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I am a work-at-home mom with a nine-month old daughter who has been keeping me EXTREMELY busy lately...resulting in mandatory binge writing sessions to keep up with my schedule.

I think we've finally settled into a morning routine that keeps us both happy... I get up at 5:30 to walk for 60 minutes, get back and feed the baby breakfast IMMEDIATELY upon her waking up (breakfast is without fail a bottle followed by a handful of cereal followed by some sort of pureed fruit out of a tub. Preferably Frozen will be playing on the TV at this time.), then she runs around the house in her walker for about an hour, and finally she MUST be down for a nap by 9:30. It seems that if we can hit this routine in the mornings, our days go so much more smoothly than they do when we don't. I'm more productive and she's much happier.

Do any of you other writer-parents have any tips, tricks, or routines that make your days easier and more productive??
 

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You're lucky yours takes naps. Mine goes all day long without a nap. It's unnatural, I know.

I use the lavender lotion (J&J) to help calm my youngest down before bedtime. It helps sometimes, but there is no guarantee. I found that with both my children, if you follow the same routine for 3 days in a row, they adjust automatically to the new routine.

You have to work with her schedule, even though you wish she could work with yours. Believe me, I know how you feel. I usually write after mine are in bed. I'm sleep deprived and need to get some rest before I can write again.
 

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I get up around 5 and hit the ground running as soon as the coffee is ready. I write until my toddler wakes up (usually between 6:30-7:30). She refuses to nap, so I get a sentence in here and there during the day. If I haven't managed to hit 2000 words during the day, I write after she goes to bed. But I'm pretty brain dead by then, and just want to pass out on the couch, so it's not the best time for me to write. On the weekends my better half is at home, so he takes over so I can get a good chunk of alone-time to work. It's a lot of juggling and, at times, frustration, but we're managing to make it all work.
 

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I know how hard it is. I'm sorry. My kids will both be in PUBLIC school in a year and half. It will be a huge thing.

The only thing I can suggest is maybe combining your exercise time with your kid time. Maybe instead of the walk in the morning, you could get a jogging stroller and then in the afternoons--after nap--take your little one out, put her meal in the stroller, and some toys, and jog or walk then?

I use my kids commute to school and preschool as exercise time. It's a 45 minute walk round trip, and do that twice a day.


 

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C. Gockel said:
I know how hard it is. I'm sorry. My kids will both be in PUBLIC school in a year and half. It will be a huge thing.

The only thing I can suggest is maybe combining your exercise time with your kid time. Maybe instead of the walk in the morning, you could get a jogging stroller and then in the afternoons--after nap--take your little one out, put her meal in the stroller, and some toys, and jog or walk then?

I use my kids commute to school and preschool as exercise time. It's a 45 minute walk round trip, and do that twice a day.
All good suggestions. My younger one will start kindergarten in September and I'm hoping it works out (he will be on the extreme young end of his class). If not, I'm considering homeschooling, but then that will not be good for my productivity.

For when the kids were younger and napping, my one big rule was to never clean/do housework during nap time.
 

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Shock collars. :eek:

The trick is not to let them see YOU pushing the button, I rigged up a foot switch for just this purpose and it works great. Just give them a little jolt every time they try to interrupt you and tell them its God or their dead aunt Edna punishing them. Don't set it too high though or there's the crying and screaming and then you have nosy neighbors and cops and there goes your word-count for the day. Still, its much better and more effective than the spray bottle I use to use.

If I was smart I'd have installed the invisible fence under the new flooring, but, live and learn I guess.

:p
 

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My daughter is a little older (grade school), but we are homeschoolers, so that puts us back in the realm of having to balance things carefully.  The easy answer is to write when they are asleep, but that doesn't always work very well because 1.  I need sleep too and 2. by the time they get to sleep, you're probably worn out and not at your most productive and 3. when you finally do get a few minutes to yourself, there are still other things/people lined up and waiting for your time and attention (husbands anyone?).  I'm not a marathon writer by nature.  My best writing is done collecting ideas on a notepad when they come to me throughout the day and then doing short bursts of putting them down on paper in a finished form.  I find the "collect tidbits" method works best because it's usually about all the time I have.  Same concept as if you can't work in 30 minutes of exercise daily, choose to take the steps for 10 minutes three times a day.  I also look for golden nugget opportunities and plan ahead to best take advantage of them.  For example, we go to a homeschool coop once a week for a full day.  I know that for a certain hour, I won't have anyone needing anything from me.  Most of the other moms sit around and chat in the main  hall to kill time during their breaks.  I bring whatever I need for research materials and go hide in my car for that hour.  We added internet connectivity to our tablet plan so I would be able to get internet access in the parking lot without Wi-Fi connectivity.  Just look at what your needs are, scour your schedule for moments of opportunity and then do whatever you have to do to maximize that window.  Good luck--I know how hard it can be.
 

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SevenDays said:
But if you must, send them out to work in the coalmines as soon as they can hold a plastic shovel.
You've been spying on me again. ;D

Actually, the most foolproof tip I can give is to get childcare. Obviously this is not always possible.
 
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I sympathize with every mother who must write. I have seven children and didn't start writing for publication until five years ago when my youngest was two-years-old and the other six were in school. Her being mobile helped--a lot, along with Barney and Thomas the Train. Then there were two hour naps. She was a good, cooperative baby and I couldn't have written a word with the others before her (I also home schooled them at the time)!

