Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Routine Is Key

I'm a mom. I'm a writer. Sometimes I have trouble juggling the two. I've known I'm not the only one, but it helps to see in writing that another knows exactly what I go through.

Michelle Tune from over at Writing the Cyber Highway directed me to a great article; I've just finished reading The Mother-Writer: Two Full-Time Jobs by Rebecca Laffar-Smith. In it she gives advice on how to stay sane, keep your priorities in check, and be productive at the same time.

Developing a routine is the first thing Rebecca mentions, and oh, how important it is. Not only is routine necessary to get things done for ourselves, our kids need it to thrive. And if we give our kids the structure they crave, everything else will fall into place. I've found that if I give my daughters the time and attention they want/need (which doesn't mean I have to forsake my own needs all the time - there's a happy medium), they'll be that much more likely to entertain themselves during the time I use to get my own things done.

The routine is pretty well set in my home. Meals, preschool, naps, bath; those basics all fall around the same time each day. Chores filter in accordingly, as well as quality time with my girls. Typically I get the most writing done during favorite morning cartoons, while the oldest is at preschool and the youngest is napping, and in the evenings after their bedtime. I've done some tweaking and fine-tuning the last several weeks, and I think everything works more smoothly for the lot of us.

Whether you're a mom (or dad) or not, what routine do you have?


Michele said...

Thanks for the link!

I'm glad you enjoyed Rebecca's article. She's great, huh?

I do hope you're taking advantage of all the knowledge, advice, tips, and information she shares at her blog, The Writer's Round-About.


Teige Benson said...

Happy New Year!

I thrive on routine - always have. This year sees me setting up a new routine (and one I'm still working on). Once I find what works, I'm sure my productivity will improve. Let's hope so anyway.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

*blushes* Thank you for the compliment. I'm glad you were able to take something with you from your reading of "The Mother-Writer". It really can be a challenge to keep the balance between the two.

At the moment my children are on their summer holidays (here in Australia) so it is even tougher. Routine tends to bounce a little but I'm trying to keep things together.

I often get an hour or so to read my emails and respond to blog comments in the morning before the kids are up or while they're watching cartoons. Then it's full steam ahead with breakfast, getting dressed and on school days getting my oldest off to school. This year I will be getting them both off to school some mornings now my youngest has four half days at Kindergarten.

I'm thankful that my kids are both so great, they're understanding and supportive of my career. They've learnt to play together nicely (most of the time) or independantly. I've learnt to be tuned into their background noise as I work in the morning.

Then it's lunch and a break to spend time with them and the house before returning for two hours or so in the afternoon.

Dinner, baths, and a wind down before bed then a little time for me. Often by the evening my working brain is mush and it is challenging to focus. I still take advantage of the few hours before I go to bed to do what I can.

It's amazing how productive we can be despite interruptions and a hectic lifestyle. It isn't easy but it sure is a lot of fun. :-)

Rebecca Laffar-Smith