I don’t know about you, but I have a strange fascination with peeking into other mothers’ lives.
Does that sound weird?
It’s not, I swear. It has more to do with wondering exactly how other mothers manage to do it all on a daily basis. Much like how I occasionally watch the Duggars on Netflix and fixate on the fact that Michelle has been pregnant for like 20 years of her life. How does someone physically do pregnancy that many times? And why does she never raise her voice? And horror of horrors for even thinking this, but how much sex do they have??
But I digress.
I’ve gotten a couple of questions from readers on how exactly I structure my writing during the day and exactly how many hours I put in with work, so I wanted to lay it all out.
First off, when I first started trying to work as a writer, I would get so frustrated at blogs or other articles that encouraged up and coming writers with little kids at home to book regular time with a babysitter. That’s wonderful advice, of course, but when I first started, there was just one teensy problem with it:
I wasn’t making any money from my writing.
Aside from not feeling like I could justify the expense of a regular babysitter, when my two youngest were babies they also refused bottles of any kind. And because I exclusively breastfed them, sending them for any lengthy period of time was also a problem.
So for a long, long time (the first three years of all of this, honestly), I worked around the kiddos, during nap times, a lot of early mornings, snatches of time before dinner, and weekends when I wasn’t working at the hospital. It wasn’t ideal, but I hoped that someday, my efforts would pay off.
It helped to be able to make it work without a babysitter because I have always, always worked from home in some capacity, beginning during my last semester of college, when I was still pregnant with Ada. So for the past six years of my life, that’s been my normal and my day has always had that ebb and flow. So, since as long as I’ve been a mom, working from home is normal for me.
Nowadays, having reached the goals I set for myself financially for writing, I feel comfortable that if I have a lot going on that week, it makes financials sense for me to send the little kids to their great-aunt’s house, where she watches other little kids, including my niece occasionally. It’s family and my kids love it–they beg me to go there all the time and I feel like it’s a win-win because they get to run and play like they don’t always do here and I get uninterrupted time to work!
Usually, I send the kids there about once a week; when I was working full-time as an editor, it was two times a week, but now that I have officially given up my gig as a magazine editor, I’m doing more sane hours solely as a freelance writer.
On the day the kids are out of the house, I drop Ada off at school, rush home and work for a solid six hours before picking her up again. I literally do nothing else; no housework, no laundry, nothing. I make those hours count, as much as I kind of feel dazed after staring at the computer screen all day at the end of the day.
The rest of the week, my day looks a little something like this:
- 7:00 am: Typical wake-up time for Ben and I. Take a few minutes to throw myself together–seriously, I very rarely look put together at all, but for the sake of pretending…
- 7:30 am: Get Ada up, dressed, packed and ready for school.
- 8:00 am: Ada leaves for school most days with Ben (I only have to drop her off once a week at school with the rest of the kiddos.)
- 8-9 am: The little ones wake up and we have breakfast/cartoon time. Lately Jake has been really attached to me, so we spend a lot of mornings just snuggling on the couch.
- 9-11 am: This is my busy household part of the day. I try to do all my housecleaning during this time–all of the typical kitchen stuff and then one or two “big” projects that will make sure I get the house clean by the time the week is done. Bathrooms one day, vacuuming the next, that sort of thing. I also always do some kind of dinner prep for that night. I may check emails on my phone or schedule some Facebook posts during this time, but very rarely do I ever do any computer work during this time. The kids usually just play and follow me around the house as I run around frantically.
- 11-12: Usually the kids and I will move downstairs or upstairs and tackle laundry before lunch. Our basement has our laundry room and is a giant play room, so it’s nice for the kids to play and get out a bunch of energy while I get laundry done.
- 12-1: Lunch and clean-up.
- 1-3 pm: Jake takes a nap and I get down to business. Mya doesn’t nap anymore, so usually I settle her with some kind of activity, like coloring, or playing quietly in her room. And yes, sometimes I have enormous guilt about this time, but it is what it is. Surely two hours of unsupervised play can’t be bad for her, right? And truth: sometimes I totally let her watch a movie so I can work on the couch next to her.
- 3 pm: Pack the kids up and pick Ada up from school
- 4 pm-5 pm: Get home from school, homework, snack, pack lunch; usually this is just hang-out-in-the-kitchen time.
- 5-7 pm: Ben usually get’s home from work and it’s usually more family time as we all get ready for dinner. If I need to, I’ll work while Ben tackles dinner and sometimes I will escape to the basement for a quick workout.
- 7-8 pm: Dinner. We usually eat fairly late and always as a family.
- 8-9: Baths, clean-up, and bedtime.
- 9-10 pm: I always shower at night to save myself time in the morning, then I usually read a little before bed and then tuck myself in. This pregnant momma crashes early!
And that’s it–probably the biggest key for me is having all of my household chores done by nap time; that way I feel like I can really actually sit down and work without feeling like there is a thousand other things that need to be done. I always work on the weekends too, writing a lot on Saturdays when Ben is home and Sunday during nap time.
All in all, I probably work about 30 hours a week, including writing posts, fleshing out ideas, all the social media promotion stuff, and the less glamorous stuff like invoicing and tracking expenses.
I love every minute of it.
How about you? What does your daily routine look like?