I am devoting this write-up to my new friend Mrs. Mother Dirt (who has a wonderful blog mrsmotherdirt.com). She asked the other day a question many ask about how I find the time and energy to raise two little boys and write? I know that this was a huge question on my mind when I would read blogs by housewives and mothers who seemed to have all these big to do list and accomplishments. How the hell did they raising babies, write books and blogs, make their own soaps, keep the house clean, cook from scratch, build barns, milk cows….REDICULOUS AND IMPOSSIBLE! I would declare while slamming my hand down on my sticky table.
Well, I don’t know how some women do it. There are some ladies out there really running the show and I think it just looks exhausting and I have no interest. I can only tell it from my life.
First off, I love, love writing. So, it would be for others like their favorite hobby. A runner finds the time to run, a dancer the time to dance, a knitter time to knit, an avid reader….you get the point. When you love doing a thing, you find the time. It is not a chore nor is it to be considered a distraction from more important things. It is very important. It is your joy and sanity, your escape. A happy mother and wife is a good mother and wife.
As homemakers and mothers, we must find a creative outlet to keep us happy, cheerful, and productive. There must be a balance of fun, work, play, study, and productivity all mixed together.
I have a clean, charming, cozy home. I cook mostly from scratch because it’s far less expensive, far more healthy, creates a home-like ambiance, is another form of creative art, is nurturing my family on a high level, and is easier than one thinks. I spend a lot of time loving my sons, reading to them, being playful with them, looking them in the eye when they talk and talking with them about everything all day. I am present for my family in every way. I put God and family first and I am intensely into nurturing and growing a thriving household full of children, husband, and furry babies. But I make a lot of time to write.
I blog almosts daily. I self-publish a book every few months. I do all my own writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and promotion. How the hell? Let me show you how.
But first I want to make it clear that at one point I decided that this was serious and I was working on a career. When I put it in that perspective and got serious, I created my whole home life around having this as a job and I work on it daily. My children have come to get that I work during the morning hours on my books. They don’t totally get it yet they are beginning to respect this schedule. It’s all in training the family. I also don’t expect to sit for hours in this perfect and serene silence conducive to writing. Ain’t gonna happen in this family. I do have to stop often to cook breakfast, feed dogs and the cat, make beds, and so on. You must learn to keep the flow even with constant interruptions. Just see them as breaks.
- I have a tiny cottage. I have it set up very cozy but very uncluttered. Takes me 30 minutes to clean. Once a week it takes 2 hours to clean deeply and I only do it once a week.
- I have routines and multi-task everything I can. I do laundry, run the dishwasher, vacuum, and think up a book in my mind while having my boys on ABCMouse. We have it easy in this modern world. Most work just takes the push of a button.
- I write early in the wee hours with my coffee brewing, a candle lite on the table, the sun rising outside my kitchen window. It doesn’t get much better than that for me. This is my pleasure and creative fun. I’ve made a cozy area to write and I’m an early bird so waking up at 4:00 am to write is great (I know it may be a nightmare to others, find a time you are at your best).
- I have a clear schedule except for a few really important and valuable things. We only schedule activities that really, really serve our family. I don’t have us running here and there doing parties, social gatherings, tons of sports for the kids. We do one activity a month with the homeschool co-op, karate for Arjan weekly, and every few months we travel to see friends and family in other towns. We do park and library but not daily.
- We stay local. When the boys and I go out it is to walk to the park or library. We don’t run around town.
- I don’t watch TV but 30 minutes a day. It is to watch Joyce Meyers or Joel Osteen for a positive and uplifting spiritual message. Now it’s holiday time and I will indulge in Hallmark Christmas movies (love them!!). My kids watch TV but it’s PBS and all educational and positive.
- My boys have toys that require time and creativity; train tracks, blocks for building, a huge sand box, a huge climber, they have tons of ways to play indoors and outdoors . They do a lot of unplanned, unscheduled, free, unsupervised play, they get lots of sunshine and dirt. They are also close in age and play well together. I am loving, affectionate, and beyond adoring, however, I rarely sit and play with them unless it’s just to get them started on a fun project (I do love building cities and roads though:). I do read to them a lot but I create reading times so it’s not all day (as they would love).
- I cook in large quantities so I cook ahead a couple days and I keep a lot of easy and healthy foods that require little prep work.
- I stay off the phone. I chat once a week with a friend and my cell phone is kept in a kitchen cupboard, it is only for emergencies if we are out and about.
- I have unplugged from the world. I sort of know what is going on out there and I have no desire to be a part of it. I get easily upset. As a mother, we tend to panic about the global issues. I cannot fix them, I did not create them, I cannot cure them. I can recycle, buy organic, donate used items, reuse, simplify, make sure my dollars go in positive directions and not to companies polluting and wiping out rainforest…other than that I just send out positive vibes and know that it’s in God’s hands and it is all a part of our great evolution and progress toward enlightenment.
- I stay focused and committed to three things only: God, family and home, and writing. Everything gets time and energy only if I want to give it time and energy.
- My mind stays focused on these three things (this takes a lot of effort and work at first but gets easier each day, I promise).
- Keep the house very clean, tidy, organized. Being organized with everything in its place saves hours each day. Having a clean and tidy home helps the mind run efficiently, creates calm and peace. There are always toys here and there, but beds are made early, floors are kept vacuumed and swept, dishes washed and kitchen clean. I feel sane and therefore very productive and able to focus on writing.
- I find ways to simplify my cleaning and cooking all the time by getting more advice from other ladies on the internet and books from the library. If my home is run like a well-run business, we will all be happier and I will be successful.
I have more advice but this is all I can think of today. I talk a lot about sobriety and spiritual living. I feel that if your home is built on being clear, focused, and faith based, that if your mind is healed and in a good place…the world is yours. Or rather you can create and build a world that works for you.
As for the home, find ways to make cleaning and cooking easy. Streamline it until it is a well oiled machine. You’re the boss.
When it comes to children, it’s best that they learn to play independently most of the time. Be there to listen and talk, be playful and adoring. Other than that they don’t need you to be in their space all day. Create places for them to play and downsize their toys to things that they can really play, build, create with. Blocks, legos, lincoln logs, wooden trains and tracks, books, art supplies.
And now you…your job as a homemaker is not a nine to fiver. It is more like a 6 am to 10 pm job and even around the clock pulling doubles at times. Create a lot of break times for self-care and enjoyment. Time to exercise, write, read, do a facial, watch a program that educates or simply is fun on TV.
If you work then ask yourself what it is you really want to do. Can you cut down to part time? Can you quit and stay home to tend to the house, children, dog? How important is writing to you? You may not know if you will make a career of it but if you love it then you must give it a chance. Most authors don’t have the confidence so don’t let that stop you.