Snacks and Stories
A Day in the Life of a Mom Writer
Want to know how to do it? Get everything done and still feel like you got absolutely nothing done? Here it is. Your average day as a mom who writes in all it’s exhausting, minimal word-counted, food-crusted glory.
4:30 am – Wake up early, while everyone is still sleeping, to get a little you-time in with exercise and writing. The most productive people wake up early and you want to be productive. No, actually, you just want to have a sip of coffee to fortify yourself before children awake and start demanding things. Demanding all the things.
4:37 am – Pull your back bending over to tie your shoes, cause face it, we’re not twenty any more. And honestly, who would want to be? But it would be nice if your body could perform simple tasks without reminding you of the stark passage of time.
4:40 am – Limp along on the treadmill because damnit if you’re going to let the reality of your aging body stop you from… oh screw it, this isn’t happening.
4:43 am – Butt in desk chair. Time to write!
4:43 am – You check in with Writer Twitter for just a quick second.
4:55 am – Okay, now seriously, time to write.
5:30 am – Noises begin to happen in your house. Thankfully there is another adult* who can help out with early wakings. (I honestly don’t know how single parents do this! The parenting, the writing, one, both. Any of it. How??)
5:55 am – The 1-year-old slams open your door demanding attention, food, playtime (all of which the other adult has provided but which the 1-year-old has deemed insufficient). This begins your day of taking care of everyone else.
6:30 am – Try and complete your daily Wordle while chugging your second cup of coffee and thinking about the story you’re working on. Because, be honest, you’re always thinking about the story you’re working on.
6:45 am – Get the 1-year-old and 3-year-old dressed and fed breakfast while listening to one of the characters in your head completely change the plot twist you planned to write later. Then get everybody out the door.
7:30 am – While at a stoplight, you try and dictate an entire dialogue idea into your phone. Have dictation interrupted by the 3-year-old in the backseat asking why baby brother has red coming out of his mouth. Throw phone. Begin panic.
7:31 am – You discover it was just a piece of strawberry. When did you give him a strawberry?
7:32 am – You’ve now forgotten your entire train of thought on your story and the little dictation recorded on your phone is meaningless. Drop 3-year-old off at school.
7:45 am – You visit a playground so that the 1-year-old can play while you try and listen to a few minutes of a writing podcast or audiobook. You spend the majority of your time at the playground feeding the 1-year-old snacks.
9:00 am – Back at home, you try and get in a few stolen moments of writing while Encanto* plays for the 1-year-old. (*It’s not always Encanto. Sometimes it’s Puffin Rock, or Octonauts, or Wall-E. But yeah, it’s usually Encanto.) This writing session will last anywhere from 5 minutes (if you’re unlucky) to 30 minutes (if you’re beyond lucky). And let’s be honest, you’re never really all that lucky.
9:15 am – You try to finish that one last sentence while the 1-year-old climbs on you, pulls on you, screams for what? What do you want?! Use your words!
10:00 am – Think about writing while getting the 1-year-old a snack. Think about writing while stacking blocks. Think about writing while you put a load of laundry in the washing machine. Think about writing while getting the 1-year-old another snack. Think about writing as you... Ouch!! (And a whole slew of other explatives!) You step on a Lego. A clear Lego! You pause to vehemently curse whoever it was that came up with the idea for freaking clear Legos.
10:30 am – You realize you’re on your third cup of coffee and have yet to eat anything this morning. Finish off the scraps of food on the 3-year-old’s plate left over from their breakfast.
10:45 am – Read the 1-year-old every book he owns while wondering if all these authors are currently writing. They’re probably writing right now. They’ll publish five more books before you even finish your manuscript. The 1-year-old wants another snack.
11:50 am – You type out some tweets to stay connected with the Twitter Writing Community while waiting in the parking lot at the 3-year-old’s school.
12:00 pm – Repeat drive to school in opposite direction. This time you will pass an active construction site and won’t be able to concentrate on thoughts of your story for the excited exclamations coming from the back seat. It’s an excavator, Mommy! And it’s moving! The excavator is moving, Mommy! Do you see it moving?!?! Mommy! It’s moooooving!
12:30 pm – You make lunch and feed the children while listening to a writer podcast or audiobook.
12:45 pm – Put the 1-year-old in his crib for a nap and let the 3-year-old watch TV so you can sneak in a few uninterrupted minutes of writing. Again, it’s probably Encanto, but this stretch could be up to an hour so hurry up and write! Have snacks at the ready to throw at the 3-year-old when requested during this time. You also have crayons and paper ready to go when he decides he’s done with TV and you just need another five minutes. Then play outside with the 3-year-old until the 1-year-old wakes up.
2:00 pm – Both children are up and demanding your attention. And snacks. All the snacks. Play outside, snacks, play with Legos, snacks, read a book, snacks. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over until it’s time to make dinner.
5:00 pm – Hopefully, the other adult is home in time to entertain the children so that you can focus on making dinner and maybe finish that podcast you’ve been listening to. Or the audiobook. Regardless of what you listen to, it will inspire a new story idea that has nothing to do with the story you are already working on. You make a note of it on your phone and promise yourself you won’t work on it any further until you finish the other story.
5:30 pm – Dinner, clean-up, quiet play with the children. This is when you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and start thinking about that scene you’re planning on writing once everyone is in bed.
6:30 pm – Bedtime routine, read a book, lights out!
7:30 pm – Do you have any energy? Probably not. But if there is a droplet left in you, you drag yourself to your computer or typewriter or notebook and you squeeze out whatever morsel of creativity you’ve got. You pour yourself a glass of whatever you need to carry you through the next few hours. Hopefully something sparks and the writing flows, powered by the still quiet of the house. You are finally alone with your thoughts and have room to let your story breathe. Before you know it, you’ve written three pages… of the story you promised yourself you weren’t going to write yet. You stop and focus back on the story that’s almost done. You’re almost there! Maybe you’ll be finished by the end of the week? Okay, the end of the month? You push on as late as you can because you know this is all you get until this time tomorrow. But not too late. That 4:30 alarm will be going off soon! Oh! And you still need to pack the 3-year-old’s lunch and get that laundry out of the washer.
And that’s it! Easy, right? You got this. You can do it. Because you are a superstar mother writer!
Reminder: Be sure to include a big dose of guilt at all points of the day. If you’re writing, you should be momming. If you’re momming, you should be writing. The struggle is real.
P.S. If you have a full-time job that requires you to be away from home for the majority of the day, replace everything during your job hours with you being at work. But you’re still thinking about writing the whole time you’re there and definitely add an extra helping of the above-mentioned mom-guilt.
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