Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday So What: Mommy Writer's Guilt

I have an epic case of Mommy Writer's Guilt. I am neck deep in revisions and the changes that I thought would be easy, have ended up altering the entire structure of my book. Characters are falling by the wayside.  Lost and forgotten.  Including the two most important characters... my kids.

I have an almost 3 yr old and a 5 and half yr old. I'm worried that for the last week and the next one to come, they are orphans. My husband is going to school full time and in the middle of finals. When he's home, he's locked in his office.And I have spent at least 40 hours this week making the editorial revisions. Trying to meet my deadline in a week and a half.

If I don't lock myself away, then I am constantly distracted by the screaming and guts flying everywhere. Don't worry-- it was just the Teddy Bear's. He pulled through the reconstructive surgery. If I wait until they are asleep, I can only make it until 10 oclock before my brain turns to mush.

To make matters worse, next week I start school again too. For five hours a day, the little ones are going to be shipped off to grandma's, summer camp, or whoever else I can get to take them. I feel horrible. Up until this year, I have been a stay at home mom who's main task of the day was making sure the kids had bathtime.

 I am used to spending every waking moment with my kids. They still follow me to the bathroom. Now I'm seeing them less and less. Normally, I try not to let my WIP take time from my kids. I write during preschool or dance class. But schools out, and the deadline is looming.

Am I just making excuses by saying that it's only temporary? Just another week and then when I'm home.. I'm all theirs? Or am I horrible mommy neglecting my kids?

Do you struggle with writing and other pursuits getting in the way of family time? What do you do? Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated. Sorry that this isn't my normal upbeat kind of post, but I wanted to share what I was feeling.

Hopefully I can survive the next 8 days, but if not, you can read me post mortem :) This week's posts are De-Sensitivity Training for the Zombie Apocalypse and The Incredible Shrinking Catwoman.


  1. I know EXACTLY how you feel. I hate that feeling that I'm being pulled in two different directions, especially when your heart is telling you one is right and your brain is telling you to focus on the other. Here's 2 things that have always helped me:

    1. Have a Timer Day. Whenever I have a big project of any kind that I know is going to interfere with my time with my kids, I find a Timer Day to be a good solution. I choose a certain amount of time, maybe for writing you can do 30 minutes on, 15 minutes off- sit down with the kids and tell them that Mom has important work to do, but you also want to be with them. Tell them you're setting the timer for 30 minutes and that's the amount of time you'll be working and they'll need to give you your space. When the timer goes off, reset it for 15 minutes (or longer, if you can) and spend that time with them- read stories, play a game, etc. Once the timer goes off, head back to your writing again. Try to find something quiet that doesn't need your involvement for them to do during that time.

    I like Timer Days because I still feel like I'm involved with my kids and not abandoning them, and they think the timer thing is kind of fun and they know they have me for sure at regular intervals throughout the day, but I still get my stuff done. It can also help to give yourself a list of things to do- both with the kids and with your writing. Make a list of fun activities you can do with the kids that will take 15 minutes or less, then make a list of writing goals for you that you can do in 30 minutes or less. For the kids' list you could even write them on slips of paper and stick them in a jar and let the kids pull one out each time.

    2. PRAY!! Whenever I start my day with a prayer it always seems to go so much better. I pray that I will be prompted to do the right things at the right times, and whenever I feel that little tug that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing (working a little too much away from the kids or procrastinating something else I should be doing) I will pause and say a silent prayer to ask the Lord to guide me. Days like that I always manage to squeeze in everything I want/need to do, and I end the day feeling like I was the mother that the Lord wanted me to be.

    Sorry I'm being so long-winded, I just hope this helps! Good luck to you!!!

    1. It does. Thanks alot. I might have to grab a timer. I only have the one on the microwave

  2. Arrange play dates for your kids for the time you write and volunteer to take their friends for a couple hours after you've met your deadline.

    Find a fun sensory activity they can do nearby like playdough and don't worry about the mess.

    Explain to your children that it is time to work. Give them something to color so they can work while you work.

    Get little snack baggies and fill them with a treat. Tell your kids they get a bag for every ten minutes they're quiet.

    Kids outgrow nap time but they don't outgrow quiet time. Have each go in their own room and play quietly. Play a cd in their room and tell them they can come out when the cd is over.

    Schedule some kid time. They won't be after your attention if you freely give it to them.

    Good luck!

  3. Oooohhh Janice. Those are fabulous ideas. I knew I liked you ;)

  4. My story is different from the other mommy writers. My youngest son had (has) a problem with certain foods. He would become hyper-hyper active when he ate any dairy products. Yeah, try taking away his favorite foods in all the world. He was more than a handful and needed my constant attention just to survive. He also didn't sleep until after he was 5 years old--that was when we discovered his allergy.

    I was blessed, I know I was--am! Heavenly Father didn't let me have that urge to write until my children were in high school and they were involved in things that took up huge blocks of time, time where I could take a notebook and pen, and write while I waited for them to get out of Seminary, or school, or band practice, at whatever it was during that particular semester. I know, I just know with every fiber of my being, that there would not have been a way for me to write when my children were small. When they slept, I had to sleep. I'm an artist. I had to give that up when they were young. I am now painting again, and earning awards with each competition.

    I kept having the saying running through my head: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

    My last child was married one year ago this month. I "retired" from being that full-time, stay-at-home mom, and I've delved into the world of being a full-time author. This is my decision. I've gone at it with all my might, mind, and strength, and most importantly, now with my husband's support. My first book is being published this fall. The second soon after. I'm under contract for follow-up books in the series. This is where I want to be, and I don't feel guilty about it one little bit.

    Don't push aside your inspirations, whatever the little voices are saying. Like Kasey said, pray, and you'll know how to spend your time.



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