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Writing With the Family Around

By Rosemary O'Brien
Writing Military Mom

I don’t know why, but I have a difficult time writing even a blog post when my family is around. Maybe it’s because when they come home from school and work, I may as well hang up my keyboard and give up until they go to sleep. If it’s not breaking up a dispute about a ball that magically flew threw the air and knocked something over in a house where balls are not allowed to be thrown, then it’s to stop and feed someone because they are “staaaaaaaarrrrrrrving!” even if they had a snack and it’s almost time for dinner (that I have to stop and make).


That is why I look forward to bedtime. It is when I creep back to my computer, which I left on, and create with abandon. I find I am more productive at night for some reason. Mornings rarely only happen for me because my kids need to get to school. It seems to be a law in this country. Before I had them, I woke up at 9 and began writing at 9:30 with my jammies on and a strong cup of coffee in my hand. At that point, I skimmed and answered simple emails, deleted files and was not required to speak to anyone about anything unless I wanted to. It was not until early afternoon when my writing would come alive and I would write with abandon. Some of my best work was written during this time. In fact, this is when my first novel was produced and found a publisher.

Back then, my Navy husband was working 16-hour days and pulling duty every third night. With no children and unable to find a job in our new duty station, I made my own schedule. I look back at that time as one of the best times of my life, or as I knew it before my children were born. Now I write when they are at school and I am not as fresh. If I get fired up and stay awake at night to write, I can easily go off into the writing mode and end up getting 3 hours of sleep before it’s time to start getting the children ready for school again.


I can’t complain. The children are my blessings and provide ample fodder for my blog, my books and my magazine editors. They give me the juice it takes to keep me going in the difficult world of publishing. If it were not for them and my juicy husband, my writing would be stale and my blog would be boring. In short, I would have nothing to write about. Even with about five minutes of productive writing time in my day, I realize how blessed I am for all of their interruptions.


One day they will have moved on and my writing mind will function on all cylinders again. Until that time, I will catch my productive time when it hits and run with it until the family comes home.


It’s all good.


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Comment by Mary on February 7, 2010 at 1:17am
You MOMS are so amazing :) Just 2 words in mandrin "PeiFu"... i've never achieve that LOL when my kids were young, i simplity forgot about my own existence, hahahaha... Only now they are in their 20++ and my youngest daughter 17, then i found out that i've miss alots :) .. As for now i am just mere lazy hahaha but i love reading, and all of you guys experiencing now really make me smiles, and they were like my yesteryears.. :) ENJOY THEM you will smiles like like me ~ one day <3. Good luck everyone!
Comment by Alana Kirk-Gillham on July 24, 2009 at 1:58pm
it's so good to not feel alone! my girls are not in childcare (3 and 2) and so i try to write at night... but to be honest i'm so bloody tired I end up reading over old stuff in some pretense i'm actually working. that said, hubby is working late tonight, so i ate with the girls and plan to head to the atttic (my writing space!) as soon as their heads hit the pillow. ..... must get him to work late more often!! great blog.
Comment by NoReturnMom on July 17, 2009 at 5:30pm
I was a total morning person before I had kids. Even in HS and college, if I wasn't feelin' my homework at night I'd go to bed early and set my alarm for 5 a.m.--and it would take me a lot less time overall because it was better timing for my brain. But now I have spawned a pair of early birds who are almost always up before 6 and they are too little (15 mos and 28 mos) for me to get much of anything done when they're awake. I do quick housework or Internet stuff when they're playing well, but 99% of my blogging happens during nights and weekends. I've also worked in publishing awhile, so I'm already in the habit of planning out topics and writing ahead when I can, which saves time when I am dead tired.
Comment by Shannon Perron on July 14, 2009 at 1:17pm

My mind is completely scattered if I try to write during the day. Even if the kids are busy playing together I know in the back of my mind there are thousand of things that need to be done around the house.

The best 'guilt free' times for me are in the early morning and at night, after the kids go to bed. Some day, when my kids are older, my husband my get some attention. :o)

