So far on Momming Mondays, I’ve shown snippets of how I steal time, retain brain cells, and stave off insanity (at least for a little while longer) in order to keep a precarious balance between keeping my house and furthering my writing career. And I’ve shown you how priorities sometimes have to change.

I know “family comes first” is supposed to be the rock-solid mantra of our lives, and for the most part, it’s 100% true. My love for my family is unconditional and boundless. But they do not always have to be my first priority.

Do They Need You, Or Do You Need Them To Need You?

Like stealing time from the daily grind, you do have to set limits on what your priorities must be. And while limits must be firm, they are not without subject to change. Because we’re no longer living in the 1950’s (and hey, even the real 1950’s were a lot different than what people imagined them to be), sublimating our own ambitions is not the only option, nor is it the only means to a rewarding life. Although it can certainly be easy to fall back on it as an excuse, hmm?

Especially for the ladies among us, it’s a lot easier to stuff the manuscript back in the box in favor of swooping to the rescue during one of the kids’ disasters–whether it be exploding something in the kitchen (real disaster) or “Mom! He’s looking at me funny!” (OMG call FEMA!) Only…you’re doing no one any favors with the latter. Sure, if they come to blows, then by all means, intervene. But you do have a manuscript to get back to, don’t you?

Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy

I recently tried an experiment. During the summer, when the kids were getting a little overcooked, we were all on edge with short fuses. I wasn’t writing, they weren’t having fun, and we were all bored and annoyed with each other. Until I tried something, at my wit’s end, one day.

I told them I was going to write for an hour or two as soon as we all woke up. They had to get their own teeth brushed, get their own clothes on, and then do whatever, but those two hours in the morning were mine. Afterwards, I’d be happy to make them breakfast and we’d have a day, but before then, I wanted some peace and quiet.

Lo and behold, we all got on much better. Prioritizing some writing time calmed me down–made me feel less out of control and more accomplished. The kids also appreciated that time where we didn’t schedule and they were responsible for their own entertainment. They didn’t fight, and they didn’t make too much of a disastered mess.

As a happier mom, I was able to spend better time with them later on that day, and we actually accomplished more. In some cases, success breeds success, and meeting my writing goal helped me meet my household goals as well.

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