18 hours per week. My youngest is in preschool for 18 hr/wk. Max. Usually less if there’s an illness, holiday, vacation, half-day, teacher-in-service, field trip, homeroom party, or another activity that I like to be involved with at the school.

I’m trying to launch a second career with 18 hours max potential kid-free time. I’ve been thinking lately of putting it on hold until all my children are in school next year every day until 2:45PM. How can I re-enter the work force on this sort of schedule? It’s insanity.

I should be drinking coffee with a friend, having my nails done, buying myself a new pair of jeans, or checking on my parents. But, instead, I’m holed up in my bedroom, hiding from my dirty dishes and laundry, trying to write a novel during my precious preschool hours. J.K. Rowling, I have even more respect for you than I already did.

Like the rest of you, I have groceries to buy, dinner to make, toys to put away, and bills to pay. I constantly have to prioritize. Which tasks can be done while the kids are home versus the few fleeting hours of quiet while they’re not?

I haven’t had to juggle this many variables before. Should I exercise or write? After the kids go to sleep, should I watch TV with my husband or write? Should a read a novel or work on my own novel? It is overwhelming.

How do women work from home without crumbling under all this stress?

Here are some things that I tell myself when I start to get discouraged:

  • I need a flexible schedule. Working from home is really my only option and I don’t have the talents of baking, decorating, or party planning. Keep writing.
  • The kids aren’t in school full-time yet, be patient.
  • I have the luxury of not being in it for strictly monetary purposes. If I was, I’d be back at the law firm making a 6-figure salary.
  • Being one’s own boss is both a blessing and a curse.
  • It takes a lot of upfront time to start a second career.

My dad just called and asked me to get lunch with him. He’s seventy-years old and was just in the hospital a few week ago for a back surgery. I turned him down because I’m in the middle of writing this article. The struggle is real.

For everyone doing it, I applaud you. For moms who write, for moms who work, for moms who parent, for moms who take care of their own parents, for moms who’s husbands work their own crazy schedules, and for dads at home, I get it. Well done.

1PM. Seventy-five minutes until I have to leave to pick up my daughter at preschool. Time to keep writing…