With my sixth book in production, and my fourth child on the way, I frequently get asked: "How do you do it? How do you find time to write such incredible books and take care of your home and family too?" I can tell you it's not easy! It takes a lot of self-discipline and time management, but it's also very doable. The last year or so I have been asked to teach a class on making time to write: finding balance between motherhood and authorship. So I decided to put everything I have learned (and continue to learn) about being both a mom and an author on this blog in, what I hope, will become a new weekly segment.
Setting the Example
I recently had a review posted on one of my books that really bothered me. It wasn't necessarily a bad review, she gave the book four stars. But what this mother said in the review made my heart ache for her and her daughter. She claimed the final book in my Princess Sisters trilogy (Forever After) was not appropriate for her daughter to read. There is kissing and teenage girls having to make difficult decisions in my most recent novel.
Let me preface by saying my books are clean. I am very careful about the content I include in my writing. You will never find a swear word or a sex scene or anything graphic in one of my novels. I also write about issues that are real. I want young girls to know that it's okay to say no. I want them to know that they don't need a boyfriend to feel validated or popular. I want young girls to know that it's okay to be you. Be happy with who you are and don't let anyone ever make you feel less. I want young girls to know that they should stick up for their morals and their values and what they believe in. Even if they are afraid the boy they love won't like them anymore. They need to see examples of girls their age being strong. They need to see examples of girls their age making these hard decisions. And they need to see examples of girls their age standing up for themselves.
In my book, a character chooses her family over a boyfriend and ends up losing the boyfriend (but gets someone better in the end). Another character is faced with the choice between college or the boy she loves. She chooses college and things turn out great. A character is faced with an offer to move in together, which is against her beliefs. She chooses to stand up for her beliefs, and it all works out in the end. Another character is kissing a boy and it starts to go too far. They both stop before it does and decide to make some changes so it doesn't happen again.
Young girls need to see examples like these characters. So many girls grow up in homes where no one talks about the hard things. Mine was one of these homes. We didn't have real conversations about uncomfortable topics. I knew right from wrong, but what I didn't know was how to stand up for myself. I knew I should say no, but no one taught me how. My characters deal with real situations and real problems so young girls can learn by example not only that it's okay to stand up for themselves, but how to go about doing it.
Too many books and movies show girls willing to do anything to get and keep their boyfriends. They show that having a boyfriend as a teenager determines their self worth. Let's have real conversations with our girls about these issues, and let's provide examples of other girls making good decisions. Let's teach our girls to be strong!