Comment by Ashley Ladd on July 10, 2009 at 8:15pm
I'm an evening person. Once I get home from the day job which isn't until 6 and sometimes even 9 if my daughter has softball practice, I try to find an hour or two to write. I used to stay up a lot later but as I approach 50, I don't have the energy I once did. Or maybe I'm under more stress at the day job now that I manage a big department. My youngest is now 14 and the second youngest is 18, but they still have moments where they get loud, argue, want my attention, and need me to drive them to friends, scouts, and softball. Time to write is a problem.
Comment by Monkeysmomma on June 19, 2009 at 2:36pm
My husband is retired and thankfully, he understands how important writing is to my overall well being. He used to complain about how much I was on the computer until he realized that without interruptions, I was finished quicker and we all could do thing together. I write mostly before everybody wakes up in the morning. I am actually thinking about getting up even earlier. My son has realized that if mom gets blog time, she finds cool online games for him and he sometimes gets to "review" kid stuff for my giveaways...and he loves that. I also work three 12-hr shifts as a nurse, which makes it even tougher sometimes.
Comment by Norma Rickman on June 16, 2009 at 10:38pm
It is very tough to write with constant interruptions. You need to get your head in a certain space to write, and hearing "Mommy! Come wipe my bum!" kills the magic.
Comment by Michelle Lee on June 16, 2009 at 7:41am
It is so nice to know that I am not alone! I work during the day and my husband works evenings (12 hour shifts) so my time is so limited to concentrate on a topic. Most of the time I have so much going on in my head at once I loose track of what I was writing and get frustrated. Probably because I am juggling three kids, work, blogging, and a marriage all at once. But I wouldn't change any of it....well, the job I could do without if we could afford it, lol.
Comment by Rosemary O'Brien on June 15, 2009 at 3:05pm
Wow! Did I hit a nerve!! I could also write about the Mommy Guilt that takes over if I wake up grumpy after staying up late to write. Ain't Mommyhood grand? :)

Write on, Sisters In Motherhood!

Comment by Jacqueline on June 14, 2009 at 10:14pm
I'm in the same boat as you. It is now 10pm and kiddos are in bed. It is so relaxing for me to do it when I know there is peace and I can think with no interruptions.
Comment by Nicole on June 14, 2009 at 8:32am
My husband once commented about how much time I spend on my computer - sometimes tuning out the entire world in an attempt to get something accomplished. What he didn't realize is that with so many interruptions, I seldom could put together a complete thought, let alone a complete blog post. He didn't realize I often sat in front of my computer just trying to find some peace but not really getting anything done. Recently, I decided to give the computer some space while I actually play play play with the kids. A bit behind on my blogs but I have a very happy family now. Thanks for your insight and making me realize it isn't just me.
Comment by Holly Bowne on June 13, 2009 at 12:20pm
I completely relate to everything you wrote!! It's an endless circle. I can't write as much or as often as I'd like because of caring for my family (which I love too!). But w/o my family--I'd have much less interesting things to write about. I guess we just have to enjoy whatever writing "season" we're in!
Comment by Benita S. Nichols on June 12, 2009 at 3:13pm
I understand. My three oldest children are either out or too busy to notice me. I now have a 6 year old who loves mommy, computers and having fun. So, to when at writing the best thing I can do is set up multiple computer so we both can do what we love best!
Comment by kate johnson on June 12, 2009 at 3:04pm
I try to get my stuff done in the mornings while they are distracted by toys or breakfast, and sometimes work on it at naptime, and I can churn out a short, subpar blog entry during those times just fine. but when inspiration truly hits it is always late at night. Usually when I'm in the shower getting ready for bed I will realize that I'm writing in my head and I have to go put it all down before I've lost it so i can get to sleep.
Comment by Jill Sullivan on June 12, 2009 at 12:31pm
I am so with you on this. I thought it was just my looney self that was compelled to staying up until 2am. The blissful hours that my brain wasn't cluttered and interrupted with "hey mom....", wagging tails, and wayward tumbleballs of dust, dog hair, fiberstrands. I do have to compromise my morning breakfast with the family until I get that exercise routine going to pump all those great hormones in to make up for the lack of sleep. Thanks all for making me feel RELATABLE.
Comment by AMY SAPIRSTEIN on June 12, 2009 at 12:01pm
I 100% cab relate. I have a 22 mth old who is quite demanding these days and although I try to sneak in some work here and there, I can never focus on things like I need to until nap or bedtime. We do what we have to do, right moms :)
Comment by Kandace Chapple on June 12, 2009 at 10:46am
I can relate 100 percent! I have started to tell my 4 and 6 yr old Mom needs her quiet time. And I can't BELIEVE IT, but they are getting it finally and letting me alone a little!
Comment by Sylvia on June 12, 2009 at 8:18am
This is so true and I think most of us SAHM's can relate very well. I do the same thing, my husband often urges me to get some sleep but I know that those wee hour of the nights are the only 'productive writing' time I get. :) Thanks for letting us know we're not alone!!
Comment by Divina on June 12, 2009 at 6:41am
Wow great post and its nice to know I am not the only one. I like Stephanie wake up at 6am to write and have a cup of coffee.
Comment by Stephanie on June 12, 2009 at 2:43am
I'm definitely most productive after bedtime. On most nights, I stay up until about 1 a.m. - working and writing. It's a crazy life, but it's also wonderful. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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