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Blogging With Kids: 9 Tips and Tricks to Keep You Sane

This guest post is by Marya Zainab of Writing Happiness.

Are you a blogger? Are you also a Mum with school age kids? Or a stay-at-home Dad?

If you’re like me, you might find it really difficult to manage your time—and your life—to get some writing done. You are talented, you are persistent. If only you could be really productive, so you can get some work done.

And you can be! All it takes is smart use of your time. This is what I recommend. Feel free to take what gels and discard the rest.

It’s okay to lie to people who don’t “get it”

Have you ever tried to tell your son’s school teacher that the reason why you can’t volunteer at the latest fun raiser is because you have to blog?

Apart from the blank stare that you’d most likely get, you would then have to explain yourself, become defensive and go away feeling very guilty, or carry a list of stuff that you ended up saying yes to.

Try telling the teacher you have other commitments that you simply can’t get out of.

One of your not-so-close friends is having a casual get together? Tell her you have some work-related stuff to do.

If the world is going to pretend that I, as a blogger, don’t have kids, I am going to pretend I have imaginary work-related commitments.

Think of the whole process as trying to save yourself the guilt trip and spare others trying to understand what blogging is. Tell people who do understand, by all means; they probably will get it anyway.

Appliances are your best friends

I don’t have a dishwasher in my house. For one, I don’t have the space for it, but the real reason is that I really don’t mind doing the dishes. This is almost a mind-cleansing activity for me.

The fact that I don’t have to use my brain to wash the dishes keeps my hands occupied while I have the time to clear my head and sort through things. I often get my best ideas when I am doing the dishes, and often go away (happily at that) to jot ideas.

But you might hate it! And that’s even more the reason to get a trusted dishwasher, if you haven’t already. While you’re in the process, get yourself a dryer, a weekly cleaning service (if you can afford it), kids’ car pools etc. Do your grocery shopping online. Let kids become a part of the solution—assign them some basic chores.

Outsource as many things that don’t require you personally to get done. This can save you valuable time.
My most favorite—TV, of course! Although use it with caution, and use sparingly. A close second is take-away one week night so I don’t have to worry about cooking for that night.

Get some help from Dad

Nothing beats a hands-on Dad. Get his help with various chores and kids activities.

Get him to cook one night of the week. Ask him to take the kids for their weekend sports. Ask him to do the night-time-bath-and-story-book thing once a week. Is he naturally more chatty, more outgoing than you are? Swap roles of being a “school mum.”

Is he stronger than you? Of course he is—remind him of this when he is grumbling about mopping the floors!

Be flexible

The only way a mum can survive as a blogger is to be as flexible as possible. You will miss out on a lot if you don’t.

There will always be things related to your kids and your household that you would have to do first. You won’t be able to write if your four-year-old is screaming for Spaghetti Bolognese right now. You won’t be able to write if your kid is at home sick—or your partner is home sick behaving like one.

Making an occasional batch of cupcakes with your kids will earn you serious brownie points and will go a long way in creating a harmonious relationship. Hopefully, they will then take a long time to eat those cupcakes as you sit down to write.

Just relax and look at a problematic situation differently. And be flexible.

Live one life

If your blog permits it, bring your children in the picture. Let them sprinkle their magic on your blog.
Then turn around the do the same for them—let your kids see you work. Show them you are as proud of your blog as you are of them. They may not understand it if they are little, but they will get used to see you do other things beside cook and clean.

Just the other day, my four-year-old told his older brother, “stop blogging me!” That lead to great laughter all around. He might not know what blogging is—he probably thinks it a synonym for “blocking”—but at least he is aware of the lingo. Many adults still aren’t.

Put on your oxygen mask first

How many times have you heard that happy parents make for a happy household?

Well, that is in fact the truth. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others. Do the things that really make you happy. This doesn’t make you selfish. Think of it as an investment. When you invest in yourself, your family reaps the rewards.

If blogging inspires you, by all means do it. Remember that you would have to prioritize some time for yourself, otherwise you will never be able to get it done.

Every time I complete my blogging goals for the day, I feel on top of the world. I am a happier mum, I am a joy to be around, and my kids love me even more.

You don’t have to be a poster parent

Resist to be a contestant for the race of being the Best Mum in the world. There are plenty of things you can do without:

  • You don’t have to bring adorable, homemade snacks to your kids’ school. Realize that you can buy cookies from the supermarket and nobody will really care.
  • You don’t have to have your house in tip-top condition. Well in case nobody ever told you, kids are messy: they make a mess everywhere they go! Must you clean after them all day long? Avoid doing activities that lead to even more messes, especially when you are running short on time.
  • Ironing your family’s PJ’s? Hello!

