Saturday, July 06, 2013

Write at Home Mom: Donna Alward

This month Donna Alward visits with a particular problem work-from-home moms are facing right about now... SUMMER VACATION.

It's school holidays.

While it's the hap hap happiest time of the year for kids in this hemisphere, those two words cause mixed feelings in my world. On one hand, most of my driving to activities has slowed to a dull roar. It's summer, a time of barbecues, pina coladas and floating in the pool. Flowers blooming, lush grass, sunsets. Longer days, trips to museums, campfires.

Which are all lovely and enjoyable EXCEPT WHEN YOU ARE ON A SCREAMING DEADLINE.

I love my children. I also love my husband - who teaches college so is also home ALL SUMMER. And so when I make my deadlines, I normally build in a "lighter" summer - so I can keep up with work but don't have a lot of pressure. Sort of...if I want to work, I can, but if it's a great sunny day and we want to take off for a few days, I can do that too.

But I couldn't do that this year. When certain opportunities come your way, you simply have to say yes. And believe me, I'm planning PLENTY of downtime for next summer. My very last deadline is July 1, 2014.

I have two projects on the go at the moment. The first is TREASURE AT LILAC LANE, which is the second in my Jewell Cove series for St. Martins Press and due July 31. The second project is a continuity book for Harlequin American, which is due September 1. Needless to say I do not have a lot of flexibility in my schedule.

So the trick do I keep the kids (and husband!) occupied so I can work while still leaving us time to recharge over the summer?

First of all, I bought my husband something he's wanted for a while: a tractor. Not a garden tractor but bigger - something he can rip up the yard with, pull out stumps, and generally go crazy. He'll also use it for snow removal in the winter. Win win. He can't WAIT to get it (which is any day now). He's been doing all sorts of puttering jobs too, because he knows I have to work. He stained the front steps and railings, painted all our carriage lamps, cut down trees, spread mulch, mowed the grass, and generally took on some odd jobs that had been put off. He's also cooked supper a fair number of nights. He's a good guy.

The kids, now that school is out, are part of a great Youth Leadership program in our community. For under $100 for both of them, they get First Aid training, several other "Leadership" courses, spend hours volunteering in the community, and have at least three "socials" that sound awesome... roller skating, laser tag, and a day at the beach anyone?

It's a fantastic program. My youngest is in level 1, so does 20 volunteer hours in addition to her training. My eldest is level 3, so she does 50 hours, and next year she can apply for a staff position. I get them out of the house and they get on-the-job experience AND the benefit of volunteering in our community.

Of course, there's still ample time for us to take afternoons to float in the pool (especially if I've had a peaceful morning to write!), or make s'mores over the fire, or take off for a day trip to a museum.

It took a bit of organizing on my part but I think we've hit a strategy that works! And next year? I'm planning a family vacation. We'll all have earned it!

Donna's newest book is A COWBOY TO COME HOME TO, book 4 in her Cadence Creek Cowboys series. You can catch up with her on her website at

1 comment:

  1. Great Post Donna. I would have commented sooner but was forced to take a three day weekend to entertain visiting family members - all of whom kept saying things like "since you're not working Monday..."