In theory, writers who do not work outside the home should be able to set aside time to write and be on the path to achieving their goals. This is because household chores and errands are divided up. Everyone in the family carries their share of the responsibilities, according to their age and ability. And with few exceptions, everyone can do something useful.
In practice, as most writers know, this is a little harder to achieve, particularly if the household currently contains difficult people. Shall we suggest moody teenagers or lazy spouses? The way to avoid confrontations is to train children from the time they are small that chores are to be shared. They are not all Mom’s job to do. This tends to work until they reach pre-teen years when rebellion can really start to kick in.
“I didn’t ask to be born!” is a frequent response. Well, guess what, sweetie? You not only wanted to be born, you asked Heavenly Father if you could come to this family. That doesn’t mean your parents are perfect. Far from it. But it does mean you carry your share of the load. Not more. That wouldn’t be fair. But you do get up off your lazy backside and help out.
If a parent is abusive and the other doesn’t believe it, or can’t stop the abuse, the child will start looking for a way out of the house. Believe me, this happens more often than most of us want to know. Talk to a trusted relative or a school counselor or call the Childhelp hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) available 24/7, or go to their website Childhelp.org to find out what options are available. Their website states they are unable to go to a home to remove a child and take him or her to a safe location, but they will help the caller in other ways.
If you have to, go to the local police station and report the abuse. But you do NOT want the child to end up wandering the streets. Only hunger, cold, terror, and unspeakable abuse will greet them out there.
It is significantly harder to train spouses who would rather lie on the couch and watch sports after a day arguing with the nincompoops at the office. Or maybe the spouse is the nincompoop who triggers the arguments. Either way, their refusal to help with anything at home often stems from the way they were raised. Either they weren’t expected to help out at home or they claim they did all the cooking and cleaning (while parents worked shifts) and won’t lift a finger now that they have a family of their own. But the writing spouse should at least try to get their cooperation, even when the moral support is likely to be missing. “You’re never going to get anywhere with that writing stuff! Why don’t you just give it up?”
A writer with no support or help at home will soon be frustrated and overwhelmed. Still, she (or he) can swap an afternoon of child care with a friend or neighbor and at least get something done. Since it’s better to write every day or every other day, some writers can even juggle a child’s nap schedule to accomplish this. However, if the “child” is an aging parent or spouse, it will take a very good friend or hiring someone to come in and talk to them for a couple of hours every day. (Many agencies have a minimum 4-hour requirement, though, to make it worth the aide’s travel time and expense.)
A writer cannot Not write. It is something we are born with, literally in our genes. For a few years we can satisfy the creative urge by doing crafts, perhaps knitting, crocheting, woodworking, or quilting. But if we are writers, we have to find or make the time to write! Do less housework, whatever it takes. But write!