A blogging parent and pedestal parent are not mutually exclusive. Stop comparing yourself with others. Aim for “good enough.”

Focus

It’s about the quality than quantity. Be present. Be truly present in the moment, whatever you are doing. Whether it be playing with your kids, or writing that next blog post that goes viral. If you are distracted and spread yourself too thin, you will end up totally exhausting yourself.

  • Plan your day well ahead of the schedule. If there’s one thing every blogger mum or dad needs, it is to manage their time. You have to become extremely organized and self-disciplined—and you need an organizer.
  • Create more detailed to-do lists.
  • Plan weekly menus.
  • Organize your outfits for the week if you work outside the house.
  • For a clutter-free house, give something away when you buy something new. It’s a great lesson to pass on to your children as well.

Take this advice, and you’ll have more meaningful time to spend with your family, and even some left over for yourself. Best of all, you won’t feel so guilty about the time spent blogging.

Find a great blogging partner

While it sounds fantastic to have some real-life friends who are mums and bloggers on top of it, it’s very unlikely you will magically discover them.

I am very lucky to have a best friend who actually encouraged me to take up blogging in the first place. She is the most wonderful person to talk about my blogging “habit,” as even my husband struggles be understanding sometimes.

Find yourself other blogger mums online, take your time time to get to know them and then befriend one or two as real friends—not just the networking sort of friend. You will sleep better knowing you have one person who “gets it!”

Blogger mums and dads, what tips and tricks can you add to this list? Share them with us in the comments.

Marya is a communicator of ideas – writing for bloggers, writers and content creators. Catch more of her posts at Writing Happiness. Grab her FREE 29 page ebook How to Write Blog Content that Works – Get Noticed Online (and elsewhere!). Follow her @WritingH, she is very friendly.

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Comments

  1. Pamela says:

    Love it! If I have to read one more post by a single male blogger all of 23 years old telling me to work my butt off without any practical suggestions on how to fit one more activity in alongside a full time job, volunteer work, two blogs, and caring for a house and family, I’m going to york on someone’s shoes.

    Practical suggestions and encouraging to see someone who is successful while acknowledging that we can’t do everything everyone tells us to do.

    • I know the feeling Pamela. A lot of people who blog are either too young to have children or have children old enough to have their own children. There is no way they are going to get it. Our best bet is to find people who do. Thanks for sharing. :)

      Marya

  2. Julie says:

    I just love this post! I am a blogger, I sell Scentsy and do a few other things online to make money. I also have three little boys. It can be hard sometimes to balance everything and to not feel bad when I have to say no to stuff. I figure if I worked outside the home people would understand more. I think my closest friends do get that I do have a lot to do each day.

    • I actually don’t tell people that I blog. I tell them I am a web copywriter which actually includes paid blogging as well but I don’t like to say it. People don’t understand copywriting in the first place, they confuse it with copyright or something. In that case I simply tell them I am a freelance writer – which I am. Cheers.

  3. Great tips Marya, thanks. I have just started blogging and I am still trying to find a balance with life, kids, house and soon work too… Your tips are practical and helpful. I have been working first thing in the morning for a short stint after the kids have eaten breakfast and are happy to play for awhile, and then in the evening when they are in bed on some nights. That seems to be working in our home so far, in addition to some of your tips that I also use.

  4. Great post! I will share with my readers (mostly mothers and bloggers)…

  5. Alicia says:

    Great article! I have been working online since 2001 and blogging since 2005 and have found that not trying to be a poster parent has taken a lot of stress off my shoulders. I used to try to be a perfect parent but realized that taking care of myself and accomplishing my goals (blogging and otherwise) makes me a better parent than just about anything.

    • Wow, you sure have been working for a while, I am sure you have valuable tips you can share with the rest of us. But I agree, just taking that pressure of to be somebody you are not is HUGE. Thank you.

      Marya

  6. I am a blogger, a ghost-writer and I run an online business and I have 2 kids under 2. Finding the time to get anything done is sooo hard and it often means that I’m short on sleep. I don’t even have the luxury of dumping them in front of the TV so I can steal some minutes. Having a hands-on Dad is the greatest gift. Being organized helps too but flexibility is my greatest friend.

    Thanks for the tips here.

