BALANCING ACT: LIFE AS A WIFE, MOTHER & WRITER

(as seen in Writer’s Digest online September 12th, 2013

juggling hats2

I wear many hats. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, an editor, a writer and a friend. I strive for excellence. I do not accept anything less. How do I achieve balance? Through discipline, prioritizing, self-motivation and mercy.

Discipline

I have 24 in a day and usually allocate eight for sleeping. In order to take care of myself, my family, and my career I must consciously

discipline myself by:

  • Being a boss — As a boss, I set schedules for myself. These include how many pages I will edit or write in a day, what chores I must accomplish that day and time needed for cleaning, errands, family and the house.
  • Being an employee — As an employee, I follow the guidelines and lists I’ve created for myself. This means, if I hit my page count for editing in a day, I stop. I do not keep going and overwhelm myself in the editing area of my life. I move on to do some housekeeping or take my kids to the pool or edit my client’s books.
  • Saying no — This is the single most important part of my discipline. If something doesn’t support my role as a mother, wife or writer, I generally say no. It has to be amazing for me to say yes. This includes excessive use of facebook, tumblr, pinterest and every other social media network. I limit my time on these to a half hour a day.

Prioritizing

My goals are to be a good wife, mother and friend and a best-selling author. They all hold equal value for me. One is not more important than the other. In order to build up these facets of my life, I must prioritize through:

  • Need — I need to take care of my family, clean the house, take the dog to the park and grocery shop. When I have a writing job, I need to meet my deadlines. When I teach, I need to be prepared for class. I cannot spend the day writing a story or revamping my website if there are no groceries. And I can’t edit all day and forget about dinner.
  • Want — I want to hit my goal of 1,000 words a day. I want to write a new story that has been drumming around in my head. I want to take my kids to the zoo. I want to watch a new movie with my husband. My wants are important. They are the parts of my life that keep me going. If I do not make my wants a priority, I become unbalanced and resentful of all those things I need to do.
  • Balance — Balance keeps my wants and needs in check. It allows me the freedom to write 1,000 words in a day and forego laundry knowing the next day I can focus on chores. Balance helps me tell my family ‘no’ when I need to meet a deadline and tell myself ‘yes’ when I have a moment of inspiration.

Self-motivation

As a novelist without a paycheck or deadlines, it is up to me to create and hit my writing goals. As a web writer working out of the house, it is my responsibility to turn in a high quality project within a deadline. To be self-motivated means:

  • Being able to set attainable goals
  • Getting on task and remaining on task
  • Balancing between the demands of wife, mother, writer and friend
  • The ability to say ‘no’ to anything interfering with my goals
  • Knowing when I need a break and some me time

It is difficult to go through the task of publishing a book if you are not a self-motivated person. It took me two years to travel down this road. I could have found a million other things to do besides write, edit and submit my manuscript. Many times the distractions are good things, like reading someone’s blog post, but if I spend too much time focusing on them, they won’t help me achieve my goals.

Mercymercy

Even with the best intentions, I fail. It is pertinent that I show myself mercy when it comes to my roles in life. I may not always hit my writing goals. I might snap at my kids or not have dinner ready on time. I may need a break to have some coffee with a friend. My husband may want to watch a movie and I feel like I should have edited that day. In any case, there are times when I need to make a choice that goes against everything else in this post. It is during those times, that I need to show myself mercy. Otherwise, what’s the point in doing any of this? If I’m stressed out, failing at everything, or worse, excelling in one area alone, I have missed the mark and forgotten what life is about.

The final road

I am a good wife, mother and friend, a published novelist, a web content writer and a teacher-tutor. I spend each day striving at excellence in each of these areas. Some days require me to spend more time in one place than another. But in the end, I feel whole. I will always face difficulties. The road will always be bumpy. It is when I look back upon my life and ask, “Did I do everything I could have? Did I make every moment count?” that I hope I can answer, “Yes.”

Happy Writing!

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BALANCING ACT: LIFE AS A WIFE, MOTHER & WRITER

15 thoughts on “BALANCING ACT: LIFE AS A WIFE, MOTHER & WRITER

  1. Here’s the thing that struck me: “If I do not make my wants a priority, I become unbalanced and resentful of all those things I need to do.”
    I forget this from time to time 😉

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  2. Well said, Jaimie. I’m especially glad you included the section on mercy. I think it’s also important to give myself grace when my days don’t go as planned. Because I wear so many hats and have teens, that seems to happen more often lately! Also, one thing that occurred to me about balance from reading your post is that we have to constantly work at it and adapt as circumstances change to keep the scales from tipping. 🙂

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  3. Thank you! It’s important to keep priorities straight. Sometimes our dreams can take precedent and it isn’t always the right choice. Thank you so much for stopping by and all your awesome comments and support!!

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  4. I all too well understand your current station in life. My life in my youth was hectic; rising a son and daughter, volunteering at the their school, working nights 40-60 hours a week, photographing weddings on the weekend, trying to write, going to school, and more. At that time I wished that I had more time and would become famous with my photography and writings. Now in my 50’s I have all the time in the world and I still have not reached my fame. You too will have your time and priorities in the future. The universe has a way of granting us what we want.

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  5. The Soaring Spirit writer says:

    As I have learned the universe will give us what we want and wish for. In my younger years I was either married or involved with a man, raising kids, running my photo business, working nights, volunteering at the school, and trying to write in order to become famous. I always wanted and wished for more time every day so I could get things done. Now in my 50’s, my want has come true. I only work 36 hours a week, have no kids or man in my life and gave up the photography business and get to write as much as I want. However, I am still not famous and working hard towards it. So in my wisdom of life, I always am happy and grateful for what I am here in this moment–something I overlooked in my younger years.

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