This morning, my children woke up an entire hour earlier than they are supposed to wake up.
I was working hard at writing several drafts, but all I could hear was their chit-chat from the bathroom. They were plotting on how to stay out of the room.
There was no way I was going to let that happen. It was 5:30 AM after all. They will be a hot mess by 1 PM if I let them stay up. Plus, my 3-month-old had just woken up too. And I knew I would get the handoff soon.
- The first lie entered my head: There won’t be enough coffee today.
- The second lie entered my head: You should just give up writing, you NEVER get the time anymore.
- The third lie entered my head: I’m a terrible parent.
After rushing through all of these thoughts in the course of two minutes, I jumped into parenting action. I put the big girls back to bed. The handoff was completed to take the baby so my wife could go back to sleep. Immediately, the baby fell asleep too.
Then, I was left with a precious 15 minutes to write.
So, I wrote this post. Because many of us as writers are parents. A lot of us are juggling parenting, day-jobs, and our writing. It is hard some days. Even some weeks can be very difficult to do it all.
But it doesn’t devalue our writing, family, or work.
What to Remember if You are Writing While Parenting
This morning, I remembered the importance of writing while parenting. It involves a lot of grace. Grace for ourselves, our children, and everyday life.
Writing parents aren’t like most people.
We can’t quit our jobs to go all-in on writing. Our children still come first, and we cannot write 12 hours a day trying to hustle ourselves into success. No matter how many ideas we have, we only have so much time to turn them into something amazing.
If we aren’t okay with this, we need to re-evaluate our lives.
Yet, most of us make it work. Sure, we have to make work if we want to be writers and parents. But we do it because we need to write. Some of us want to show our children what it looks like to put in the hard work.
Our example will teach them underlying lessons for their future.
5 Ways to Write While Parenting
I imagine there are a lot of ways to figure out when, where, and how to write while parenting. But these are the five ways that have worked for me. Some of them are a little silly, yet, they are practical too.
1-Get up early.
No one really likes to wake up early. Even if you are an early riser. Or you find it magical to get up in the morning. We all want to sleep in. At least sometimes. Yet, getting up before everyone else is prime writing time when you have kids.
2-Writing in the bathroom.
Hear me out! Instead of playing Words with Friends, or whatever the hip parents are doing hiding in the bathroom, spend a little of that time writing. I know, it’s a little gross. But you can get a lot done in that short amount of time.
Sometimes, when I want to finish writing something and my daughters are around, we writer together. They draw pictures, when I finish what I’m working on, I write in the words to their stories. And we create books for them too.
4-Finding time in your busy schedule.
My daughters are in ballet class. Every Saturday, I take one of my daughters to hour-long-ballet. During that time, I open up shop in the car and sit in the parking lot working on my writing. In fact, I finished writing a book by doing this.
5-Come back to it later.
Lastly, I have to give myself the freedom to come back to writing at another time. Sometimes, my daughters have needs that are more important than my writing. In these moments, I need to stop what I am doing. Take care of my daughters. And come back to my writing later.
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” — Billy Graham, true for parenting as a whole
Being a parent feels awfully thankless at times. Yet, we all can look back at moments in our past where our parents sacrificed for us. I know for me, I can look back at those times and know that it was for me to become who I am.
Remember, we do not change our writing habits or success as martyrs to our craft.
Rather we are parents first, who happen to write. Whether on the side or full time. Nevertheless, we write while parenting. Even when it can be difficult. But, we do it anyway. Most of us love it.
How do you write while parenting? Share in the responses below.