Before I became a mom, I was a graduate student. Back then I remember being overwhelmed by the workload, only to have a professor assure me that when I had children it would be even worse. I was terrified and skeptical at the same time.
It turns out, he was right.
Between cooking, cleaning, and hiding snacks in my closet there is hardly time to have the nervous breakdown I so desperately need. So how do you find the time to write (or whatever your passion is) when you barely have time to breathe?
Idea 1: Just never sleep!
I recall in grad school anything over four hours of sleep was considered superfluous. I’m sure it was said tongue-in-cheek, but honestly if you’re going to find time to pursue your dream it might mean waking up an hour early or going to bed an hour late. Which you choose likely depends on if you are a morning person or a night owl. I’m more of the latter, so sometimes once the kids are in bed I’ll get out the old laptop and pluck away!
That goes double for those nights insomnia hits and you just can’t get to sleep anyway. You might as well do something that will help tire your mind out.
Idea 2: Use that long commute!
When I was an undergraduate I regularly drove an hour each way to get to school. So if I wasn’t preoccupied with an exam or term paper I’d plan out scenes in my head while I was driving. Obviously, don’t do anything reckless like try to write while you drive. Wait until you’re home and then sit in your car for five minutes with a pen and paper and jot down the gist of what you were imagining during your commute. Use these notes the next time you have a spare moment to flesh out the scene.
Idea 3: Lunch is unnecessary!(?)
Eating might be mandatory, but multitasking your way through lunch might be essential. If you eat with your left hand, you can still write with your right. Even if all you can manage is ten minutes, you’d be surprised how that adds up over the course of several weeks.
Idea 4:Make a date with yourself!
When I was in school, the only distraction I had when I got home was my cat. As much as she liked to cuddle up on my lap, I could still work around her.
With kids, it’s completely different. They might need to be reminded several times that “mommy is working” before they get the hint. If that doesn’t work, plan a date with yourself. Get your spouse to watch the kids while you take off for a while. This will likely only work once a month, so save this for a really important part of your writing that requires the most concentration. Don’t forget to return the favor either by offering your partner a night out too!
Idea 5: Bribery
Okay, so sometimes (maybe even all of the time) it’s impossible to get away from the kids. In that case, a little bribery might be in order. It’s really hard for your kids to interrupt your work when they’re mouths are full of candy. Just saying…
Idea 6: Private yacht
Not a lot of moms remember that they can just get on their private yacht and sail around the bay a few times. The internet reception might not be so good but the endless peace and quiet more than makes up for it! Just be sure to ask your butler to keep his phone on silent mode. Pro-tip: pack some Dramamine if you get seasick.
Idea 7: Let something else go
Take a careful inventory of your life and see if there isn’t something you’re doing that you could cut out to make more time. Maybe you’ve been volunteering too much or spreading yourself thin with extracurriculars. Maybe you even have friends always wanting to hang out (hahaha, just kidding!).
Really take inventory of your time, and see if there isn’t someway to make a little room. It might mean that one night a week is frozen pizza night, just so you have a little more time to focus on your writing or whatever.
Idea 8: Let some of your stuff go
Just like things you do, stuff you have will take up valuable time to maintain. Really consider if the items around you are adding to your life or if they’ve become a burden.
Try to keep things tidy. The less you have the easier this will be. If things are well organized it will save you a lot of time in the long run!
This is perhaps the area I struggle the most in. I am extremely sentimental, so deciding what to hold onto and what to get rid of can be overwhelming.
I still remember the moment it occurred to me that I was never going to get to all of the little projects I had been saving. I suddenly felt old, and like I was having to let go of what might have been. But alas, such is life. Ask yourself if you are going to enjoy doing the projects you keep holding on to, or if you just feel obligated to complete them because you spent a lot of money. If it’s the latter, let the project go!
Do you have any more suggestions? Drop your ideas in the comments below!