What is your childcare arrangement?
My husband stays home with the kids and I am extremely happy with it. I was at home the first four years. And that had it’s perks. But I think we’re both suited to this arrangement better. Who knows, it may switch again. He’s an actor. So he does get a job on a TV show, every now and then. But it usually only lasts a couple of days, and I can cover. When he’s in a play, his mother comes out and stays with us for a month or so to help with the kids.
Has having children affecting your career path?
Children gave me my career path. I started writing about being a parent. And now the bulk of what I write about is still in that arena. Though I think that’s slowly changing. The compromises are simply that sometimes I miss things. I go on book tours, and I miss the children. Sometimes my husband tells me something that happened at pre-school and I’m jealous that he got to see it all.
Please share some of your true and trusted tips for succeeding with the work/life juggle:
- I try not to multi-task when I’m with my children. I work really hard on being with them and not thinking about deadlines or the next thing I need to get done. This is very difficult. But when I achieve it, I feel more relaxed and I think that the children feel validated.
- My kids don’t watch much TV or use the computer a lot. Far from making my life harder, I’ve found that it makes it easier. They’ve learned to entertain themselves pretty effectively and they’ve had to rely on each other for entertainment. PLUS, when I they do watch a carefully chosen TV show (we’re big fans of Animal Planet), they really watch and appreciate it, because it’s a treat.
- We do a “Story a day” at dinnertime. Each person tells a story about their day. That way we feel connected to each other, even though we didn’t spend the day together. It’s often hard for me to come up with a story because all I did was write. So I started just telling them what I was writing about (when appropriate) and how I write. As a consequence, I think they have a real sense of the value of my job and how it works.
- I’ve instituted “Adult time” and it really has stuck. It’s a godsend. After the kids are read to and tucked in it’s “adult time” – which means that the kids can read in their beds or talk to each other – but they can’t bother the adults unless it’s really important (a bad dream, feeling sick – that sort of thing). That way, Pat and I have time to ourselves from 7:30 on. I think it’s a great way for us to keep connected and for me to prepare for the next day.
- I love the kitchen timer! I use it for any deadline – when the timer goes off, we’re getting into PJS or when the timer goes off we’re walking out the door. It really works better than nagging, somehow. They really respect the timer; maybe because they perceive it as being totally objective.