Balancing Work and Family- Writers Share

The past six months of interviewing published authors and editors for the Write2Ignite Writers’ Conference has been an educational blessing.

Remember when Boaz told his servants to let Ruth glean grain from the fields? He even ordered them to pull out some of the good stuff and drop it for her to use.   

Like Ruth, I am eager to glean from others. Those I interviewed graciously pulled out and offered the “good stuff.”

Some of our conversations relate to the world of writing and publishing. However, a great deal of what I’m gleaning is lessons from their life experiences. Whether you are a writer, or not, there’s something of value to be picked up here.

That’s why I’ve decided, on the first Monday of each month, to share excerpts from some of those interviews with you. Get your basket. We’ve got some grains of wisdom to gather.

How many of us strain balancing work and family? Even homeschooling moms like me grapple with the needs of our family, church, and community in the midst of maintaining our homes and teaching our children. If you google about this dilemma you'll get thousands of responses.

I asked these authors how they did it.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter
Joyce Moyer Hostetter, a multi-award-winning author of historical fiction said,

 “I’m not sure how balanced I’ve been but I’ve chosen not to work at another job.  I prefer less money and a lesser house to the stress of two jobs.  So I write from home and I venture out for research and school visits.
Helping with the grandchildren, taking care of an elderly parent, etc. can definitely reschedule my writing life.  But I’ve learned from godly parents to make faith and family my priorities.
I do get frustrated about postponing writing for yet another day. Balancing it all is an ongoing struggle.  But as a Christian, I think it will always be that way if I respond to needs around me - as I think I should.”

Vijaya Bodach, author of several non-fiction books, said,

Vijaya Bodach
 “Balancing everything is hard. The needs of my family come first. I also do a lot of work-for-hire and this tends to be on tight deadlines. I do the teaching and work-for-hire first. Some days I do not get to my own writing (the works of my heart) but that’s okay. I always scribble away in my journal.

My husband helps me a great deal.  I am blessed to have a family that is excited and supportive of my writing.”

Cecil Murphey, author of over 120 books, including 90 Minutes in Heaven, shared his heart about balancing family with work.

That’s always been the tough part for me. With my children grown, I’ve often wished I had given them more time. I apologized to them, and they responded graciously and said they had no complaints.
Cecil Murphey
Our middle child, who gave us the most trouble during her teens, said to me with tears in her eyes, “You were always there for me when I needed you.” (Then my eyes filled with tears.)
Although I wish I had been a better parent (and I assume most of us feel that way), I know my kids love me. They come to our monthly family get-togethers, even though I frequently tell them, ‘If you get a better offer, take it.’ I want them to come only because they want to be with us and not from any sense of obligation.”

Another thing I learned from talking with Cec is he stays focused on his work during a set time each day. Unless there is a looming deadline, he stops at 5:00 p.m. My own husband sets a good example of leaving his work at the office.
I guess we moms need to learn how to do that. Stop “working” at a certain time each day. It’ll be there tomorrow to pick up again. That just sounds easier said than done!

We hear all too often of parents doing their own thing and “losing” their children. There are also dangers of centering your whole life around the child’s—allowing his desires to be the primary focus.

I think all parents struggle with this from time to time. Keeping our priorities in order requires self-discipline. Essential in balancing work and family is devoting the matter to continual prayer. Should we maintain an even balance between work with family? Work is important but, to me, people take precedence.

Our sinful selves can rationalize all day long the choices we make. The worldly voice shouts daily, “Have it YOUR way.”

My conclusion is even if we try our best, there are days when we’re going to mess up. Tipping the scales to either overindulge our children or overwork ourselves. Or overwork our children and overindulge ourselves! (Is that even possible?)

Constantly seeking God’s grace and wisdom is our only hope. Jesus Christ must be the center foundation to maintain stability at work and in our homes.