I started writing during naptime, but by the time I started getting book contracts, my kids were too old for naps, we still homeschooled, and my kids were home all day. So for years I wrote when they were around the house—usually in the afternoon.
I was just talking to my daughter Leslie about this a few days ago. She’s twenty years old and she’s PASSIONATE about God. She’s a pretty great writer, too! Here is her blog: http://www.lesliegoyer.blogspot.com/
Anyway, I asked Leslie what were the benefits/drawbacks of having a writer-mom at home. These are the three benefits she came up with.
1. Leslie said it really impacted her how I modeled serving others in my life . . . and through my writing. She said I showed her how important it was to serve other people.
2. Leslie said that it really grew a love of books and writing in her. She loves to read and write and is minoring in writing/editing in college.
3. Leslie said that it was “cool” having a famous mom. Her friends thought it was cool. She also got to meet amazing people and she was able to travel with me to interesting places. (I had to laugh at the “cool” part. She never told me that before!)
I asked about the drawbacks. She told me it was what her and my brothers referred to as the “five-minute rule.” They would approach and ask me something . . . and then wait. “Then, Mom, after about five minutes, you’d turn and say, ‘What?’ Or you’d turn and answer our question. We’d always laugh about that.”
I thought that was very funny, and I can remember that happening. If I was writing I’d have to finish off my train of thought before I turned to answer them. I’m glad to know that they thought it was funny. Also, it was NORMAL for them. It was normal to have me writing at my computer for a few hours a day. (They were with me 24/7, and I had times dedicated JUST to them, too.) And I was still there—still present. Our presence as moms makes a big impact.
The funny thing is that Leslie didn’t mention the stuff I felt guilty about:
1. Not having a clean house all the time.
2. Limiting their extracurricular activities to one activity per child per year.
3. Getting a babysitter once in a while.
4. Going away to conferences a few times a year. (And later a few more times to speak.)
5. Having weeks now and then of picking up pizza or Taco Bell for dinner because I was under deadline.
Every family is different, but this really encouraged me. As I balance writing with a two-year-old, it’s been a huge BENEFIT to see that the older three have turned out great. It’s helped me to realize that I often feel guilty about things that aren’t really going to matter years from now. It also makes me realize that being present, and letting your kids know that they ARE the most important thing, goes a long way!