Approximate reading time: 2 and ½ minutes
Many of you know that I am highly organised. As such, some of you have asked me to share my tips on how I’ve been maintaining a balance between home schooling obligations and finding time to write. Here are some of my suggestions:
#1. Be realistic about what you can achieve.
This was the first problem I had to tackle. On a typical school day, I could average 3000+ words. Obviously, that had to change because I needed to allocate some of my day into teaching my children. I’ve had to not only work out a new realistic daily word count for myself but also what I can achieve as far as educating my children.
Which leads to point 2.
#2. Understand that you do not have the same time, resources, experience, and knowledge as a teacher.
If you are like me, your children’s teachers would have sent you a large amount of resources. After a quick scan, I realised there was no possible way I could cover all of it in the suggested time frame.
I refused to feel guilty about this, especially considering I am not a professional teacher and I also have career, study, and family/home commitments to juggle. I have said this before, but it is worth repeating: You are NOT Supermum. Do not burn yourself out due to societal expectations.
Which leads to the next point.
#3. Decide on YOUR new normal.
What is normal for you during this challenging time will be different to everyone else. There is no right way or wrong way. We are all doing our best. If you can only arrange thirty minutes of lessons a day for your children, that is fine. If you can arrange six hours a day, that is also fine. Right now (and, this might change in future), I am sitting at around three hours a day.
At this point, you might be asking, “Where does writing fit in”? I’m glad you asked. Check out point 4.
#4. Schedule time for your writing.
If you’ve read my other blogs (on my writer’s website – www.aklauthorservies.com – as well as on this one), then you know I am a believer in scheduling time for writing. In creating my new normal, I’ve had to reschedule my writing time. What does this look like?
I have allocated myself an hour at lunch time, an hour after homeschool, and an extra hour at night. This has meant some sacrifices on my children’s part as well as on mine. I have also had to relax some of my usual rules.
Something else you can do is:
#5 Utilise “between-times”.
Between-times are those instances when you are waiting for a short time. This can include when a child goes to the toilet (which, I’ve noticed, takes longer at homeschool!), when you’re on hold on the phone, or when you’re waiting for the washing machine to finish its spin cycle. I am currently writing this sentence as my children are solving maths problems. If you pay attention, there are a multitude of between-times you can take advantage of.
Having said that, I typically use between-times for something I will discuss in a future blog, however, now is the time to incorporate them into your writing routine, if you can. You will be surprised how much you can get done in snatches of five minutes throughout the day.
This carries to the next point.
#6 Night owl or early bird?
I am naturally a night owl. That is why I’ve given myself an extra hour at night in which to write. If you are an early bird, you can operate on the same principal and wake up an hour earlier. Work within your own inclinations. I’ve never understood blanket writing advice which advocates one over the other. Working to your own nature is going to make you much more inspired and creative.
This leaves me one final point to make.
#7 Give yourself credit and cut yourself some slack.
This is a strange and unexpected situation. Nobody knows what they’re doing! Remind yourself that you don’t need to be perfect (whatever that is) and you don’t need to be Supermum (that’s a myth). Give yourself the credit you deserve for the effort you’re making and cut yourself some slack. You’re doing great.
I hope these seven tips have helped you navigate the balance between homeschool and writing (and motherhood). With a little tweaking, you can create a happy compromise for your children’s education and your writerly (or other creative) muse.
Do you have anything else you can suggest? Please share it in the comments below.
Yours in love and romance books,
A.K. Leigh xxoo
Approximate reading time: 1 minute
As a full-time writer, writing coach, freelance editor, part-time student, and mother of three, I understand all too well about the dreaded “mother guilt”! The judgemental attitudes from others, coupled with your own ideas about what it means to be a mother and the competing needs of your children, can exacerbate the situation. So how can you follow your dreams AND avoid mother guilt? Here are five simple techniques you can use to manage it:
#1 – Know that it is okay for you to have dreams and goals that are outside of your parental persona.
This one is probably the hardest. We currently live in a society that tells women that being a mother is the only thing they should want. Of course, women are as human as men, and have desires, hopes, and passions that include things other than children – I know this might come as a shock, but some women don’t even want children *gasp*!
It is okay (and healthy and natural) for you to have dreams and goals that are outside of your parental persona. Repeat that as a mantra. Write it on a post it note where you can see it any time you get hit with guilt. Remind the people in your life that you are as entitled to dreams as they are.
#2 – Give yourself permission to follow your dreams and goals.
You’ve worked on telling yourself that it is okay to have dreams and goals, but have you given yourself permission to follow them yet?
This might seem similar to point 1 but knowing something and accepting them are two different things. Know that you are allowed dreams then accept that you can follow them. In other words, give yourself permission.
Here’s another big take away: you don’t need anyone else’ permission.
#3 – Understand the full impact of points 2 and 3 on your children.
Doing these things will model for your children (especially daughters) that it is acceptable and normal to go after your dreams when you are a mother. It will stop another generation of girls growing up to feel mother guilt and will stop another generation of boys assuming it is odd for women to want things outside of the home. You are not only doing this for you but also for your children.
#4 – Counteract mother guilt with quality time.
Planning special one-on-one moments with your children as well as group activities can help ease your feelings and create deeper bonds. None of this has to be expensive or time-consuming (though, both of those options are fine if that’s the way you row your boat).
For instance, my children and I will do a living room picnic, or backyard reading session, or nature collecting together. One-on-ones include doing their favourite activity or even going for a walk, just the two of us. This is quality time that also creates special memories.
#5 – Ask for support.
Ask significant others, family, friends, and your children to support you in your endeavours. Due to the myth of the “Supermum”, women sometimes try to do everything themselves. This is an impossible standard. You ARE allowed to ask for help and support.
Is there anything else you do that helps you to follow your dreams and avoid mother guilt? Please share in the comments.
Yours in love and romance books,
About A.K. Leigh
A.K. Leigh is an international-selling romance author, identical triplet, writing instructor, incurable romantic, love guru, self-love advocate, amateur mystic, mother, sometimes blogger and vlogger, and trauma survivor.