Raising kids can often feel like a full-time job on its own. When you’re trying to juggle a career, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. That’s especially true for writers who are single parents.
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Between balancing writing and childcare while maintaining your mental and physical well-being, it’s not uncommon for single-parent writers to experience challenges.
Thankfully, it’s not impossible to pursue your writing career and find success while being there for your children. Keep in mind that it’s normal to struggle with some guilt. It’s not uncommon for working single parents to feel bad about spending any time away from their kids. However, you have to remind yourself that it’s necessary to keep your career on track so you can provide for those children, and give them the best life possible. If you start to struggle with feelings of guilt, keep that in mind.
Let’s dive a little deeper into how you can find enough time for writing, prioritize your personal health, and stay close and connected with your kids.
Adjust Your Schedule
One of the easiest ways to find more time to write is to adjust your schedule around your kids. It might not seem ideal at times. You might have to wake up a bit earlier, stay awake later, or write here and there when the kids are napping or at school.
However, by adjusting your schedule, you’ll be able to spend more time with your kids while still getting your work done. That can encourage a healthier balance between your work life and personal life.
You might also consider giving your kids a bigger role when it comes to other “chores” and tasks you have to do around the house. Get them to help with things like daily cleaning. Give them each age-appropriate tasks and responsibilities. Let them help you make dinner each night. Not only will this allow you to spend more quality time with them, but you’ll get your everyday chores done faster, giving you more time to write later.
Lean On Your Support System
You’ve heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” There’s a lot of truth to that.
When you’re a single parent, it’s essential to rely on the people close to you to help with your career and possible childcare. Family and friends can help in more ways than you might realize, offering their support with things like:
- Watching your children
- Providing financial support
- Being there for you emotionally
- Running errands or helping around the house
Those closest to you might even be able to offer you career advice. When you’re raising kids on your own, it’s essential to identify your career goals and determine whether you should continue on the same path or adjust those goals to fit your current situation. Sometimes, you might find that you need to take a step back or lower your expectations. That doesn’t mean you should give up on writing completely. But, if you’re feeling burnt out from balancing everything, lowering the bar could help.
If you’re struggling to make that decision, use it as another opportunity to reach out to people you trust for advice.
What does self-care have to do with finding time to write?
More than you might think!
Self-care is far from selfish. It’s a necessary action if you want to be fully present for your children while maintaining your physical and mental well-being. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you’ll be both a better writer and a more present parent if you take care of yourself and prioritize your health.
Self-care looks different for everyone, especially when you’re trying to balance a writing career and raising kids. You don’t have to spend hours each day doing something luxurious. Instead, focus on taking care of your overall health and doing at least one thing every day that relaxes you. Not sure where to start? Try some of the following:
- Cooking healthy meals
- Reading a good book
- Practicing mindfulness or meditation
It’s important not to cut corners with self-care. For example, you might enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Coffee has some great health benefits, and it can perk you up. However, if you’re weighing down your morning brew with sweeteners and cream, you could be doing more harm than good. Consider pairing your coffee with a protein shake, or adding alternative sweeteners to prioritize your health.
Socializing is another great way to practice self-care, and it’s extremely important for single parents and writers alike. Writing is often considered a solitary pursuit, so making time to connect with people can benefit your mental health. It’s also good to connect with family members and friends outside the home, so you can strike a healthier work-life balance, and enjoy some adult conversation. As humans, we’re hardwired for connection. Don’t put your mental well-being at risk by isolating yourself.
It can take some time, flexibility, and a willingness to adapt to be a successful writer and a single parent. However, if you’re willing to make some adjustments while taking care of yourself, you can find that healthy balance that works for your career and your children.