When Life Is a Moving Target - Guest blog by Katrina Ávila Munichiello

I have been a fan of today's guest blogger for quite some time. She is a lover of tea, as am I, and she is the most wonderful writer. Her book, "A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup At A Time," is one of my comfort foods. So, it is with great delight to be able to share her living/working/juggling reality here.  Enjoy!


I need a schedule.

This is the recurring thought that enters my brain on daily basis when I realize I'm not exercising or writing enough or organizing the house the way I'd like. But my life right now is kind of the epitome of the idea of "We plan. God laughs." I have three kids ages 7 and under, which means one is in school during the day, one is in school half days, and one is home with me all the time. They're not in daycare or afterschool care and we don't really have a babysitter. So, everything I do revolves around other people's schedules. I have become the master of squeezing projects into small chunks of time, planning articles in my head while driving to gymnastics or soccer or drama class, and making assessments about which household chores REALLY don't have to be done THIS week.

The crazy part of all of this is that I hadn't intended to work. I was going to be a full-time stay-at-home mom as long as we could make the numbers work and when the kids were a little older I'd return to work. After my second was born I started blogging as a hobby. I rediscovered my love of writing and "met" wonderful people who inspired me to consider doing more. Then someone I'd met through the blog asked if I'd do some copywriting. That led to writing articles and, eventually, a book. When I received a call last winter asking me to serve as Contributing Editor for the relaunch of Tea Magazine (www.teamag.com) I jumped at the chance. When I was promoted to Senior Editor I suddenly realized that I was now really, really working. Suddenly this full-time stay-at-home mom realized she had a full-fledged part-time job with people depending on her.


I have come to accept that planning out dedicated writing time is the only way that I will be able to do my job well. I have also come to accept that that "schedule" will never be as consistent as I would like.  For awhile all my writing was done at night. As soon as the kids went to bed, the laptop came out. It was not uncommon for me to still be logged in at 1 a.m. It didn't do much for my sleep deprivation but honestly, with little kids, sleep deprivation was just life. As the kids got busier during the day, my ability to stay up that late went by the wayside. Suddenly, falling asleep on the couch at 10 (sometimes in the middle of typing a sentence) was not doing much for my productivity. Then I hit that wonderful period where the oldest was in school, the middle was in preschool, and the youngest napped at the same time. I had two full hours, three times a week, to write. I was awake and alert and other people were actually in their offices if I needed to do interviews or get in touch with people. Then summer arrived and everyone was home.  I tried to wing it. I'd just fit in work when I could. As everyone probably could have predicted, it didn't work. I only found time to fit in the assigned work. All the other projects I wanted to do never materialized. I just never felt as good about what I got done, knowing that with more time I could have done more.

So now we're back to school and I'm facing new schedules. The youngest child's nap no longer aligns with the middle child's school time so there is at least one child needing time and attention all day. Perhaps this is when I set days each week when I will get up before everyone else and work. Or maybe it's handing off bedtime routines to my husband (who is always on board to do whatever will help me juggle!) a couple of nights per week so my work can start at 7 instead of 9. Or maybe it's time to tell create a "job" for child #2 that she can do while I do some work in the afternoon. We can share an "office" at the kitchen table. I'm not sure yet, but I know I can't operate without a plan.

In case you're wondering, this post was written at the kitchen table while two kids ate lunch.

Katrina Ávila Munichiello is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom in Massachusetts. She currently serves as Senior Editor of Tea Magazine, writes the Tea Pages blog (teapages.teatra.de) and is the author of "A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time" (Tuttle Publishing, 2011). She can be found on her website at www.kamwrites.com or by emailing kamwrites@gmail.com

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