…and I’m desperately holding onto sanity.

This painting by John Linnell depicts “Lady Torrens and her Family” (1820). Linnell wrote “There Lady Torrens, in the most exemplary manner educated her six children to the admiration of all who witnessed the harmony & happiness with which her family was conducted…”

This level of serenity and harmony is actually what I strive for–and even often achieve, in my own family. But at transitions like this first week of the kiddos home, it isn’t easy. I can’t help thinking that Lady Torrens (in addition to having servants help her with household cares) wasn’t also trying to write a book.

Frankly, I’m a creature of habit, and changing schedules disorient and stress me out. I try hard to balance things, but crafting that balance requires different strategies at different seasons and different ages. Until it’s all figured out, my muse sulks somewhere complaining that I love the children more than her. And the fact is, they do come first, but until I get the schedule down that allows me some writing time, I feel like I go a little crazier every day.

In the past, I’ve relied on a few weeks of summer camp to get me some clear writing time (and the kids love them, too, so there’s no guilt). Other weeks, though, I need to scrounge writing time here and there. In the past I’ve had trouble getting my darlings to leave me alone while writing. Their definition of an emergency is a bit different from mine (I do not consider losing a doll’s glasses an emergency).

But I have to say this week is going better. For two days now they have actually left me alone for an hour each morning. Perhaps it was my paraphrasing Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter’s mentor, who cautions the students at Hogwarts “…the third floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.”

Anyone else out there trying to rebalance life with kiddos at home? Any tips and tricks that work for you?

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, Romantic Times Best Regency Romance of 2005