You’ve got an Hour of Free Time; do you Read or Write?

This is the conundrum I face every day. Let’s face it, there are only so many hours of peace and quiet in my household, and those hours have a name: Nap Time. By the time this much-needed hour and a half rolls around, I’m feeling worn out, although not as worn out as I’ll be feeling by bedtime.


So what do you do? Do you read or write? Nothing’s more relaxing then having a cup of tea and getting lost in another world for a while. It’s refreshing too, recharging my parenting batteries for the second half of the day. And there is absolutely nothing I enjoy more than reading. I’ve been passionate about books for as long as I can remember.


But here’s the problem; if you think it’s hard to read with a toddler in the room, imagine writing. It is truly impossible in my house. I can maybe sit in front of the computer for ten minutes before he gets upset that I’m not paying attention to him. And his tactics for getting my attention are pretty darn good. (Let’s see if we can unravel and flush a whole roll of toilet paper at once!) If I want to write, that’s really the only time of day it’s going to happen, because let’s face it, by 10 PM, I’m so tired I can barely function.


So what do I do? This week, I’ve been reading. My son hasn’t been sleeping well, which means I’m confused and tired. It should be okay to read, right? Nope, I guess not, because I’ve been feeling guilty as all get out.


Does anyone else face this problem? How do you cope with it?


12 thoughts on “You’ve got an Hour of Free Time; do you Read or Write?

  1. Hugs, I remember those days. My kids are 13 and 15 now, but I still have to squeeze time out for them, though they’re more appeased now. My daughter writes too, so she understands and my son is fascinated by video games and make believe worlds he and his sister created.

  2. Sounds like a good problem to have! I have always envisioned a future where I’m a stay at home Writer Dad (notice how both jobs are capitalized?). It would be the perfect gig. Realistically though, I can only imagine the difficulties.

    Writer (typing): It was a dark and stormy…

    Writer (resumes typing): …night. The…

    Writer (thinking): What kind of a night was it? Oy. Is it too early for merlot?

    I admire your tenacity.

  3. Boo. I had brackets in there in between the Writer’s words that showed action from the other room. I guess wordpress recognized as html and deleted? Oh man. Now my comment doesn’t make sense. Sigh. Here was the jist of it. Hopefully this will work…

    Writer (typing): It was a dark and stormy…

    (Tomfoolery from the other room. Writer becomes Dad and settles child. Writer returns to desk.)

    Writer (resumes typing): …night. The…

    (Screaming and ankle pulling from below desk. Writer becomes Dad and plays with child. Child gets bored and goes elsewhere. Writer returns.)

    Writer (thinking): What kind of a night was it? Oy. Is it too early for merlot?

    (Something breaks in another room. Writer quits while he is ahead. Dad wins this round. Again.)

  4. I had a five year old and then twins, was working full-time, and any spare hour was used to read. My mind was just in complete parent survival mode and not at all creative.
    I, sadly, didn’t write for many years. Then I got to be a stay at home mom and I had the desire to write again. I carved out time from 8-midnight for two years. Their nap was just mommy quiet time. 😉
    Now that the twins are in kindergarten I don’t know what to do with all my spare time. Writing schedule is completely messed up.
    I wrote more in those days where I had to fight for my time.

  5. well, now. there is the blog writing, the journal writing, and the writing writing. sadly, my purely creative writing has taken a back seat to the others. I wrote nothing but fiction last weekend and it was like a drug. I (bless and) curse the day job, which eats so much of y creative energy, and mourn the lost of my fiction writing time.

  6. My most productive writing years were those when I was a stay-at-home mom and I wrote while the kids were in school. Since I started back into the work place to help pay the bills, I have been totally distracted away from writing because when I get home from work, I’m too exhausted to think straight. I rarely have time to read any more. I don’t know how some of you writers manage to squeeze in an hour’s writing here and there, when I was used to spending large blocks of time concentrating on my latest WIP.

    I suppose, in answer to your question about what to do with your free hour, I would say go with your gut at the moment. If you need to read to re-charge your batteries today, tomorrow you may feel more like working on your latest piece. Both activities are important for a writer. I find reading often stimulates my creative juices and makes me more interested in writing my own stuff. Good luck with your dilemma. 🙂

  7. You are not alone. I did a similar post just the other day (

    Honestly, I can’t get into a writing groove if I might be interrupted in five minutes. Reading during a short (under 2 hour) break can leave me Grumpy Mommy because I never get to read enough that way, but I’d rather do that than write. However, I usually blog during nap time (and read blogs) because I can tolerate those activities being interrupted more easily. I’ll read before bed (or on the elliptical). I’m writing early in the morning these days… although I somehow reset my alarm clock this morning (oops!).

  8. When my kids were littler, I read — too much distraction to write! Lately, I’m finding I’d rather write.

    You gotta do what suits your mood and energy level. 🙂

  9. I can completely relate! I usually read because I can’t stand being interrupted when I am writing. Although it is somewhat impossible to read deeply with small people hanging around!

  10. If I get an hour to myself, I’ll usually try to eat or maybe catch a nap! Every second is filled with something, so an hour is pretty rare. I’ll usually spoil myself with something I don’t get very often – like a real meal (not from a box) or a little nap with my dog. 🙂

    I can’t imagine trying to read or write with a small child within earshot. I can barely do it with 2 cats and 2 dogs, which is why I leave the house to write. 😉

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