Balancing Family, Marriage, Chores, and Writing. Oh yeah, and the Unexpected too.

My wife loves me.

I value my wife above all else.

But sometimes I struggle with managing my time in such a way that she feels that she’s number one. The last few weeks and months have been very busy. And although all of the things that we are busy with are either good or innocuous things, we are left with little discretionary time. My wife and I both work full-time. Her mom watches our girls while we are at work, and in order to get to work on-time after dropping the girls at her mom’s house, my wife needs to be out the door by 7am, so we are usually up by 5:30am to begin the morning routine. This is especially hard after our 3-month-old decides that she doesn’t like sleeping at night.

After my wife leaves at 7am, I have until 8:30am to write on my blog and take care of a few small chores around the house (taking the dog out, making the bed, etc.). Usually, this works out just fine, but problems arise when my morning is usurped by the unexpected. When that happens, I wait until evening after the girls go to bed to write. But back to the schedule.

After work, I get home and start making dinner, usually having it ready by the time my wife has picked up the girls and arrives home. We eat dinner as a family and enjoy some time with our girls before it is the oldest’s bedtime at 7:30pm. The 3-month-old doesn’t understand bedtime yet. I take the dog for a walk, my wife packs our lunches for the next day or does the dishes from dinner, and we head to bed at an embarrassingly early hour so we can try to get some chunks of sleep in-between our baby’s wakeful times.

Our goal for each weekend is to have at least a little time together where we aren’t running around like headless fowl, but for the last couple months, things keep coming up. First, our only car that holds both car seats broke down and we had to buy another. Then family stopped by. Then a friend needed help with some projects. So, while each other these things aren’t bad in and of themselves (except for the car thing, that could have been better), our time together is chipped away by the unexpected.

The thing about all of this is this: my wife feels most loved through quality time spent together. When we don’t have time together, her love tank starts to leak. And when I choose to spend time writing instead of spending time with her, I pretty much knock the tank over. And in the last few weeks, this has happened a few times. Why? Because I like writing, I take pride in knowing that other people are reading what I’ve written, and I haven’t missed a day of blogging since I started quite a while ago. Though, looking at those reasons in light of the fact that I wasn’t taking the best care of my wife that I could, I can only conclude that I was being selfish. Not that doing what I like doing is selfish, but that I was choosing my desires over my wife’s and without her consideration.

This all came to a head recently, and I hate when I have to admit to being selfish, but after talking it out, my wife and I have a new plan where my writing is concerned. In theory, in a few months, our baby will be sleeping a bit better. We’ll still have the daily grind to deal with, but that’s just part of life. I’m going to try to get a few blog posts in the hopper so if I need to miss a day of writing, I’ll still have something to post. And I’m going to be savagely protecting our weekends from the good things (like extended family time) that aren’t the best things (like quality wife time).

Things will improve. Our marriage is strong. I love my wife more than bears love outdoor defecation.

I am a writer, but I am a husband and father first.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Are you a married person who has dealt with these issues? I’d love to hear your ideas for balancing life in the comments.

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5 responses to “Balancing Family, Marriage, Chores, and Writing. Oh yeah, and the Unexpected too.

  1. I promised my wife and myself long ago that I would not let writing interfere with my family. I have asked for a night or two to write, but other than that my focus is on her and the girls. Thus, I have been trying to get up at 5am to write every day, even on the weekends. This is especially hard when my daughter wakes up at night.
    I’ve realized lately that my goal is to publish a novel. That means I need to work on and submit some of my short stories too. So I have cut back on my blog as of this week. You challenged me (as did Terry Whalin at the Breathe Conference) to know what my writing goals are, to remember them, and to formulate a plan to execute them. So my plans are: three mornings a week blogging (and editing my novel once that is done) two working on short stories and weekend mornings and my one night a week out to work on my novel.

  2. Yes, this is soooo difficult. I hear about people who get a lot of writing done at night. But my husband feels neglected if I choose to be in at the computer instead of watching TV with him, already a shortened process because of our early rise time this year.

    It’s such a tough balance, and I would imagine it’s even more so for you, with a newborn. That part does get better (at least you eventually get sleep, if not more time to write). But the time constraints don’t ease up. If you find a time thingie to freeze time so we writers can squeeze in writing time in between other pursuits, you will be a very rich man.

  3. Pingback: A Blog Post about the Death of Blogging | Josh Mosey | Writer·

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