If you love your sleep, you will find it difficult to be a mother who writes. I say this because our primary focus as mothers is to make sure that our children's needs are met, everything else is secondary. This means, if you don't fit writing somewhere between mothering and sleep, you'll never find the time to write. I have been a mother who writes for at least half a decade, and I still often find it hard to balance the two.
Yesterday, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I found myself scrambling to meet a writing deadline for a magazine I submit to quarterly. I was in my office, the children were downstairs watching TV and my husband was somewhere in the house. Yet, even on a quiet Sunday afternoon, it seemed almost impossible to focus. That's because I do my best writing in isolation and silence, but Isolation and silence in my household can only be found when everyone is asleep during the night. As a result, I have trained myself to write during those hours. Here's how I make that work:
Sleep Early: This was (and still is occasionally) my biggest challenge! It's a challenge because priorities change throughout the day. A child might need extra attention, I might have to stay up late on a conference call, or I might just want to stay up with my husband and catch a great movie, etc. The goal however is to be consistent and persistent with your nightly routine. And that routine must work towards getting you up early in the morning so you can write as intended. Having this in mind, I make it a point to be asleep no later than 10 p.m. every night.
Rise Early: This takes practice, and you will oversleep when you first get started on a routine. Be kind to yourself when you're tempted to snooze, but be persistent with your alarm clock. With day-in-day-out practice, the day will come when waking up before your 4:30 a.m. alarm will become second nature.
Maximize Your Time: The hours of sleep that you sacrifice so you can write, is not the time to check your email or check your social media pages. Use that time to WRITE ONLY! There will be several other hours during the day when you can attend to the things that are not such a priority.
Being a mother who writes is a tricky combination full of contradictions. Your children can be your fuel and your reason for writing while also being your energy drainers and the reason you sometimes don't get to write. Find what works for you timewise, and practice it until it sticks. What are some hacks that work for you as a writer and a mother? Feel free to share your hacks in the comments below.