I have to write. I really have no other choice.
I'd like to start this article off by saying this by way of explanation as to why I'm even bothering to try to write things while looking after a toddler full time. When I don't write, I become miserable and depressed and anxious and generally crappy all around. Writing is the only thing that I can start doing, then look at the clock a second later and realize three hours have passed. Everybody needs something like that, I think, especially when doing the (sometimes very draining) work of childcare.
Now that we've established that I'm just a teensy bit crazy, here is a sample schedule of my wife-ing, mothering and writing. Oh, and Nest & Story-ing, too.
6:00 a.m. Wake up to toddler screeching MAMAAAAAAA. Apply boob. Go back to sleep.
8:00 a.m. If lucky, hop in shower before husband has to leave for work. Otherwise, lure kiddo into high chair with frozen blueberries, make breakfast, do 50 kettlebell swings (the laziest form of exercise I've managed to find), make smoothie for myself. Once Quinn's done eating, bring her to the living room and cross fingers she will play independently while I gather up her clothes/diapers/hat/shoes etc.
9:00 a.m. Twice a week, I have a wonderful mother's helper who comes to play with Quinn for three hours while I work. She also speaks Japanese, so I feel slightly less guilty about hiring her since I'm also exposing my kid to another language. THAT'S NOT SELFISH RIGHT?! screams my goopy inner mother self. She arrives. If lucky, Quinn will do a little dance of happiness to see her and immediately forget I exist.
Until 11:30: Work work work work work. Work as fast as humanly possible. I think I actually accomplish more in 3 hours now than I used to in 8. Every day has a different theme -- blog post day, social media day, workshop development day, guest post day, review + planning day. I look in my bullet journal and do whatever it tells me.
11:30: Feed lunch to Quinn, then hop in the car. We drop my mother's helper off at her next gig and then drive in circles until Quinn falls asleep. Carefully transfer her from car to bed. Thank all the gods when she stays asleep.
Until 2:00-ish: Keep working on Nest & Story, if needed. Otherwise, work on my poetry project (I'm doing a poetry mentorship at UBC and have monthly deadlines, which is a wonderful motivator.)
2:00-ish: Quinn wakes up. She's usually a grumpface after nap, so we watch a cartoon and have milk and cookies.
3:00 - 5:00: Play with kid. Paint, play in the backyard, go for a walk, whatever. And housework, if I'm feeling particularly industrious.
5:00: Dinnertime. I haven't been cooking this entire summer so I prepare a lazy meal of grocery store chicken and vegetables or something and we eat.
Sometime between 5 and 7: The clouds part and my husband comes home. I will usually run off to the bedroom at this point for 15-30 minutes of introvert time, i.e. lying on my bed and staring at the ceiling or watching YouTube videos about A Song of Ice and Fire conspiracy theories. Slightly refreshed I emerge, and we have family time doing whatever.
7:00: Bath bedtime routine extravaganza. I will sometimes write poetry one handed on my iPhone during the before bed breastfeeding sesh.
9:30: Quinn is actually finally asleep. Usually. I hope.
9:30 - Midnight: Writing (or potentially more Nest & Story work, depending on the day). Every night Dan and I claim we're going to relax and watch TV together or something, but we usually end up working. I will also try to do housework at this time that will help for the next day, but I am usually so wiped I only do the bare minimum. Usually around midnight, I get an AMAZING idea for either Nest & Story or my poetry project and have a hard time falling asleep.
Overnight: Hopefully, sleep. Unless teething or sickness or general grump, in which case I'm up every three hours like she's a newborn again. Luckily, my brain seems to have adjusted to No Sleep Needed Woot!!! mode so I'm usually okay.
And that's it -- a typical day for me in which I try desperately to cram as much writing in as possible, while also being a reasonably okay mother and occasionally clean my house. It's not exactly the typical writer's schedule -- I'm not getting up at four a.m. every day to go sit at my elegant writing desk for eight hours -- but shit's getting done.
I would LOVE to hear about your writing practice and how you manage to fit it all in. Please share!