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Saturday, June 24, 2017

A WAHM Guide to Not Being Productive During Summer

A post shared by rlroberson (@rlroberson) on

I say it every single year. Won’t you join me? “This summer I am going to be SO productive with my writing! I’m going to make reprint sales. I’m going to finally make progress on my manuscript!”


So how’s your summer going so far as we approach the end of June? Right now mine is pretty much par for the course. I thought that having kids who are finally older (middle school age, gasp!) would make things easier. Was I ever wrong. Here’s a little overview on how my June went for me.

The day after school let out—my mom arrived for a weeklong visit. She lives halfway across the country, so this was a treat. I’m not exactly sure why I arranged for her to arrive the day after what is always the busiest week at my kids’ school, but the plane ticket was purchased, and we had to go with it. Of course, the day she was scheduled to fly in also happened to be the ONLY day I could schedule an interview with a local vet for an article I was working on. I explained to him my time crunch, and we got everything settled. I rushed back home with an hour to spare to grab the kids. Of course my mom’s flight happened to be early so we weren’t there when she got off the plane. We weren’t there when she collected her baggage. Sad to say, she met us in the front of the airport and jumped in the car as I pulled up in the terminal, leaving me feeling like the worst daughter in the world.

I had also planned for us to take a road trip to the beach for two days during her visit, and reserved a condo with great views of the ocean and Wi-Fi, or so I assumed. Never assume. I couldn’t figure out how to connect to Wi-Fi and had to end up calling the owner. She was older and doesn’t realize the joys of internet connection and said she didn’t know the password, and she would try to call the property manager and find out. I tried not to stress because I had planned on doing a little work while there. One of the benefits of freelancing is that you can work from anywhere, right? Not if you don’t have Wi-Fi! I had to end up using a hotspot from my phone that used my data, which worked, but left me limited with what I could do. I never heard back from the owner or property manager.

A few days after Grandma left, my son went away to Boy Scout Camp for the very first time. I was a nervous wreck, but I still had to work and figure out how to entertain my daughter. Two days of that week, she had to volunteer at the library so I simply took my computer and worked blissfully uninterrupted. Luckily she is 14, and can pretty much entertain herself when she’s not at a friend’s house, facetiming random classmates or at a violin lesson. This week, my son is back and was exhausted for the first few days. Then the questions started. “What are we doing today?”

You may remember that I also do pet sitting/dog walking for supplemental income. This has been the busiest week I’ve ever had with two overlapping pet sitting jobs, which I’ve tried to weave in along with assignments and driving the kids where they need to be. My daughter had to be picked up from volunteering every day this week, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the car. Two nights I ago I realized I don’t have anything for my son to do when my daughter goes to music camp next month, and in desperation I signed him up for a basketball camp sponsored by our local NBA team. He was pumped, and then the next day I got the opportunity to go on a travel press trip to a water park the EXACT week of both of their camps. I slyly asked him if he wanted to go to a waterpark instead of basketball camp, and he said no. I turned down the trip. Next week we are tagging along on a business trip of my husband's and I will have my computer with me. At least I know the hotel has Wi-Fi.

You see where I’m going with this. The erratic schedule of summer is actually worse than the erratic schedule of the school year—at least in our house. So far I’ve been able to keep my head above the water with my paying assignments, but the manuscript remains untouched.

So how’s your summer going?

Renee Roberson is a freelance writer and editor who writes for lifestyle and parenting magazines and is still trying to figure out the balance between motherhood and writing. 


  1. Renee--Your summer sounds like my summer, except I don't have any kids. However, I had a trip to Turkey, a month-long class to teach (every day, all day) and even though the class is finishing up this next week, I then have a trip to the Grand Canyon to plan, along with getting donations for our rescue's trivia night (which happens in August). Yikes for both of us!

    What about as you're driving around, you let those dogs (that you're pet sitting/dogwalking) run around loose in the back seat of your car? Wouldn't each errand count as a walk? ;) If they get into skirmishes due to the close quarters, that's just more exercise, right?

  2. Yes, yes, yes. I am the queen of this. :) Last week in the evening, when I'm going to "finish up" things I didn't get accomplished during the week, I had my critique group, Rollerskating with Katie, and then the Muny (outdoor theater). Summer! I love it, but man, you do have to be the queen of scheduling and flexibility.

    Your Wi-fi story made me laugh. I mean, I know it didn't make you laugh, but that is classic !

  3. I understand the frustration. My kids are a little older now, and some of those crazy schedules have settled down, but with work and the house and laundry and cooking time still seems to slip away!


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