The following is a guest post written by Jody Hedlund.
As a homeschooling mom of five children, I pour my heart and soul into my children each day.
After teaching at home for close to ten years, I’ve gradually realized it’s not healthy for me or even good for my children if I continually focus all my time and energy completely on them.
The fact is when we give of ourselves day-in and day-out, always pouring out but never filling up, we eventually find ourselves drained, going through the motions, and maybe even ready to give up homeschooling. Yes, the role of motherhood entails sacrifice at the very core. We would gladly and willingly lay down our lives for our children.
However, we need to find ways to fill ourselves back up. We can’t keep on giving when there’s nothing left. Our children and husbands can see when we’re frazzled and empty. They feel the effects of it. Not only do we suffer for our burnout, they do too.
We need to take some time to rejuvenate, recharge, and refresh so that we have what it takes to keep on going for the long haul. Of course there are countless ways to fill ourselves back up (exercising, gardening, baking, sewing, etc.). But over the years, I’ve learned that for me, writing is one of the best ways I can refuel.
In fact, over the past five years I’ve completed four full-length novels. The first book The Preacher’s Bride released last fall (through Bethany House Publishers). Another book, The Doctor’s Lady is releasing in September. I also have a blog where I teach and encourage other aspiring writers.
One of the questions I’m asked the most is, “How do you find time to write AND homeschool five children? How do you balance everything?”
I have to admit, it’s not easy to juggle the growing responsibilities of published author life and homeschooling. But writing and blogging help fill up my tank. The creative process of writing brings me renewed energy for homeschooling and motherhood.
Writing is a gift, an outlet, a way to connect with others in a similar situation, a way to pull thoughts together, an opportunity to minister to others, encourage, and uplift. Ultimately, writing and blogging can be so much more than a public journal—they can be a way to bless others.
But how do we make time to write and blog with all of the other demands on our time?
Here are six techniques I use to juggle writing/blogging and all my other responsibilities:
1. Schedule writing time.
We need to pencil into our daily planner our writing time the same way we schedule subjects into the school day.
I block out a little bit of time in the morning before my family awakens. I also carve out time in the afternoons when I’m done with all my teaching.
2. Prioritize our activities.
Photo by Richard Summers
We can’t do everything, even the really worthwhile activities. When we fill our lives so full of going here and there, we risk losing the creativity that comes from “down time.”
We need those hours, even days, when we have the freedom to be home and just create. (And quite frankly, our kids need to be “bored” too, because boredom breeds creativity.)
3. Don’t wait for the perfect moment.
Otherwise we won’t ever write. My afternoon writing time begins after my kids are done with school, when they’re noisy, energetic, and just being kids.
That means my writing time is often full of interruptions and chaos. But I write anyway! (And use headphones!)
4. Plan alone, extended and uninterrupted writing for once a week, if possible.
Because of the less than ideal writing conditions the rest of the week, I make a point of taking extended writing time on the weekends or during an evening.
Extended time allows us critical focused alone time.
5. Get your family behind your writing.
Even though my afternoons are less-than-ideal for writing, I still try to teach my children to respect my writing time.
When I take it seriously, they’re more apt to follow suit. If we explain to our husbands the importance of refueling ourselves, we can enlist their support as well.
6. Eradicate the guilt.
Realize that when we’re pursuing something we love, we’re modeling to our children that they too can pursue their passions, and that learning, being creative, and expressing ourselves never ends.
What about you? Are you taking the time to refuel and refresh yourself on a regular basis? Do you ever feel guilty for spending time doing things you love?