Friday, May 22, 2009

How do you do it?

Let me preface this by saying: I am married, but we (at present, at least) have no kids. 

I write on the train, at home, on the couch, in the bus...I write everywhere, without a care in the world. I balance it all well, set up against two sort of demanding hairless cats - they share the lap with the laptop, mostly. 

My question for you out there with kids is: how do you balance it? I've read some recent blog posts from some that really got me wondering. Do you ever have any free time? Have you reconciled your MS and your child(ren)?


  1. Good question. I have one 2 1/2 year old little girl. She's extremely demanding. Right now, though, she's laying underneath my office chair playing with her toys. She's gotten used to me being at the computer. I just have to make sure she gets outside a lot and that I keep her fed with meals and snacks. And give her lots of kisses and attention. All that other time? I'm cleaning and doing other life-stuff. THEN I can write and blog in the in between times, like right now.

    Don't worry, if you have children, you fit the important things into the cracks. It's really hard at first when your child is an infant, but I see it getting easier as time goes. Then one day... she'll go to school for several hours a day. Wow, I can't even imagine that amount of uninterrupted time in the middle of the day! Knowing she won't wake up from her nap and start crying.

    Being a mother writer is a tough business... but I wouldn't trade it for the world!

  2. I write when I can write and try to balance out the rest of my life as well.

    I normally try to write every evening - after I've excercised, cooked dinner, bonded with the dogs, the cats, and my partner. There are some evenings where life just interferes. I no longer 'sweat' the moments (okay, somewhat, thus my post "The Void" earlier this week) when I can't seem to find time to write.

    My advice: write when you can! Also, even if you're not actually writing, thinking about writing - the plot, the characters, the conversations, etc. all count as writing.


  3. Time is relative. Think in years. Who cares when you write when the little ones wake up, and they need someone to rub their back so they can get back to sleep?

    As they grow older, the time to do things increases, but the cost of the writing time you now get is bittersweet. The desire to hold another baby will be strong. The desire to have another baby may be stronger still.

    You'll look at the laptop, and then at the chair the baby used to get nursed at, then back at the laptop, then back at the chair, and then you'll burst into tears and feel stupid but then, like magic, it all works out because Mommy's make it so.

    Do not worry about the slices of time, as they will come. Worry about your heart breaking as your youngest goes off to school all by himself for the first time. The house will be quiet, and it is not a blessed silence, but a lonely space between smiles.

  4. I have two children, little girls who love Mommy time. They are used to seeing me at the computer and are very respectful of my writing time. But I also try to make sure I keep it to specific times of the day and be sure to plan out family time and fun things we can all do together. It gives them something consistent to look forward to.

  5. I think we've talked about this a lot, so maybe my comments are nothing new.

    At the moment, I am a stay at home mom, and this is the first year they have been in school, so I have an amazing chunk of time in the day to write. My husband supports that, so I am incredibly blessed! When the kids come home from school, I am theirs. But when it's homework time, I sometimes sit next to them at the kitchen table with the laptop and write. They get it: they have homework, I have homework.

    But, I have had ten years with kids at home, and it was a lot harder. There were sacrifices, but I didn't let the kids be one of them. When they were up, I was mom. When they were asleep, I wrote. Which meant no TV for several years as I wrote almost exclusively between nine and midnight, after they were in bed. I slept less. But I wrote less than I do now, too.

    Summers now, they are old enough to be bribed. I hand them rubbermaid containers of art stuff - playdough, crayons, origame, watercolors - and so "Go at it, but I need to write 1800 words. When I get that done, we go to the pool for the rest of the day and I'm yours. The more self-sufficient you are, the sooner I'm done."

  6. I only have one son and he's now 20. He doesn't need much of my time anymore, though sometimes I wish he did. He has grown into his own man and doesn't need me anymore. It's a hard transition to make and one that's still a struggle for me, but it's all apart of the natural order of things and you can't fight it.

    Between my work, our care homes, and spending time with my wife I try to write whenever I can. We are newlyweds and respect each others time implicitly, but I will still sacrifice my writing time if my wife needs me.

    That usually means that I write at lunchtime at work. I walk to the local Carl's Jr. open my notebook and let the words flow. Later in the evening after work, I type what I've written while watching TV with her.

    It all seems to work until I can't get away from work at lunchtime. Then I have to make it up on the weekend, which can be problematic. You see on the weekends I am usually delivering supplies to the care homes.

    When all is said and done, I can't complain, I just write.

  7. Balance, HA, what's that. :D
    Three wee ones here and I find I move. I always move.
    I don't clean much at all.
    ~ Wendy

  8. Well, everything has changed, but I could summarize the different phases.

    Phase 1:

    Taught highschool. Kids in day care or at home with mom during the summer. Wrote a ton during the summer!!! Plenty of time for kids and writing because I did not have to work. I wrote so much then!

    Phase II:

    Stay at home dad for about a year or so.

    Wrote from about 5:30 - 10:00 every night. Got a ton of writing done and lots of time with kids.

    Phase III (now):

    I teach community college (which I love doing) and I'm looking forward to the Summer. Hopefully I can get a lot of writing done then. Right now kids and work and planning a move for a new job are taking up a ton of time. But, I've done workshops (this year) and I have a writing group. Seems like I am squeezing things in more the last four months, and getting much less writing done.

    I like and need big blocks of time so that I can really focus.

    Oh, and I'm always getting my excercise and time with the kids at the same time because I walk them all around town. I've eaten more coffee shop cookies in the last few years than in my whole life. That, and time at parks, is good motivation to keep them moving. I might think about story stuff then, but in reality I find that I need to focus on them and not my story when I am with them. But, at least later--when I am off on my own writing--I feel that I have spent quality time with them. That helps me really jump into the writing time and feel good about it--no guilt. You can guess that my wife has been pretty supportive.

  9. I have a one year old at home. For the first 9 months after he was born, I was just too damn tired to write. But now that he's sleeping through the night (which means I am!) I can sit down after he has gone to bed and get a good 2-3 hours, before I also have to collapse into bed.

    I think it will get a lot easier when he goes to school.

  10. Good question. Between kids and work, it's ot so much that it's hard to find the time in terms of minutes and hours, but time when I'm not tired or preoccupied with other worries. I'm looking forward to summer, too, as I'll have lots of time off work, and so that source of preoccupation, at least, will be gone. My older children are pretty much self-sufficient, but my youngest child is still three, and he's a joy, but he'll be a handful this summer! So, I'll have to see how it goes.


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