which basically goes hand in hand with #1, but it will make it a whole lot easier to do the ignoring thing.
3) I will stock up on Cheerios and Pop-tarts. Nutritious and delicious. Even my youngest will be able to manage to fix herself something to eat. I, too, love a good Pop-tart.
4) I will ground them often to their rooms. That will buy me an hour or two every day. My kids are always doing something they shouldn't, so this should be easy. I can always make up a reason for them to be grounded, if I have to. I am a writer after all.
5) I will encourage them to go away. My kids are fairly popular. Why in the world should they spend their summer at home with me when they could have a lovely time spending the day at a friend's house? Any friend's house. I will just rotate them through their list of friends and in so doing, it will almost be like they're in school and I will gain some free time.
6) Chores. They will need to do lots of chores. Oh, there is always SO much to do around here! If they insist on staying home or that they're friends are on cool vacations or that their friends are spending time doing fun stuff with their mothers, I will hand them a list of chores to keep them busy. Have you seen my yard? Of course not, but it's a big ol' weedy pile of weeds. Hours of endless joy right there.
7) But what about bonding time with my children? Of course there will be bonding time! How cruel do you think I am? We will play hours of hide and seek like games. As long as I have internet access, I can hide with my laptop WHILE interacting with my children. I can still get WIFI in my attic and my crawlspace (places my children will never think to look for me).
Okay, okay... you caught me. I'm not doing any of these things. I'm not this big ol' meany mom/author (shocker, huh?)... but didn't the above sound a little bit tempting though?
I have great kids and the fact that my youngest is almost eleven is a HUGE benefit to me as a writer. I don't have to entertain them nearly as much as I used to, and there is quite a bit they can do on their own. Still, my kids need me. Even my grumpy sixteen-year-old needs me around at times.
So, how do we balance our kids' needs and the need to write? We just do. We have to make it happen one way or the other. We plan for it. We make it a part of our daily schedule and we make sure our children know that BOTH is important to us.
If we don't, then before we know it, three months have slipped by without writing a thing. Over at K.M. Weiland's Blog, she talks about this very thing, but her #10 is something that should be highlighted, so I will:
10. Write. Read. Hug a child. And repeat, ad nauseum.
That is my overall plan. I may have to get up earlier than them or I may have to stay up later to get my writing time in, but I will write. I will also spend time with my children, enjoying them, and creating memories. Both will happen.
Here are a few articles for you to read over that you might find helpful and encouraging, because writing and having children home IS possible. It is.
We just have to make both a priority.
BOOKS AND BABIES - How Do Writers with Families Balance it All?
Balancing Writing and Family Guest Post by Kate Belle
Balancing Family While Writing Like a Machine
Balancing Writing and Family