You have the time to write! This is the third post in my New Mom Writing series.
Part of this post is for those who are not parents–that is who this post will help the most. For the parents out there, this post is commiseration and encouragement.
When my daughter Ryan was born, my brain went on a three week hiatus. Everything was about how to keep this tiny human alive. Babies don’t have circadian rhythms. They have sleep-feed cycles on repeat. Sometimes they are clustered together like feed-blink-feed-blink-feed-blink before finally hitting sleep.
In the first few days, when you get 5 minutes to yourself between attending to your child, you celebrate! What luxury are you going to indulge?!
Choose from the list below:
- Close eyes for 5 minutes
- Stuff your face full of food to make the hunger shakes stop
- Go to the washroom
- Google life-saving but highly ambiguous Internet-available information on everything you are doing wrong or think you are failing at in taking care of your child and how to fix it, OR
- Sterilize bottles that you will need for the feeding after the next one.
Yup, that’s your list. Pick one. Usually the answer was to eat something one-handed like a muffin or yogurt tube while washing and sterilizing bottles. After all, you’ll need the bottles. And you can Google while trying to wake the baby to take the full feed. And hunger is for the weak, sleep is for the dead.
Some breaks are fifteen minutes long; luxury.
These five-fifteen minute breaks? Imagine that, 24 hours a day. All day, all night.
Once we hit over the 3 week mark, finding those pockets of time became easier. And that’s when I really understand that I had before.
So here is my advise for you.
Drop what doesn’t matter
Whatever doesn’t add to the life you want to be living? Drop it. Just let go and move on.
Look at your life right now and think about what you regret not doing. Now dig and find what adds the least and get rid of it to make time for what you really want.
You have the ability to make the choice and set your priorities. Some people have told me that they lack the discipline or self-control. I call bullshit–make the choices. It means you might not be able to keep up with pop culture references or all the newest movies, but if you want to write, then write.
You have the time to write. You can pick it out and find it. And if you don’t do it now, you will regret not using it when you find yourself missing that time in your life.
For the new moms
So what do you do when you don’t have the easy things to get rid of? I get it. A lot of the time goes into taking care of the kid (or kids. I have no idea how parents with multiple children at different stages and needs do it). That time isn’t so easy to make available again.
Start seizing the available moments
Your lunch hour at work? Instead of fiddling on Facebook, get writing.
Commuting? Bypass the repetitive radio and opt for a podcast or audiobook.
Kid at a supervised activity? Pull out your notebook and get to work.
That moment of silence in the morning before the kids wake up? Use that time!
You can do this. You can change your life into one where you can get to where you want in your writing career. You just have to make it work and get to work.
You can do it. I know I am going to. Let’s kick some ass together.