  7. Good advice for everyone, but especially parents who blog. So important to get some help because blogging truly is like a job. Too bad my dad lives so far away :O( I would totally utilize him if otherwise.

    • Drewry says:

      blogging can be, a family business where as family households can start a website, forum, or discussion site, and talk to each other back and forth in building up the site content while attracting traffic organically from search engines and social networks :-)

  8. Alma says:

    Excellent post. I have a 2 year old and trying to get things done when she is awake is like trying to thread a needle on horseback! I’ve found that fitting your blogging work into tv time, nap time and after bed time the easiest solution.

    • I actually couldn’t so anything when my little one was that age. Only when he turned 3 and started Kindergarten that I started looking into blogging and freelance web writing seriously. So, so hard when they are little. Thanks for commenting Alma. :)

  9. Josh Sarz says:

    Great to see your work again, Marya. I love your bit about not trying so hard to become a poster parent. It’s virtually impossible to be the best parent in the world. What parents need to work for is to become the best parent in the world in their kids’ eyes.

    My schedule is swamped with work and blogging, I can’t imagine what it must be like having kids.

    Have an awesome week ahead of you!

  10. Becky says:

    This is great! I don’t blog but I do do other things online and for many it’d be the same as telling them I’m blogging. Love your advice on telling those who understand what you’re doing and for those who won’t just give them something related to it that isn’t lying but may be a more broad context. Great advice!

  11. Number 1 tip – stop watching TV.

    I’m often asked how I find the time to do what I do. Usually by people who watched every episode of the latest cooking, dancing, or singing reality show, 2-3 variations of Law and Order and CSI, and can speak with authority on every Youtube meme that appears.

    • Paul, I don’t watch tv and I think many mums don’t either, at least the ones who have a proper home business. I think it is rather simplistic to think that giving up on tv can solve issues and frustrations of mums with little kids who are trying to work online. But I agree, it does help … Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Marya

  12. Thank you. For me, it is a tricky balance at best. And yes family can be the biggest support, be it a spouse or a dad. Cheers

    Marya

  13. Caylie says:

    Great advice Marya! Many of these tips apply whether or not you are a mum or dad blogger.

    A further tip would be to automate SOME of your promotion of each post. Free tools such as BufferApp and Hootesuite can really help free up your time. Of course, you still want to reply personally to any conversation around your work.

    Cheers, Caylie

  14. Dendy Darin says:

    Good advice Marya!

    I think ‘be flexible’ is the ultimate challenge among others. It’s mean, we can re-schedule every mini-goals, oftentimes make change priority and especially keep our focus stay on top. Blog with kids is interesting. The choice is, it can boost our blogging passion or dilute it ’till zero.

    So, flexibility is the key.

  15. Scottish Mum says:

    I laughed at a few of these. I love this post, especially about telling the school about prior commitments..

  16. Thanks Caylie for your tip. Wonder if I can automate some of my kids needs like food, entertainment and attention? ;)

    Cheers.

  17. Shelly Cone says:

    Super post. I know so many bloggers like to pretend that they have it altogether–no one likes to admit to the chaos behind the scenes. In my house we’ve instituted Monday pizza night so we can ease into the week. I love some of your other tips. Thanks for the post!
    Shelly

  18. Great Tips Marya.. I love the part outsourcing to the Dad.. I should do that more often.

  19. Yeah, me too. Except ‘Dad’ won’t come on board …

  20. Many of these really hit home for me. Especially the Putting On Your Oxygen mask first. Even though I know this intellectually, I find actually following it a challenge. So thank you for the reminder. I should probably put a post it on my computer with those very words.

    My partner and I work together. At home. Which means our home life, work life and parenting life all meld together. My tip for others is to create very clear boundaries. Like.. have a definite work place that is only for your work. Yes, the kids can join when they’re helping you, but no, they can’t draw in your notebooks. And when you’re in your work space, they cannot interrupt. (Refer to your Get Some Help From Dad to make this easier).

    But when you leave your workspace, you available for cupcakes and all the other things you mention.

    Lovely to read this post and now I’m off to explore your blog a bit more.

    • Many people equate that with being selfish but I beg to differ. A happy mum makes for a happy household, it can’t be any simpler. Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts and I hope to see you over at Writing Happiness. Hope you like! :)

      Mary

  21. Argh!!! Just read this after an hour of cleaning up Moon Dough… I’m thinking a campaign group ‘Parents against Moon Dough’

    Great points here, I am lucky in that my wife looks after the child care 2 days a week, but still sitting in the office with a 3 year old running about the house is not the best for concentration!

