Balancing Writing Time against Family Needs
I love your blog and look forward to reading your book, Linda. Thank you for having me on this week!
When I think about the situations you must have endured while caring for your ailing parents, I think of the word sacrifice – and on a grand scale.
A caregiver must not only endure, but often embrace the sacrifices which the needs of others demands. I’m finding that out on with my own family circumstances. Perhaps a little grace and humility filter in along the way as one goes about caring for aging parents or growing children. One can only hope.
In my struggles of trying to raise and teach my children while also trying to squeeze in time to take care of household chores and outdoor yard and home maintenance, not everything gets done. (My yard makes all my neighbors’ yards look great.) Whether I’m running the lawn mower, taking out the trash, picking choking hazards off the floor (darn Legos), wiping marker or pencil art off the walls, or changing diapers, the temptation to sit down and write teases me. But there’s still more to do.
There’s always more to do. But that’s okay. For even if I leave the mower in the yard, stalled on a half-mowed strip, or maybe leave a few dishes in the sink overnight in order to steal a few minutes a week to write some sentences or jot down a couple of ideas, I’m moving forward.
Yes, I want to do it all (and you probably do too), but I can’t. Not the way I want to, anyway. My constant struggle lies in deciding when I can indulge in my desire to write versus doing something else. God (and every busy parent) knows that there is not enough time in the day to have the perfect home/children/life or whatever.
So, maybe I can’t write all the time I’m thinking about writing – oh, well. That idea reservoir is always filling up, whether from things the kids say or do, or my own mental wanderings. Sometimes it’s just a trickle, sometimes it’s a downpour, but ideas, scenes and dialogues are constantly filling it up. And when I find a moment to open the spillway, the words flood the pages, and I’m relieved.
But the writing will end too quickly. For I’ll soon be needed to change a blowout diaper, or move a load of laundry, or cook a meal, or, yeah, you know. That’s when I try to remember that this is the moment I have, in my life, right now to share with others. For, right now my life is filled with little children. So I consider, what should I be doing with this moment? Should I be writing in my own little world, or sharing my time with my family?
I’ve sort of figured that out – for me – for now. While I formerly wrote whenever I could sit down at my laptop, I now mostly write in small bursts during the times I wait for a child to get done with dance class or band practice. (My laptop travels with me on my shuttle duties.) But when I tried to write at home during the day, I always felt irritated or guilty when one of the kids came to me for something. It’s hard to just shut off the flow of words when you’re going good, and I didn’t want to stop. However, I also didn’t want my children and wife to think that I valued the words I typed more than their time and presence. So I gave myself a nighttime writing schedule.
It’s been nice, to slow down my daytime writing regimen, so I can be present with my wife and children more. Most of my writing (like this guest post for Linda) is done late at night, where I’ll punch out words until I fall asleep on the kkkkkkkkkkeyboard. (Oops. Sorry about that. I guess I’d better wrap it up and get some sleep. Good night.)