So I thought it’s time to try something new.
One of the biggest things that I get message about is how I balance Mom-ing with full-time authordom. Lemme tell you it’s not easy and it took some getting used to! But I thought I’d at least start with ten things that have really helped me with the author/mom life and made things easier.
I know, I know some people hate this thing. But I bought it for about $20 on Amazon used a few years ago for “Distraction free writing”. It turns out, this thing is a life saver with young kids. I don’t worry about them breaking an expensive laptop and I can sit outside or take this thing anywhere without worrying about not being able to see in the harsh sunlight or someone pouring rocks in my purse so it gets in the keys (yes this happened).
All hail the crockpot for saving me so many nights of making dinner! Especially when you have two kids who are constantly hungry and by the time your spouse is home, you may get a few minutes to go to the bathroom by yourself instead of with the kids. My biggest go-to is a bag of frozen chicken with an envelope of taco seasoning and an envelope of ranch dressing. Chicken tacos that everyone eats FTW! And with less time cooking (and using crockpot liners) also less time for clean up. So sometimes I can even convince hubs that we’re done with dinner early enough, he can watch the kids outside so I can get some words in.
I didn’t even know this existed until I first started staying home with the kids when we moved to Charlotte. I knew they needed some kind of learning structure and that mama needed some kind of break. Daycares were expensive as heck, so I found out about Mothers Day out programs. For a few hours a day, your kid (ours were age 17 months and up) can to a school-like program while you can get some words in and throw in a load of laundry while you’re at it. Seriously, I learned how to get so much done in a three hour period, it was amazing. And you can do this as little as one day a week or five, depending on your income status.
And here comes my controversial suggestion. Netflix. Yes, Netflix. Hulu works too, but I found less commercials is better.
Last summer, the only time I got to write was when I’d put on a movie for the kids. For that hour and a half, I shut everything else down and wrote like the wind. It’s how I finished writing a book and editing a traditional book. If not for that 2 hours a day, I would have gotten nothing done.
Another controversial one, but seriously, play-doh is one of the best things ever. It’s one of the few things I can get my kids to play with for at least an hour so I can write or post for a takeover or whatever else I need to do.
Trust me, I wasn’t a believer in the schedule either, but my kids seem to do much better on them and I keep my sanity. Even if the schedule isn’t always to the T, we try. For example, a typical (flexible summer day schedule for us).
Morning- Breakfast for kids, coffee for mom, check over email while eating.
Outside time until everyone is whining it’s hot (during this time I try and take my alphasmart outside to write or bring a book).
Movie time (me writing)
Games or back outside
Dad home, dinner, family time, then bed for kids.
Most people think Im crazy, but I started using a trick my MIL does. Every Sunday, I sit down with my kids and my husband and we plan out what we are going to eat for the week. Breakfast is usually things like poptarts for the kids and sandwiches for lunch. Then dinner, I come up with meals through Pinterest, copy the recipe in Word doc, print the doc with our meals through the week then open up the Walmart app and order my groceries. The whole thing literally takes us about thirty minutes then I get to pick up the groceries later or my husband on the way home from work. No need to worry about taking two hours out of my day to roam the stores.
A Library card
The library is one of the greatest, underutilized resources. The town I live in doesn’t actually have a library so I found out we can use a library that is in the same county, a few miles down the road, for free. At least once a week I take the kids there so they can pick out books and they have story time and play areas where I can just sit for a few minutes and sometimes I even get a few words in. I can also utilize the library for writing resources (books on craft, etc) so I can read those while spending time outside or any time I can’t write steamy romance and have my computer out since the kids can read now.
It’s a truth, that is universally acknowledged, that everything is better in a blanket fort.
I’ve done a lot of Pinterest searching and even used banner stands to craft some pretty awesome forts for my kids. It somehow makes them even more susceptible to lay down and watch a movie or play by themselves if it’s in a fort. I have also, more than once, taken my alphasmart in the fort with them to write. If you’re wondering where my Irish books were written, at least half of them were in a blanket fort on the ground.
Okay, this one may be a given, but sometimes it’s the only way I can survive. I’m up at 5:30, sometimes even on the weekends. My best time to get any work in. The only way I can do that, is to get my coffee going, take in the smell of a french roast, and open up a word doc.