Feb 16, 2011

Finding Time

Reading: Rogue by Rachel Vincent

Listening to: The beautiful sound of silence . . . while my baby sleeps!

Watching: Off the Map – new show starring New Zealand’s own Martin Henderson

Making me Smile: My dogs coming inside wet from the rain and being super-excited about it

I’ve always admired mothers who manage to stay at home and care for their children, as well as write multiple books each year. Now, as a first time mother myself, I’m wondering how they do it.

Our new baby is sleeping pretty well compared to others, however dealing with 4-5 hours sleep each night instead of 8+ is tough. So is trying to hold down work as a freelance writer, write books, and get dinner on the table. But at the end of the day, I love what I do, and I wouldn’t want to stop writing for a moment. The tough part is finding balance, to be a great mother, wife and writer.

So for all those fabulous mothers reading this, who are brilliant at juggling their time, what are your secrets and tips? How do you find time for your family and your work, and manage to keep your sanity?

At times it sure feels like a juggling game, but indulging in something I love – writing – sure seems worth it. Even if at times it does seem tough to fit everything in.


  1. Hi Soraya! I got published in 2006 when my boy was 6, but before then I was still juggling deadlines. The best piece of advice I got was 'sleep when he sleeps'. Your world is crazy and strange and different when you have to juggle, but don't let it bring you down - for ages I was waking at 4am, sleeping at 3pm, living in my trackies with ponytailed hair for months and months. And I didn't get a full nights' sleep until he was around 2-ish. Delegate what you can to older siblings and partner and make a schedule - I have a full yearly calendar on my door and know exactly when projects and events are due. I also have a daily to-do list and an in tray that I attack every day :-) Also, make and freeze meals, order out, enlist the help of relatives or friends to give yourself a bit of escape time.

  2. Hi Soraya,
    my best piece of advice - take one step at a time, and do things as they come, or believe me, they build up and your left with a mountain of work!!
    Having children AND being able to write is very precious =)

  3. Hi Soraya,

    All the best with juggling motherhood with other work!

  4. I wish I had some good advice about but those years are still a blur in my mind! Whoever said babies sleep a lot in their first year?! Hugs and thoughts with you.

    However, I do wish I hadn't felt so conflicted when my writing slowed down in the early years. Now I think life is long and babies are babies for such a short time -it just feels like an eternity :)

  5. Soraya, hate to tell you but the only answer is no sleep. If I slept when my kids slept I'd never get anything done - it's the only time I get to achieve things (Paula's advice is very sound, just not practical). After years of no sleep you get used to it :-)

    The other thing is to ignore the housework. People will look at your well adjusted adult child and remember you for how well you raised them - not the messy house of their childhood. At least, I am firmly hanging on to that!!

  6. I have no advice, Soraya, not being a Mum -- except not to beat yourself up too much :-). I stand in awe of anyone who can successfully juggle motherhood and work and writing ... our own Natalie must be superb at it, though, what with so many young children and a writing career. Maybe she'll have some words of wisdom?

    Oh, yes, I do have some advice! Win lotto and hire a housekeeper/cook!

  7. Soraya, like Emily, I'm in awe of you juggling a career as a writer with being a wife and mother. So be kind to yourself!

    All you writing mum's out there are amazing!

  8. Hey Soraya! Given for how many years you've hung on the end of the phone while I've panicked - we both know how hard it can be! & I think balance is the hardest thing to find as a working mum. Especially a writer - we're so passionate about our kids but also so passionate about our craft, it can be so hard to give all to both... I guess the key is just to relax, everything has it's season. If you can find an hour a day to work on your story - every day - it will get done. Of course, you need help for that. That year when I had 4 preschoolers, incl two very vulnerable babies, it was my husband who got that time for me - every night he took the babies away for an hour or so so I could get the words down. My mum would come and help out too. And we had paid help - a trainee kindy teacher who would work alongside me with all the kids in the late afternoon-everything's-falling-apart zone. That sent us into the red for a while, but it was worth it. Never be afraid to ask for help and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Because, as you'll hear so many people say, it goes SO fast... and it really does :)
    You want to be in a position to be able to enjoy it - both baby and books. Sleep DEFINITELY helps - and its so nice to go to sleep dreaming of a lovely romance for your characters! :)

  9. What Nat said! We can do a darn lot, but we can't do it all. The house doesn't have to look fabulous. Ironing is really overrated. Yes! Ask for help. We hate doing that, don't we, lol. And enjoy them while they're young. Baby to 12 months is my fave tme =)

  10. Soraya - I have nothing but admiration for those mums who are also writers (or those mums who also work and on top of that are also writers). I know first hand how much more productive I am when I'm busy so maybe it's the same for those women? And maybe you'll be one of them...

    Do you love the optimism?? LOL.

    But like everyone has been saying, don't beat yourself up. We grew up being told we can do anything but no-one thought to tell us we can't to do *everything*.

    Go with your instinct and use your time where it is most needed/important.

    And don't miss these important moments with your new bubba. Too precious.