Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Day in the Life of Writer-Mom.

I find it funny that one of the most common questions I've seen in interviews is: How do you balance being a writer (AKA marketing lackey, publicist, critique partner, editor, mental health counselor, etc.) and a mom (AKA cook, maid, chauffeur, nurse, dedicated alarm clock, surgeon of stuffed toys, etc.)?
So, I thought I'd give you guys a peek into the glamorous life that is writer-mom.

6:00 AM -- Alarm clock goes off. Unbeknownst to me, I hit snooze.

6:10 AM -- Do it 3 more times.

6:44 AM -- Fly out of bed, realizing I've overslept, again, and scramble to wake the natives. Put dogs outside.

7:07 AM -- Moderate burn from iron. Can't find matching socks to save my life. Wrestle the kids into the clothes while they insist on pirouetting through the living room. Let dogs inside.

7:10 AM -- Yell at dogs for eating out of child's cereal bowl. Crying child gets a consolatory granola bar.

7:30 AM -- Kids leave. Walk through the house, turning off every light upstairs that is inexplicably left on every day for no reason at all. Throw in a load of laundry. Pick up the crap in the floor that's in my direct path. Silently curse dog for eating insole of shoe. Shouldn't she be full after the cereal?

8:00AM -- Put dogs outside quickly. They're full of foam and Lucky Charms. Check email, FB, Twitter, Triberr, and 15 other app tabs at the top of computer. Shout out books and awesome people. Contemplate blogging but brain isn't working. Open current WIP doc and Google search window. Twitter app tab's lit up. Hop over there. Conversation ensues.

8:10AM -- Let dogs in. Swap out laundry. Debate folding load removed from dryer. Back to Twitter, er, work.

11:00 AM -- Notice it's now 11:00. Stomach growls, nothing sounds particularly appealing. Eat a spoonful of peanut-butter. Put dogs outside. Another load of clothes in. Plop back down in makeshift computer chair and continue wondering why exactly the lights were on at all this morning? What's remotely interesting in the closet? Very long rabbit trail follows along these lines: I need to clean out the closet. That means Tupperware and donation boxes which means I'd have to go to the store. Looks at clock. No time today. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow. I'll have to remember to get some mushrooms. I wonder why mushrooms make my feet hurt? I'm so old... Phone call.

12:45 PM -- Crap. It's after noon. Make the most of time and shout out books and people again. Check clock. Just over an hour to write, and I still haven't showered. Sulk to the bathroom, bypassing dirty dishes. Quick stop to let dogs in.

1:39 PM -- Get into perfect, harmonious writing groove.

1:50 PM -- Alarm goes off on my phone, reminding me to pick up my kids, because yes, I have to be reminded. Frantically type, trying to squeeze 5 hours worth of writing into 20 minutes.

2:35 PM -- Fuss at myself for not leaving on-time 10 minutes earlier. Pray I have enough gas to get one city over. It's too late to stop now.

2:50 - 3:20 PM -- Stuck waiting at school. Work thumbs to nubs trying to make most of sit-in time and do more marketing. Decide that's not interesting. Play Plants vs. Zombies.

4:00 PM -- Make it home after going through another exhaustive explanation about why McDonald's and donuts don't make for a healthy after-school meal. Break up senseless argument about imaginary medicine. Kindly demand youngest child stop making faces at oldest child. Repeat process when retaliation is sought. Threaten grounding for all involved. Pouting and tears ensue. Eye begins to twitch. Put dogs out.

4:09 - 6:27 PM -- Various household chores that are over a week behind. Scrounge around for dinner. Break up fight over which hair bow looks best. Remind kids to eat, not play. Insist on all toys being put away. Let dogs in. Remind anyone within earshot to feed the chickens and the cat.

7:00 - 7:45PM -- Homework. Step over toys still scattered through house. Bathe kids. Clean their teeth. Pajamas for all. Listen to oldest's dissertation on why a later bedtime should be in order. Shoot down dissertation for the umpteenth time. Read story. Decline request for second story and TV. Grit teeth through whining. Eye continues twitching. Put dogs out.

Credit Chris at
8:03 - 9:15PM -- Quiet time with hubby, less the two interruptions from youngest child wanting to lay on couch/floor/chair/etc. Let dogs in. Phone call.

9:22PM -- Head to bed, intent on enough sleep tonight. Pajamas. Teeth. Pick up book to relax for 10 minutes.

12:43AM -- Lay down book. Turn off light. Think about book for 30 minutes. Finally fall asleep.

It's okay to be jealous of me ;) In all seriousness, balancing writing with anything else is a tough act. It can get overwhelming. When your writing, you feel like you should be cleaning. When you're cleaning, you feel like you should be spending more time with your family. And when you're with your family, you're thinking about that deadline looming over your head.

I get lost in all the To-Do's and tend to want to shut down entirely. The important thing to remember is, at the end of the day, if you can't get your word count where you intended or your clothes are laying on the table, still not folded, the world won't come crashing down. You get another chance tomorrow. So, enjoy your family. Your children won't be children forever. And while some days it gets to be a lot to handle, just think about how blessed you are to have two, capable hands.

Happy writing!


  1. Story of my life...each and every day.
    What a great post!