How do you balance writing with being a busy parent of three children? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world..
Answer by Steena Holmes, Bestselling Author of Saving Abby and 27 other titles:
My family consists of three teenage daughters, two dogs, and a very busy husband. Once upon a time I used to laugh if people asked me about finding a balance. Balance was over-rated, balance was something bored people lived for, balance wasn't something I was too concerned with ... I was so naïve.
Balance keeps our sanity, helps our creative mojo to grow and flourish, and keeps that well within us full. Without it we fizz out, we write lackluster stories, and the stress becomes more than we can handle.
So how do you find balance while being a busy mother of three? I'm not sure. I'm still trying to find out.
It's not easy. When I started writing, I worked full time, had three small children who were in various after-school activities and a husband who worked weekends. The only time I could write was during my lunch break or when the kids were in bed (and I was wishing I could join them).
There came a point when I had to decide if writing was important to me or if it was just a hobby. If it was a hobby, then finding spare minutes would be the life I lived until the kids were all older. But if it was important, then things needed to change.
I wasn't going to pull my kids from their activities. I wasn't going to ask my husband to stop working on the weekends. So there was only one option left. I was the one who had to make the change.
I quit my full time corporate job and found a less stressful, less demanding job that allowed me to write a little here and there as long as I got my work done (I was a receptionist at a car dealership). That worked for a year while I wrote Finding Emma and then I realized I needed more time to write - so I quit and found a job with shift hours. Those three days off gave me lots of time to write.
During that time my husband and I worked on our budget so that I could find a job that was part-time and from the house. I know, I know ... finding a job from home is like a crap-shoot but I had administrative skills and I found one. Full-time pay for part time hours - it was perfect and exactly what I needed until I self published Finding Emma and was able to quit completely.
Now that my girls are teenagers - life is super busy. One daughter plays field hockey which means I'm driving her to practices or games four days a week. My other daughter works and doesn't have her license, and my youngest ... well, my youngest doesn't know the meaning of "quiet" time - she gets bored easily.
Even though I work from home now and can write during the day, life happens and there's a lot more to my career than just writing books. I still find myself writing late at night and on weekends when really, I'd love to have weekends off and spend every single night without my computer on. That's not my life or how I work, unfortunately. When my "well" becomes dry, I try to take some time off, go on a trip, get a massage, hand my computer over to my husband and pick up my knitting needles while reminding myself to breathe.
How do you find balance? I'm not sure you can find a "real" balance ... but that doesn't mean you give up. I think it's a decision you make on a daily basis, sometimes even hour by hour.
Balance is all about choices, choosing how to live each moment.
How do you find balance? You just do. You decide what's important to you and make that the focus - one day at a time.