Keeping with our Mother’s Day theme of combining writing with raising children (Hats Off to Mom Writers, Combine Babies and Bylines,Combining Writing and School-Age Kids, Writing During the Teen Years), let’s talk about writing when you have college kids and grown children (plus grandchildren). Again, your writing skills need flexibility!
(with granddaughter, Abby, at a book sale)
Just when your days (or evenings and weekends) are blissfully free to write, your college-age children are home for the summer. They turn your precise schedule upside down. They also provide such a temptation to sit and chat and go shopping, etc. Or maybe your adult child moves back home, perhaps with small children. Here are some ways to deal with those situations:
*Don’t abandon your schedule! These people aren’t company or house guests. For the time being, they are simply living with you. Your life doesn’t need to revolve around them. Keep to your schedule.
*Deal with possible interruptions ahead of time. Say something like this to them: “I start work early, but help yourselves to the eggs and juice in the fridge.” Don’t wait on them hand and foot. Resist the urge to clean up their messes in the kitchen and living room until your writing time is finished.
*If your writing room is needed for sleeping space, turn a corner of your bedroom into a temporary study. Have a place where you can close the door and write. During this parenting time, you might write a story for a children’s magazine called “Moving to Grandma’s House.” Or perhaps you’ll share your insight with other grandparents in an article called “Mothering Your Grandchildren.”
*Resist the urge to take over the parenting if you’re not providing childcare. I find it much harder to say “Nana has to work” than I did “Mommy needs to work.” If my kids (with the grandkids) ever lived with me even temporarily, it would be hard for me to keep remembering that I’m not the grandkids’ mother, nor their entertainment committee. My daughters wouldn’t expect it–it’s just something Nanas seem to do!
As with all the other phases of parenting, you can continue to write as children leave home, come back for visits, move back in, and/or bring grandchildren. I started writing when my children were 5, 2 and 10 days old. I now write and mix in the four grandchildren who live close by: 12, 9, 4 and 1. My family will always come first, but there’s room for writing too! You just need to learn the tricks of the trade for each stage.