Late last fall, I realized I was going to have to start looking for a part-time job. My husband would soon be taking a pay cut at his job, and our belts were already as tight as they could go. I'll admit, I was terrified of going back to work. Not because I'm lazy or because I didn't want to give up my posh stay-at-home mom lifestyle (sarcasm, people), but because I was worried I wouldn't have enough time to write. That by getting a job outside the home, I'd have to give up my dream of becoming a published writer. No joke, I cried, yelled, got depressed . . . blah, blah, blah. But then my mom said something that really stuck with me: "If it means enough to you, you'll find a way to do it."
And I did.
A little over a month ago, I went back to work (about 25 hours/week). It definitely took some getting used to, but I am adjusting. AND I'm still finding time to write. Are some days harder than others? Sure. Are there days I don't write at all? Of course. But I'm still writing 4-5 nights a week, plus an hour here or there before I pick the kids up from school.
I'm making it work.
How I do it
Finding time to write when you work and have kids (with busy lives and schedules of their own) is not an easy task--as I'm sure many of you can attest to--which means you often have to adjust your lifestyle and priorities. Here are some things I've done in order to make time for writing.
1) Buy Clorox Wipes (and lots of them--no joke, yo). When I don't have time to do my weekly bathroom cleaning, I take a couple of wipes and go to town with them. It does the job until I can find the time to do the real deal.
2) Give your kids some chores. Now that we have a little bit of extra money coming in, I decided to make a chore chart and start paying the kids an allowance. It keeps me from having to worry about things like stripping beds and vacuuming, and the kids get to earn a little bit of money.
3) Lower your standards. I'll be the first to admit: I'm a control freak (aren't all writers?), but if you want to lessen your load around the house, you have to learn to pick and choose your battles. It's true, my husband couldn't fold a towel properly if his life depended on it, but at least it's getting folded. And maybe he doesn't load the dishwasher *quite* the way I would, but the dishes are still getting just as clean.
4) Learn to say no. I often felt obligated to volunteer for every (or almost every) event held at the kids' school, but I've learned that it's okay to say, "Sorry, but I don't have the time right now." The same thing goes when it comes to going out with friends or watching that cheesy horror movie on the SyFy channel with your husband. If writing is *that* important to you, you learn to say thanks, but no thanks.
I'm curious, how do you manage to fit writing into your busy life? Any tricks or ideas?