Having kids was a bit of a shocker for me. Said every parent ever.
We build up these ideas in our minds of what it’s like to be parents. We have great expectations of how life will be, and how our children will sit and play quietly while we make dinner or work. Then at night we get to read them a sweet bedtime story, tell them I love you, and kiss them good night.
That’s all there is to it, right?
Oh, how delusional……. Excuse me while I chuckle. (On an additional note, before I had kids I didn’t understand how much a parent could love their child! Now I know. It’s like that crazy, instant, “I love you so much I would give up my life for you in a heartbeat” kind of love.)
When I set out to blog, I was kind of winging it as far as figuring out how blog with kids. (Nothing like starting out with no clue, right?)
There was a bunch of trial and error, but mostly error. (Which I’m pretty sure is half of parenting.) I kept having a hard time finding a balance between the two, and something or someone always suffered for it. I wanted someone to tell me how to do it! How do you balance kids and blogging? Not to mention other important things in your life like food, clean clothes, and working.
I tried all different kinds of methods of balancing kids and blogging. It wasn’t always pretty, but I’ve finally found my groove.
So you get to hear it all- the good, the bad, and even the really ugly.
HOW NOT TO BLOG WITH KIDS:
The bad and ugly:
Want to know what was the worst thing I could do for my blog and my children? Trying to blog all day. I had these quaint ideas of trying to blog while the kids were playing nicely at my feet.
What kind of psycho am I? I have two toddlers in my house. There is no, “sit quietly and play.”
I kept trying to write blog posts in the middle of the morning, or in the afternoon after the boys woke up from naps, and I just kept getting so frustrated at how little I was getting done. I would work on the blogs and the children all day long, and at the end of the day, all I had to show for it was frustrated kids, me going crazy, a disaster of a house, and discombobulated blog posts.
For all my work and trying to fix ALL the things, I got absolutely nothing done, and my kids just wanted my devoted attention.
My attention was scattered. My focus was non-existent.
Because I tried to do everything at once, I accomplished nothing.
I took a step back and re-evaluated how I did things.
As a parent, you make sacrifices. Daily. (I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to eat something without three other people taking a bite of it.)
Point is, you NEED to step back from it all and look at it objectively. You have to find out what is important!
You cannot do everything at once. You cannot write a good blog post while reading a story to one kid, feeding a snack to another, running errands, and wondering if you switched the laundry sometime last week.
It just doesn’t work that way. Our BRAINS don’t function that way. Yes, a little multitasking can happen, but do you know we do our best work when we can devote all of our brain power to a project?
Note: If you want some good reading material for helping you choose priorities read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Not sleeping: mistake number 34.
Yes, when you miss out on sleep, you’re not only harming your health, you’re harming your creativity. There are studies that show that people who get a consistent amount of sleep are actually more productive than the people who neglect sleep in favor of working. Sleeping recharges your brain and allows you to use a more creative mind.
I tried to get by on four hours of sleep for a while so that I could blog. All it did was make me exhausted and have to redo almost all the work I did when I should have been sleeping.
Don’t be me: recognize that sleep is vital and that you shouldn’t neglect sleeping!
HOW DO I BLOG WITH KIDS:
Get up early:
Yes, I know this is what no one wants to hear. But it’s true. If you get up earlier you set yourself up for success. Not only do you establish a healthy morning routine, you also will have time to get some work done before the kids get up.
You don’t have to be the most chipper person to make mornings work for you. You can simply get up, stretch your muscles, drink your coffee or tea, and slowly get your mind going. It will make you feel ready to face the day as it comes.
More reading on having good mornings: The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
While I believe even just rising thirty minutes earlier sets you up for success for the day, I like to use early mornings as a chance to blog uninterrupted. Even if you don’t have a creative mind in the early morning hours there are some blogging tasks you can do: graphics, plugins, design, blog maintenance, affiliate links. There are many blogging tasks that don’t require a pile of creativity.
This is where the next point comes in….
Have a plan:
Having a plan streamlines your work and lightens your load. Create a detailed plan of what you need to do each day and what needs to be accomplished. This will help you especially if you aren’t a natural morning person.
(If you would like to meet the most uncreative person in the world, try carrying on a conversation with me at 4 in the morning. It ain’t going to happen.)
