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Can a writer mom really find balance?

I’m a mom.

I’m also a full-time employee, a wife, a writer.

It’s not the plot gaps or the POV switches that make me question my ability to write. It’s not the lack or overabundance of ideas. It’s not the mind numbing fear that “I’m totally kidding myself.” (Well, much anyway)

It’s the balance.

I walk a tightrope every second of the day and with one false step, over I go, into the abyss of self-doubt. Is it really possible to do it all? Not only do it all, but to do it well?

I have visions for my boys. I want them to grow up confident and happy. I see changes in them every day and it makes me wonder where the heck the time goes. When I go into my writers cave, I tend to uber-focus and not come up for air until the urge subsides. I look around, blink at the brightness of the sun, and realize my kids have matured (Or made a mess in the living room!) while I was off in my own world.

The thing I try to come to terms with, is if it’s okay or not. Am I missing parts of their lives or am I showing them that if you want your dreams to come true, you need to work hard. I struggle for balance. I want to be the mom my boys remember as having fun with, hanging out, playing and learning. I want to be the wife who listens when my husband talks about his day, to share his joys and help him get over the humps. I love my day job and want to be a great employee who works hard for the company and be part of why it grows.

That’s a lot of hats to wear. Where does my writer’s hat fit in? Is my closet too crowded for one more accessory? Do I really even need it?

I’ve come to realize I do need it. Having so little time to devote to writing has made me more organized. I have to plan my day. I get up at 5AM so I can work out before I head to work. I write for an hour at my quiet desk. Then I work all morning. Write on my lunch hour. Work for the afternoon. During the school year I pick the kids up and we go home. Snacks, PBS kids and another hour or so of writing among requests for PB&J and milk. Dinner time. Then family time. (Something we instigated recently to help us all reconnect after a busy day) Then its bedtime for the boys, an hour or so of adult time, off to bed to do it all over again.

Some days it feels like I am spinning my wheels. Cleaning falls by the wayside. I forget to stop and fill the car up with gas and have to do it before I go to work. The boys are fighting and even Curious George won’t settle them down. Those are the days I accept I can’t do it all and just let the tide take me wherever it needs to go. Things have a way of settling down after awhile. My muse gets a break and usually will work out scenes in my head, so that when I’m ready, it just flows.

It’s not foolproof. It’s not perfect. I have days where I feel like a terrible mom. A cruddy wife. That I can’t possibly think of writing an entire book until the kids graduate from college. Dishes are piled up. Laundry has taken over. I want to run around the house having a tantrum like my 5 year old does.

OK, so maybe I do do that when no one is looking.

Balance-Possible or a pipe dream for us moms?
Lee Bross

Lee lives her happily ever after on the coast of Maine where she has written Tangled Webs, her historical YA debut, and fantasy YA books Fates and Chaos under pen name Lanie Bross. She also writes contemporary books for New Adult under the name L.E. Bross, debuting with Right Where You Are.

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  1. You said it all.
    I write after everyone's in bed, which means I average six hours of sleep each and every night. But if I didn't write, I don't think I'd be happy.
    Great post, Lee.

  2. No kids here, but I do have a freelance writing/editing/paper grading career = huge creativity sapper. And yet I find that during the lulls between classes and assignments, when I have a surplus of time on my hands, I'm often inclined to waste it. I'm most productive when I know a window of time is the only time I'll get that day.

  3. I so feel your pain, Lee! It's hard to find the time. For me, it's naptime, even though that's when I should be doing other stuff. But it's my only guaranteed free time, so I take full advantage.

  4. You moms are amazing. It really makes me realize I should never, ever gripe about not having time to write. I don't know how you guys do it.

  5. Writer mom here! It's a struggle most days to juggle everything going on in my house - especially since I homeschool, too. But I have to remember that my writing time belongs to me. I've earned it and I will take it, no matter what else is going on around me. One quote that keeps me going is "Be the woman you want your daughter to be."

  6. Well, if we only wrote for money, writing might drive us crazy. Personally, I'm 15 and only have school to deal with. I can't relate to you writer moms out there, but keep doing what you're doing. Write because you love it.


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