Updated: Sep 2
Let me start this post by saying this: if you love your sleep, you will find it very difficult to be a mother who writes. I say this because your focus as a mother is your children, everything else is secondary. And if you don't fit writing in there, somewhere between mothering and sleep, you'll never find the time to write. I have been a mother who writes for at least half a decade, even I still find it hard to balance the two sometimes.
Yesterday, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I found myself scrambling to meet a writing deadline for a magazine I submit to quarterly. I was in my office, the children were everywhere, the television was on in the background, my husband was somewhere. As hard as I tried to concentrate on what I was writing, it seemed almost impossible to tune out the background noise, even though it was a quiet Sunday afternoon. I do my best writing in isolation and silence, but Isolation and silence in my household can only be found when everyone is asleep; early dawns or late nights. So I have trained myself how to write during those hours. Here's how I make that work:
Sleep Early: This was (and still is occasionally) my biggest challenge! It's a challenge because priorities change throughout the day. A child might need extra attention, I might have to stay up late on a conference call, or I might just want to stay up with my husband and catch a great movie, etc. The goal however is to be consistent and persistent with your nightly routine. And that routine must work towards getting you up early in the morning so you can write as intended. Having this in mind, I make it a point to be asleep no later than 10 p.m. every night.
Rise Early: This takes practice, and you will oversleep when you first get started on a routine. Be kind to yourself when you're tempted to snooze, but be persistent with your alarm clock. With day in day out practice, the day will come when waking up before your 4:30 a.m. wake-up call becomes second nature.
Maximize Your Time: The hours of sleep that you sacrifice so you can write, is not the time to check your email or check your social media pages. Use that time to write ONLY! There will be several other hours during the day when you can attend to the things that are not a priority.
Writing and motherhood is a tricky combination full of contradictions. Your children can be your fuel and your reason for writing while also being your energy drainers and the reason you sometimes don't get to write. Find what works for you timewise, and practice it until it sticks.