When you have a detailed blogging plan, you’ll be able to stay on track no matter how little time you have. If the kids are playing nicely and you have a chance to work on something, you can pull out your plan and see what you need to do next. You can keep track of what you’ve already accomplished and keep making forward progress.
What to put on your detailed plan: blog graphics, emails, social media to schedule, blog comments, engagement, blog drafts, blog titles, etc.
Work while they sleep:
This is this most obvious solution when you have young children. I mean seriously. If you would like to get uninterrupted work done, this is the answer.
Unfortunately, it’s never as simple as that. Some of you mommy bloggers out there have brand new little ones who nurse all day long. Some kids will refuse to sleep anywhere but on you. It makes it more difficult to finish your work if you can never set your child down. (Ahem, I speak from experience on this one. 😁)
When I blogged with a brand new baby, I found that using a Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner works if your nursing while blogging. It lets the baby sleep snuggled up next to you but frees up your hands to type. The Ergobaby is my favorite infant/toddler carrier. It’s so easy for them to snuggle up against your chest and sleep and you have full range of motion. You can sit there and type until the keys fall off. 😉
Don’t rely on the TV babysitter:
This is a touchy subject. Everybody has an opinion about how much TV a kid should watch and how much they shouldn’t. Seriously. There are books and books written on this subject. I’m simply going to tell you what works for us.
You can take it or leave it.
I used to let my kids watch TV during the day. Almost every single day. I thought it was the only solution for me to be able to get anything done and the only way I would ever be able to blog or cook a meal. Turns out I was wrong.
I decided to try an experiment with my kids: I wanted to find out how much their behavior was affected by the amount of TV they watched.
I had to re-train myself when I began this experiment. I found myself wanting to put a show on for the kids just because that’s what you do at a certain time of day. Except the kids were getting whinier and whinier. It got to the point where I couldn’t reheat my coffee for the 243rd time without the kids whining and crying for attention and to “watch more shows.”
It was terrible.
So we’ve stopped watching shows during the day. We’ll still watch a show or a movie at night a couple times a week- but we don’t even do that every night.
Now, I want you to know I went back and forth trying this little experiment.
There would be a week where we didn’t watch anything. There would be a week where we did watch quite a bit. And I began to see a huge correlation between the two. I found out that TV isn’t helping my kids with ANYTHING.
It wasn’t just a fluke deal. It actually makes a HUGE difference. My kids are happier, more creative, and are more easily self-entertained when we keep TV to a minimum during the week. It was a little frightening to see such a complete difference.
What does this have to do with how to blog with kids?
More than you can imagine. When your kids are happy, healthy, and able to play toys and build and create, you are going to be able to get more done. You’ll be able to have a clean house and blog when the kids go to bed. Now the kids are getting to the point where they will sit and play pretend long enough for me to complete a blog project. It’s fantastic.
Use your spare minutes:
My boys played outside for about 90% of the summer. I got a fantastic tan and I left a permanent butt imprint on my lawn chair. It was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Not only did I get a great tan, but my kids would play so contentedly when they get to dig in the dirt and sand or play with their water table.
You know what that means? I had spare minutes sitting in my lawn chair watching the kids. I pulled out my phone and set to work.
What you can do it you have a few spare minutes:
- Rough draft blog posts
- Write blog post titles.
- Create graphics.
- Schedule social media.
Set it aside:
Do you know what has been the most valuable thing to my blog growth? My new ability to set it aside.
My personal goal this last year has been to learn to focus and follow through.
The ability to set something aside is incredibly freeing and beneficial. Do you know what happens when you’re able to set something aside? You’re happier, have a clear mind, and have a renewed energy for whatever it is you are working on.
When you are able to set aside your blog and focus on your children, you are showing them how much they matter to you. I absolutely love it.
I’m not saying you should entertain your children 24/7, I think that’s incredibly unhealthy for both parents and kids, but for the kids to see that you are able to prioritize and finish your work, they learn a healthy balance from YOU. They see that you can finish a task and not obsess over it. They see that you are able to blog AND be a parent.
When you are able to set aside your social media and brainstorm about blog posts, you will accomplish twice as much- I can almost guarantee it. There is a lot to be said for complete focus. If you have a split focus you end up having to repeat tasks multiple times.
You can blog with kids: it’s just a matter of finding a way to make it work.
Get up early
Have a plan
Work while they sleep
Don’t use the TV babysitter
Use your spare minutes
Learn to leave it alone