Eight mistakes I made balancing my role as a mom and an author

Not taking some time out to focus on just being a Mom.

I’ve been working since the day my little one was born. I’ve never taken a break to just enjoy being around her. Get into a rhythm of being a Mom. I’m more scatterbrained than ever. And a schedule for us, It doesn’t exist.

I constantly fret about the things I’m not doing well enough for my daughter and… I wish that I had taken the time to focus on being a Mom first. To get comfortable in that new role first before I tried to continue things the old way. Sometimes my priorities get mixed up and my daughter goes to bed too late. I’m ashamed of this and I want to do better for her.

Not giving myself concrete hours for writing and marketing, (like time blocking) and working endlessly.

Having a set amount of time to work on something helps kill perfectionism and optimize the time you have alone. This social media business takes way longer than I expect it to, even when I’m not being a perfectionist. So does blogging and any other task I hope can be done quickly. If I don’t set an end time or an alarm, I’ll go at it for hours and the time will whither away the way spring has already yielded to summer.

I’m the type of person who gets lost in her work. Once I’ve started something, I could bury my head in it for days or weeks. Or Months. And I don’t like being interrupted. But guess what? This doesn’t work well when you are a mommy.

Did I tell you when my little one was a six-month-old baby, she would take 30-minute naps? And it would take 15 to 30 minutes to get her to sleep. Imagine how much writing I got done in that time? NONE. I watched anime and other shows that were less than 30 minutes. Mostly because I didn’t want to get involved in a project I’d have to shut down quickly.

And now that my daughter is two, she is content to watch Peppa Pig or one of those other British cartoons on YouTube for hours. I feel guilty for letting her zonk out on her kiddie tablet, even if I’m being “productive.” I want to do more to teach her about the world and expand her mind.

Not separating work time and Mommy time. Multi-tasking.

Even when I’m not physically working, my head is often somewhere else. I’m always trying to sneak in a minute here and there, and I get lost scrolling Instagram when I should be networking, researching, or actually writing. Tasks never get completed, I have notes all over the place and I’m working on a million things at one time in my head. Also, random letters get slapped into my blog posts and book edits. I get frustrated and I can’t think with cocomelon and baby shark playing on repeat in the background.

My attention is often split between writing and serving breakfast, networking and playing with blocks. I’m burning food I’m prepping and and the dishes never get washed.

I can’t work and be the best parent to my child at the exact same time. I can do one at a time. Write, like I am now while she’s sleeping. And STOP writing when she gets up. Focus on her.

If I focus 100% on my daughter when she needs it, I will be rewarded with time and focus to do my work.

Being a perfectionist.

When you’re a mom, you don’t have time for perfectionism or obsessing over insignificant details. If you see a mistake later, go back and fix it when you can.

I’m not talking about in your final published book. That sucker better be as dang close to perfect as you can get it, especially if you’re an indie-author.

I’m talking about when you’re blogging, sharing on Instagram, or if your website is acting wonky. As someone who used to edit other people’s stuff, I loathe typos and things that look “off.” But when I’m short on time, they’re going to happen. If I want to keep moving forward, keep self-imposed deadlines and schedules, there will be mistakes. Blog posts with typos. Occasional Instagram posts that are off “brand” or message.

My husband is happy to point out typos. I don’t mind if readers point them out to me. I’ll correct them when I can. And when they’re in already published photos, all I can do is shrug and let it go.

I used to spend hours and hours, revising and revising. Tweaking and worrying. Choosing between two pictures that, at a glance, look identical. And I still do, if by some miracle my daughter sleeps in when I get up early. But if not, I have to keep working. Moving forward to the next task. I can’t stop.

Taking forever to make decisions.

Lately, I’ve been agonizing over how to connect with potential readers, what I should blog about, what I should share on social media, how the heck am I going to make a book trailer… what on earth I want on the book cover, and it’s using up my brain space. I’m distracted and multitasking. I’m not mentally/emotionally present for my child when I need to be, and I’m working inefficiently when I’m writing.

I waste a ton of time deciding things. I waste a ton of energy making up my mind.

Most decisions in this process can and should be made quickly. Like what I’m going to post. And if I make a mistake, I can go back and course correct. Thinking isn’t usually doing. Worrying and agonizing certainly isn’t doing.

Come up with a process for making decisions quickly if you can. And let me know if you do.

Focusing on the destination instead of the journey.

Everyone says this and I hate it. I’m focused on getting this book published, that’s my goal, why shouldn’t I focus on that?

Here’s why I’m saying to focus on the journey. Book release day is one day. I can’t market and do these things for just one day. I’ll have to continue marketing after book release day. I’ll have to keep promoting and writing and blogging.

So here I am, all stressed out about the marketing for ONE day when the reality is the marketing NEVER ends. It ends if I quit, but I don’t have that day on my horizon. There is no point in me trying to pile a million tasks on top of myself all at once to get it done for ONE day. Especially the ongoing tasks, like blogging. It never stops.

Sure there are certain tasks I have to do before Part I release day, before book cover reveal day, but those aren’t routine. The journey is writing the book, marketing the book/myself, connecting with readers. These are daily things. And if I don’t like these things, why am I doing it?

Enjoying the journey is the nature of being a parent. Every day my child does something new. It would be great if she could use the potty or brush her teeth on her own, but those things will come, eventually. And she’ll rely on me less and less. And when that day comes, I’ll have more time to work. But if I’m not enjoying what’s happening with her now, I’m missing out. I’m not enjoying the journey with her. I’m too busy thinking after my book is published, then I can focus leveling up my mommy-hood. But no. this is my life now and both of these things have to exist concurrently.

,My daughter is already a different child from when this pandemic started and that was a couple of months ago. She talks more, her words have gotten clearer. She counted to 12 yesterday! Her needs change daily, weekly. If I want to be there for her, I need to be on the journey, in the moment, not looking to when it can happen future.

Not resting. Staying up really late to do marketing because I finally have the time, and getting up early to write.

Do I really need to elaborate on how bad it is to neglect self-care? I cant think clearly or write well if I’m tired. I can’t make decisions. I stress out on small details. I ruminate and ruminate and get nothing in the household done. Rest will make you more efficient in both your roles. You know this.

Forgetting the reasons I’m doing all this.

Of course, I love writing (most days), and I have stories I want to tell, and characters I want to share.

But I’ve forgotten that I’m working for freedom. Freedom to live a life that I love. So I can have money that works for me. So I can be free from employer-imposed schedules and I can spend time with family. So I can show my child that you can do what you love and be successful and you don’t have to rely on jobs/careers that undervalue you, treat you as a disposable commodity.

If I’m stressed out and not being deliberate about living the life I want right now, what’s the point? I’m focused on the end goals, the “some/one day,” I won’t’ get to enjoy living life now.

I can live how I want right now, but I need a little discipline. Properly balancing mommy life and author life will allow me to give my all to both. Not half a**ing both.

I love being my daughter’s mommy. And I love writing. I want to give my all to her and be an authorpreneur. And I can do both, as long as I find balance.

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