This is one of the hardest things for us moms to do: say no to our kids, so we can say yes to us.
Having children can be all-encompassing if you let it. Full weeks go by and I look back and think, did I get anything accomplished besides keeping my kids alive?
Did I even walk the dog this week?
… where is the dog?
Okay, sorry. Took the Hamlet thing too far.
Anyway, I use the word “carving” in this post very deliberately, because when it comes to making time to write, that’s what you have to do. When you’re a parent, you can’t “find time,” and often you can’t even “make time,” because time cannot be manufactured. Even if it could, you’re too damn tired and your hands are always sticky.
Why are your hands sticky??
There’s no way to know.
So yeah, there’s no finding or making. You need to take time, carve it out from the schedule you already have and stick to it. And that takes planning. Luckily, the following strategies can help.
If you have children who are old enough to read or do homework on their own, this is a great time to get a few minutes to write. I call it my “only if you’re bleeding” time. Which means, Mama’s busy, only come bother her if you’re bleeding.
I know this is hard sometimes; we worry we aren’t spending enough time with our children. But study after study has shown that quality time with your children is much more important than any specific quantity. And having a little time where they see you doing something for you shows them that you’re your own person and not just their laundry slave.
Although, let’s be real. You’re kind of that as well.
Chores. Having your children do chores around the house not only teaches them household responsibility, it also takes a few things off your plate at the end of the day, which in turn leaves you with a little more time to write.
Not sure how to accomplish this? Google knows, my friend. Google aaaaalllllways know. Go hop online, where you’ll find lots of great articles about age-appropriate chores. You’ll probably find your children can do a lot more than they – and even you – think they can.
But don’t try to get your six-year-old to learn how to change the oil on the car. It’s really messy.
… I’m not saying I’ve done that. I’m just saying I’ve HEARD.
For the love of god, go outside!
I don’t mean you. I mean them. That’s assuming you, unlike me, don’t live in Portland, Oregon, where the heavens smite you with rain most of the year. Even if it does, though, a good porch or covered patio can really do nicely. Even if all they do the whole time is complain about missing their iPad, it’s worth it. (And good God, get your kids off that iPad.)
If you’re curious, outside time counts as “only if you’re bleeding” time as well. I mean, check for rusty nails and kidnappers first, but yeah. Only if bleeding.
Finally, have a nightly family reading time. Children who watch their parents read have a higher chance of becoming readers themselves. Plus, reading makes you a better writer, so when you can’t write, read instead. When everyone’ sitting on the couch, books in hand, you’ll find a peace of mind you can’t get anywhere else. Once kids are used to reading hour, you can start sneaking off to write more and more.
But please don’t send me letters asking me how to get your husband to read. I have no idea. In fact, if you figure it out, send me a letter.
Want to learn other neat tips about becoming a writer, even if you’re a busy mom like me? No problem. All you gotta do is plug your deets into that brightly colored box below, and you’ll get lots of handy resources to get you going on that writing career you’ve always dreamed of, and all for free.
Well, I mean, there’s some fine print. Like I’ll own your soul come Armageddon. But UNTIL then, it will super help. Promise.
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