As you know parenthood is a 24 hour job. But it’s motherhood where we as women are expected to be our best equally in both work and family. And failing in one is equal to failing in both. Why is that? Is it psychological? Sociological? Or is it the culture we grew up in? We’re expected to balance both our job and familial responsibilities. And if you’re like me, aspiring to become an author, then you’re just asking to topple that scale. But here are a few lessons I’ve learned. Tips that'll help restore that new scale balance act of authorpreneur-work-family.
- Get plenty of sleep. No one can function well without the proper amount of sleep. After dealing with the day shift of getting the kiddies ready & dropping them off at school. Commuting to work, dealing with whatever mess waiting for you at work or meetings. Then there’s the commute back home towards the night shift of picking up kiddies from after school or the sitter. Making sure the homework is done, preparing dinner, cleaning up, putting the kids to bed and reading them a story, etc.I know that after doing all that, I’m tired. And so are you, unless you’re the type with amazing stamina. Like me, you can use the time after the children are asleep and household chores done, as your writing time. But also pay in mind the time you have to get up the next day and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Yes, even if you’re going at a good flow, just put down your pen or shut off your desktop/laptop. And go to bed. Ernest Hemingway said it best ‘to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next.’
- Wake up a little earlier. Waking up a little earlier does help but I'm someone who sleeps like the dead. So it's an advantage I don't use on a daily basis. But going to bed on time and getting a good rest is a must. Your day will probably get a little crazy. And you can use that short amount of time before waking up the kids for school and or daycare by doing a writing sprint. Let’s just hope that they haven’t woken up early but that’s highly doubtful. They’d only wake up early on the weekends, on holidays and breaks. Never on a weekday. Anyways, while you were sleeping, your subconscious has been stewing over what you wrote last night. So take the opportunity to let your imagination and words burn like wild fire unto the page, from where you left off the night before.
- Set the kids on a schedule. Before I came home from the hospital with my bundles of joys, they were already set on a schedule. So every three hours they were changed, fed and put back to sleep. And when they slept, I slept. Oh and when they cried, I was up. But having them on a schedule really helped a lot because believe it or not, I was less sleep deprived and stressed. Having them on a schedule in the mornings and evenings is beneficial to your writing. For a less frazzled and organized morning, carve out the morning with time limits to shower, clothe and eat breakfast. That way everyone can get to where they need to be on time. And set up a consistent bedtime, with homework completed and dinner eaten before then. There will be no staying past bedtime for no reason. Children need plenty of sleep as well and you need that post bedtime hour(s) to relax and write. Hint: Looking for an outfit to wear in the morning is more time consuming than you can believe. So pick out your and their clothes to wear the next day the night before.
- Cook big meals on the weekend. This is a tip that I’ve learned from a nest free mother. The day is just 24 hours but it’s amazing how it can feel even longer just with all the stuff you have to do. After dropping your children off at school/daycare, commuting to work and back home. Then picking them up from school/daycare, you have to prepare dinner. Just to let you know, I don’t really like doing the cooking everyday thing. I’m tired. And then I have to cook on top of that? Lucky for me, my husband would understand that I’m tired and often said to order something for delivery. Or he’d order takeout on his way from work. Bless him. Anyways, it's fine to order out. You just don’t want to do that too often. It’s going to hurt your wallet and you have to think of your health. So what you can start doing is cook big meals on the weekend. I’d say you should cook 2 different dinners, then depending on the size of your family, sort of ration the meals. A certain amount is stored in the fridge to consume immediately. You can eat the leftovers as is or make a new meal out of them. The rest is stored in the freezer and labeled with the date you cooked it.
- Cook baked dishes. The beauty of baked dishes is that you can just stick them in the oven and let it bake. There’s no standing over the stove. Or fiddling with the flame. Just get your ingredients, prepare the damn thing and stick it in the oven. During the time it needs to be bake, you can get an early start on other things. Like household chores. Or writing. Hint: Casseroles, Pork Chops, Meatloaf, Ham and Chicken are great baked based dinners. It’s easy enough to find baked dinner and quick dinner recipes on Google. Or follow Rachel Ray and other similar under an hour meals recipes. Here’s a link to MomWhoThink.com. Hint: Prep your ingredients and season your meat the night before so that you’re ready to cook as soon as you get home.
Hopefully any one or all of these would be of some help to you. If not, then you can always inherit a lot of money from a dead relative or win the lotto. But if you happen to be so lucky, can you return the favor and share some of that luck, for today’s post?
PS If you don’t know already, it’s Read an Ebook Week at Smashwords. You can browse books for sale here or get my own poetry chapbook Can You Catch My Flow? free with code RW100. Also, I’m doing a book giveaway this Friday on March 6th for Robbed of Soul by Lois D. Brown. Don’t forget to stop by my blog and enter. And if you haven't already, please sign up to participate in my 30 Day of Poetry Love project. Whether you read poetry, write it or both, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Help spread a little poetry love and sign the form below.