As soon as she turned three, my mother-in-law (the best in the world) paid for her to go to preschool at my mil's church for three days a week, the older my daughter got, the more days we were able to add. So in her final year of preschool, I would drop her off at her class and head for an empty Sunday School room for three uninterrupted hours. I count those as my best writing days!

Now, my oldest son is in the Army now (hooah!) and on his own and my other six are in school (unless there're snow days, arrgh) and my husband is at work most of the day and I LOVE the time I get to spend writing NOW.

So time is the key to writing with children, lol.

Now if someone could tell me what to do about this darn cat running in and out...
 

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I have four children and we homeschool.  It has taken some time and plenty of adjustments, but I've finally been able to craft a schedule that works for my family. I should also mention, I'm a single mom and their father lives across the country, so no input from him at all. I wake up at 5:30 am 7 days a week. I write with coffee in hand for an hour, without fail. After that, I ready myself for the day, then, attend to waking the children and going through our regular morning routine. School begins and goes till roughly 3 pm, sometimes a little earlier. My saving grace is my Alphasmart. I carry it with me everywhere and get out as many words as possible whenever possible. After school, our evening routine begins - playtime, dinner, baths, family time. After they go to sleep, I write or edit for another couple of hours. On weekends, I carry my Alphasmart absolutely everywhere and sneak in a few minutes wherever I can. Luckily, my kids are old enough to understand that writing is my job. Its how I pay the bills, so they allow me some quiet time to write. My home office is not locked. I can hear them if I'm on the computer. I am readily available if they need me and I incorporate mind breaks and 'check on the children' breaks as often as possible. It works for me. Best of luck!
 

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I have four children, and the key has always been routines. My husband is ex-military, and I am more of a free spirit, so he was instrumental in getting the kids into those healthy routines. Obviously, at nine months, you have a ways to go, but hang in there. It does get easier.

The best trick is encouraging independence as soon as possible. All my kids could made their own breakfast at two or three. I have drawers in the cabinets and fridge just for them with easy grab-and-go stuff. Same for lunches and school snacks. Even when they all started preschool, they had to pack their own food. I gave them guidance and made appropriate choices available, so it is easy on them and me. And let them dress themselves, do their own hair, etc. Sure, they might not match for a couple of years, but I find that endearing.

Our morning routine is down pat. The kids are not allowed to do anything frivolous until they are showered, dressed, beds made. They eat breakfast, pack a lunch, brush teeth, and then they can mess around if there's time. At this point (kids are 8, 10, 14, 17), I don't have to do anything kid-related in the morning. I get my coffee, give kisses, check in, and do my thing. I don't have to wake them up, either. The two oldest are off to school most days before I even get up.

I've always had a tough time writing during the day - too many things vying for my attention, like laundry and vacuuming and our small biz. After bedtime is my writing time. I've done the chores, spent time with my husband, checked homework and played games with the kids, so evenings I can totally focus on my writing. Yes, I'm usually tired, but after a few sips of coffee and settling in, I get my second wind. Nights are me time.

I would advise doing what you have to do now to get your writing time in, but work on the big picture. Choose a routine that works for you, and your child will adapt. Encourage her independence, and you'll have more free time in the long run (and she'll be on her way to being a responsible adult).
 

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9 month old? Get yourself a mei-tai or a spoc wrap.
Put that babu on your back and work. They can nap close to mommy and feel comfy and safe, be held, be happy, and you can write.
Maybe if they aren't sleepy they will enjoy being there anyway. My daughter loved riding in her mei-tai.

And btw, spoc wraps are just as good as any others and they are cheap and easy. :)
If you decide to go that route, feel free to PM me for more info about them.
 

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Whenever we have threads like this everybody else's kids always sound really well behaved. If I leave my two alone for five minutes it turns into Lord of the Flies and I have to go in there with a whip and chair to separate them. You haven't lived until you've seen a three-year-old trying to rip out a five-year-old's throat with the sharp end of a My Little Pony.
 

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I started writing early, before anyone else got up. I found that writing at any other time was too haphazard due to normal family variations.

Definitely write during naps, and also write while you are walking. Don't listen to anything. Let your brain get bored so that you can think now, then write fast during the nap.
 
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Lydniz said:
Whenever we have threads like this everybody else's kids always sound really well behaved. If I leave my two alone for five minutes it turns into Lord of the Flies and I have to go in there with a whip and chair to separate them. You haven't lived until you've seen a three-year-old trying to rip out a five-year-old's throat with the sharp end of a My Little Pony.
Lydniz, we should get our kids together and see which is the last one standing. (Fair warning -my daughter's nickname as a toddler was Zo-zilla.)

I do not/cannot write when my kids are home and I don't even try. My brain refuses to cooperate. I do research, social media, etc, but I cram the actual writing into the school hours. The only housework I do while they're at school is laundry. Nothing else gets done until they come home. (Yes, my kitchen is a mess until 3:30pm) I don't even answer the phone. I know that doesn't help the OP with a 9-month old, but I only wrote on occasion when my kids were very young. If I had lived near family or had some type of support system, I probably would've made more of an effort, though.
 

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MeganBryce said:
That's what I did, too. For 2-3 hours, 2-3 days per week, my husband would be in charge and I would head to the nearest McDonald's (because I would fall asleep at the library.)
I fear that if I left my two alone with my husband they'd rip out his still-beating heart and feast on his entrails. And the mess would be a bugger to get out of the carpet.
 
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