This guest post is by Marya Zainab of Writing Happiness.
Are you a blogger? Are you also a Mum with school age kids? Or a stay-at-home Dad?
If you’re like me, you might find it really difficult to manage your time—and your life—to get some writing done. You are talented, you are persistent. If only you could be really productive, so you can get some work done.
And you can be! All it takes is smart use of your time. This is what I recommend. Feel free to take what gels and discard the rest.
It’s okay to lie to people who don’t “get it”
Have you ever tried to tell your son’s school teacher that the reason why you can’t volunteer at the latest fun raiser is because you have to blog?
Apart from the blank stare that you’d most likely get, you would then have to explain yourself, become defensive and go away feeling very guilty, or carry a list of stuff that you ended up saying yes to.
Try telling the teacher you have other commitments that you simply can’t get out of.
One of your not-so-close friends is having a casual get together? Tell her you have some work-related stuff to do.
If the world is going to pretend that I, as a blogger, don’t have kids, I am going to pretend I have imaginary work-related commitments.
Think of the whole process as trying to save yourself the guilt trip and spare others trying to understand what blogging is. Tell people who do understand, by all means; they probably will get it anyway.
Appliances are your best friends
I don’t have a dishwasher in my house. For one, I don’t have the space for it, but the real reason is that I really don’t mind doing the dishes. This is almost a mind-cleansing activity for me.
The fact that I don’t have to use my brain to wash the dishes keeps my hands occupied while I have the time to clear my head and sort through things. I often get my best ideas when I am doing the dishes, and often go away (happily at that) to jot ideas.
But you might hate it! And that’s even more the reason to get a trusted dishwasher, if you haven’t already. While you’re in the process, get yourself a dryer, a weekly cleaning service (if you can afford it), kids’ car pools etc. Do your grocery shopping online. Let kids become a part of the solution—assign them some basic chores.
Outsource as many things that don’t require you personally to get done. This can save you valuable time.
My most favorite—TV, of course! Although use it with caution, and use sparingly. A close second is take-away one week night so I don’t have to worry about cooking for that night.
Get some help from Dad
Nothing beats a hands-on Dad. Get his help with various chores and kids activities.
Get him to cook one night of the week. Ask him to take the kids for their weekend sports. Ask him to do the night-time-bath-and-story-book thing once a week. Is he naturally more chatty, more outgoing than you are? Swap roles of being a “school mum.”
Is he stronger than you? Of course he is—remind him of this when he is grumbling about mopping the floors!
The only way a mum can survive as a blogger is to be as flexible as possible. You will miss out on a lot if you don’t.
There will always be things related to your kids and your household that you would have to do first. You won’t be able to write if your four-year-old is screaming for Spaghetti Bolognese right now. You won’t be able to write if your kid is at home sick—or your partner is home sick behaving like one.
Making an occasional batch of cupcakes with your kids will earn you serious brownie points and will go a long way in creating a harmonious relationship. Hopefully, they will then take a long time to eat those cupcakes as you sit down to write.
Just relax and look at a problematic situation differently. And be flexible.
Live one life
If your blog permits it, bring your children in the picture. Let them sprinkle their magic on your blog.
Then turn around the do the same for them—let your kids see you work. Show them you are as proud of your blog as you are of them. They may not understand it if they are little, but they will get used to see you do other things beside cook and clean.
Just the other day, my four-year-old told his older brother, “stop blogging me!” That lead to great laughter all around. He might not know what blogging is—he probably thinks it a synonym for “blocking”—but at least he is aware of the lingo. Many adults still aren’t.
Put on your oxygen mask first
How many times have you heard that happy parents make for a happy household?
Well, that is in fact the truth. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others. Do the things that really make you happy. This doesn’t make you selfish. Think of it as an investment. When you invest in yourself, your family reaps the rewards.
If blogging inspires you, by all means do it. Remember that you would have to prioritize some time for yourself, otherwise you will never be able to get it done.
Every time I complete my blogging goals for the day, I feel on top of the world. I am a happier mum, I am a joy to be around, and my kids love me even more.
You don’t have to be a poster parent
Resist to be a contestant for the race of being the Best Mum in the world. There are plenty of things you can do without:
- You don’t have to bring adorable, homemade snacks to your kids’ school. Realize that you can buy cookies from the supermarket and nobody will really care.
- You don’t have to have your house in tip-top condition. Well in case nobody ever told you, kids are messy: they make a mess everywhere they go! Must you clean after them all day long? Avoid doing activities that lead to even more messes, especially when you are running short on time.
- Ironing your family’s PJ’s? Hello!
A blogging parent and pedestal parent are not mutually exclusive. Stop comparing yourself with others. Aim for “good enough.”
It’s about the quality than quantity. Be present. Be truly present in the moment, whatever you are doing. Whether it be playing with your kids, or writing that next blog post that goes viral. If you are distracted and spread yourself too thin, you will end up totally exhausting yourself.
- Plan your day well ahead of the schedule. If there’s one thing every blogger mum or dad needs, it is to manage their time. You have to become extremely organized and self-disciplined—and you need an organizer.
- Create more detailed to-do lists.
- Plan weekly menus.
- Organize your outfits for the week if you work outside the house.
- For a clutter-free house, give something away when you buy something new. It’s a great lesson to pass on to your children as well.
Take this advice, and you’ll have more meaningful time to spend with your family, and even some left over for yourself. Best of all, you won’t feel so guilty about the time spent blogging.
Find a great blogging partner
While it sounds fantastic to have some real-life friends who are mums and bloggers on top of it, it’s very unlikely you will magically discover them.
I am very lucky to have a best friend who actually encouraged me to take up blogging in the first place. She is the most wonderful person to talk about my blogging “habit,” as even my husband struggles be understanding sometimes.
Find yourself other blogger mums online, take your time time to get to know them and then befriend one or two as real friends—not just the networking sort of friend. You will sleep better knowing you have one person who “gets it!”
Blogger mums and dads, what tips and tricks can you add to this list? Share them with us in the comments.
Marya is a communicator of ideas – writing for bloggers, writers and content creators. Catch more of her posts at Writing Happiness. Grab her FREE 29 page ebook How to Write Blog Content that Works – Get Noticed Online (and elsewhere!). Follow her @WritingH, she is very friendly.