    • Matt, I am an evil mum, I do not allow any activities in my house that requires clean up of more than 5 minutes. This includes all sorts of messy play. I reckon they can get plenty of that at school and kingergarten. I draw the line, play dough maybe but no kid of mine is going to produce huge pieces of art work. Actually I am lucky, my boys are not inclined anyway. Cheers :)

  22. very helpful tips. having your spouse’s buy-in is important to succeed in an online venture while juggling a family

  23. Excellent tips! I’ve also found it really helpful to break my blogging tasks down into chunks that can be done in a short amount of time. Think micro-blogging – with two little ones under the age of 4, I might only get 15 minutes here or there to really work on my blog. So, having a ready-to-go list of things to work on for those 15 minutes keeps me focused and helps me squeeze everything I can out of those little time chunks!

    It IS possible to be successful, even being at home with little ones… set goals and stay organized and on task and you CAN go far! One day at a time…

    • Happy to know this strategy works for you. I find it extremely hard to do. The best I can do is tasks such as follow up on blogs or emails or a little bit of social media when I can, but I need to have some uninterrupted time for writing. I need to wait till my kids are at school and kindy. School holidays make it so much harder. Thanks for your lovely comment Tanya. Cheers.

  24. This post gave me a good chuckle!!!
    I can’t tell you how much I love this post. Am going to print it out for the next time someone asks me to go to some event I can’t go to because I need to blog.

  25. Drewry says:

    blogging with kids can be a beautiful labor of love in building up the blogs traffic and web visibility, even if everyone in the household is having imaginary conversations on the blog, and talking to each other, by way of blog comments.

  26. Wow – you sure made my day with your comment. Thanks heaps Phillipa, have a great day! :)

    Marya

  27. Sue Ireland says:

    I take exception to this post in a few ways. The challenges of blogging are the challenges of working with a family. If it is something you are doing seriously for a living, arrange childcare already.

    “Aim for good enough” with your family… is that the goal one should set for raising another human being? Is that the goal being set for your blog? No pedestal blogging please, just aim for good enough. Seriously?

    My family is not a “problematic situation to be looked at differently”. My peer group does not seem to find their families problematic situations either. So if a group of professionals, CEOs, lawyers, doctors, engineers, executives, can figure out how to conduct themselves professionally and still give their children baths, show up for school events, make quite adorable cupcakes and cheese trays, and look at their families as anything but a ‘problematic situation’… can bloggers not do the same?

    The way you define blogging sounds more like a desire to escape the reality of your life as opposed to a professional work effort. Families become just bit players to blog about, like characters in a play.

    This is almost patronizing, rather sad, and heavy on the judgment. Some people don’t have to iron their children’s pajamas, because they are folded right out of the dryer, wrinkle free, instead of left to sit because the adult responsible was too busy blogging away. Some people actually warm those same pajamas in the dryer 20 minutes before bedtime in the winter, so children get that warm cozy feeling. And iron sheets.

    And earn a six-figure income without having to refer to their family responsibilities as a complete distraction to the fantasy life being created online.

    Hard to take it as a serious profession when it’s written about this way.

  28. Hi Marya,
    Great to see you posting about this topic here. And timely too for those of us with kids currently on school holidays!
    Having been working at home for the past seven years now (although admittedly never with children under preschool age, and also only blogging for the past year) I’m so aware of how easy it is for the lines between ‘work’ and ‘home’ to be blurred. And how hard it is for people to understand that just because you’re home doesn’t make you free to get to a meeting, to go out for lunch etc!!
    For many, the choice to work at home is so that they can spend more time with their family, and so putting kids in childcare, as Sue suggested above, is not the solution. Of course, if they’re at home, the kids needs come first, and the blogging may sometimes have to wait. But when it comes to needing to be Supermum and have a perfect house, with ironed PJ’s, I’m with you, there’s no need for perfection. (And I know plenty of mums who work outside the home or are at home full time with their kids and not working who either struggle or don’t feel the need for domestic perfection either, so that’s certainly not an exclusive ‘blogger’ thing!)
    Thanks for addressing the topic here Marya. I think many women will benefit from more conversations like this and encouragement to pursue our passions in a way that also works for our families.

  29. Great ideas – and to them I would add that blog posts don’t need to be big long things. Sometimes a quick few thoughts is a great post.