Last night I made dinner for my family and it didn’t involve cereal. Oh believe me, it WILL involve cereal at least once during the month of November while I try to churn out enough words each day as a part of NaNoWriMo. But so far, everyone has been fed, dishes have been done, laundry has been folded (or at least it in the basket in order to be folded) and the pets/domestic animals have been fed and are still living. These are all good indicators I think, but check back with me at the end of the month and we’ll see how the animals (and the family) fared.
There is a strategy here. The way I figure it, if I keep them clothed and fed, they can’t begrudge me a little neglect in other areas, right? After all, as a stay at home mom, there is a base-line of familial duties that fall to me. I couldn’t, in good conscience, hear my husband come in the door after being at work all day, peer at him over the top of my computer and ask him to rustle up dinner for our family. I mean, I could. And my husband would probably be a good enough sport to do it. But making meals is one of my responsibilities.
There’s a funny thing about being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). Until you’ve done it, you imagine that it must be so boring (like what do you DO all day??) or that you get to do whatever you want all day long. Neither of these are accurate. SAHMs are first and foremost Moms and that probably means there is a kid around. And when there are kids around time operates in a different way, more fluid or stretchable. Minutes can seem like they go on forever and other times you look at the clock and panic because how did it get to be that time? We’re going to be so late – hustle, kids, hustle!
If you are a person who manages a household, here are a couple things you probably do, but let’s let the others know about our little routines or the things we do to make life easier for ourselves, shall we? These things can keep your life in order while you complete that ground-breaking novel of yours.
- Put the dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher, rather than leaving them in the sink.
- Keep a few easy meals on hand (think soup, sandwich, salad, etc.). You’ll save money, time and stress.
- Just break down and do a load of laundry every day. You’ll stay ahead of it, and you can keep the stink off your favorite writing pants with the elastic waistband.
- Put your family to work. Even little kids can do small chores, and contributing to the family/responsibility is a great lesson.
I could do a lot more with #4 but even with a small amount, we’ve found that our kids respond well to having a manageable amount of “jobs” each day or week.
A few years ago I wasn’t actively doing any of these little routines and life felt a whole lot more hectic (true, my kids were a few years younger at the time as well, but I could have been helping myself more than I was). I owe a lot to FlyLady for bringing these routines to my attention and helping me take hold of my house. She’s kind of amazing. (http://www.flylady.net/)
If you chip away at the everyday things around you — you can apply that to making forward progress in your writing as well — , you will be able to work in a less chaotic environment. Notice I didn’t say UN-chaotic, but sometimes just lowering the level of mess or last-minute-ness can really make a difference. You’ll have more room for your gigantic writing ideas to walk around if they’re not tripping over piles of stuff.
Happy writing! Hope you have a miraculous breakthrough in your story today!