Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

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Posts Tagged: kids

Happy Friday!!!! Today I have a real treat for you. My pal and fellow Who Dares Wins Author, Natalie Markey is here to talk to us about a critical subject for many of us. How can we better balance being a great parent AND a great writer? Writer Moms (and even Writer Dads) face a unique set of challenges; like how to get Goldfish out of the CD drive in our computer or ways to endure the psychological torture of Barney without curling into the fetal position.

I love you. You love me. That’t why we’re in ther-a-py.

It is a tough road, being a writer parent. Balancing protags and potty training, narrative structure and Leggo landmines. Yet, in the WANA spirit…WE ARE NOT ALONE. Better still, we are in this together! I am not only your teacher, but your teammate and I am here to equip you for success…even if that means shutting up and bringing in experts who are smarter than me.

Natalie is going to offer some tips on how to remain sane and productive and keep your child alive. She also will be teaching a Write It Forward on-line course for more tips and tools to balance this wild and crazy writer parent life (feel free to sign up if you are the parent of small pets or houseplants. Have to start somewhere). Make sure you sign up for her class (link is below). I will be there with fresh notebook and Crayons (my Spawn has hidden all my pens), and I hope to see you in class!

Take it away Natalie!

One night, about a year ago I had an “ah ha” moment (and no I wasn’t watching Oprah.) It was about 3 a.m. and I was writing on my laptop, when I scratched my back and found a dried, dirty burp rag on my shoulder. I was exhausted, thankful that my baby was asleep and happy for sometime to write but I thought, “there must be an easier way to do this?” I mean really? I was so out of it that I didn’t realize I had a dirty burp rag on me. Well, I’m not sure if there is an easier way to be a writing mom, but there is a smarter way.

My daughter is now 14-months-old. I am blessed to be able to work from home, where I can be with her. This does, however present a need for some creative balancing. It does mean that sometimes I may work late into the night after she is in bed. It does mean that I get up at the insane hour of 5 a.m. so that I can get some work in before she wakes up. But I’ve learned how to balance the two extremes to avoid those 3 a.m. writing sessions.

Being a writing mom takes will power but I’m a firm believer in that if you want something, really want something, then you’ll find a way. I’ve been a freelance journalist for ten years now. I’m a published author of a non-fiction book, ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog’ and working on a second while writing fiction as well. I’m always on deadlines both real ones and self assigned. Some days, that idea of a nap is really appealing but I keep working, writing and striving forward through my goals and toy filled office/baby playroom.

Next month I’m teaching a Write It Forward Workshop through Who Dares Wins Publishing, Writing Moms: How to do it all without losing your mind. If you’re a writing mom seeking help through the burp rag- filled chaos, I’m not going to tell you what to do. Everyone is unique. When I had my daughter, I thought I understood time management. After working in a New York City public relations firm juggling multiple clients, I thought I had this mastered. The truth is that we cannot manage something we cannot control and babies are very uncontrollable!

So, I did a self-study. I literally studied me. By knowing myself, I knew what schedule worked best for me. During the month long workshop I will discuss the study and how moms (and even dads) can learn from it. Through simple trial and error, hopefully you’ll find your rhythm to having it all. But even then there are great days, good days and bad days. And you can have fun including your baby in your work. I always read my work to my daughter and she has been known to go through page proofs.

A major turning point for me was when I learned to let go of some control. This was hard for me because, well I’m a control freak. I LOVE to plan everything. Seriously, when my family goes to Walt Disney World I’m called the Itinerary Queen. After I had my daughter I worked off of to-do lists. This only depressed me because I was only seeing what I wasn’t getting done. Now, I trim everything down to goal lists. This makes things more manageable and not as depressing. The best thing to keep in mind when you’re working with little time is to JUST DO IT!! Yes, think about those Nike shoes in your closet. Just do it! I made the mistake for months after my daughter was born of spending too much time planning.

And now to the really fun part—Sesame Street. My daughter recently started watching this and it’s actually entertaining. I’m a fan and it makes for fantastic lunchtime entertainment. Anyway, I leave you with my teaching assistant, Ernie. Ernie will demonstrate the importance of doing rather than planning when writing a story. Take it away Ernie!

Learn more/sign-up for Writing Moms: How to do it all without losing your mind

Natalie C. Markey is a freelance journalist of ten years. She is the author of ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog.’  In addition to multiple freelance contracts, she continues to write non-fiction as well as fiction. Markey speaks professionally about dogs from an owner’s perspective as well as tackling the major writing issue, how to have it all as a writer and a mother.

Markey is a graduate from Baylor University with a double BA in Journalism/Public Relations and Communication Specialist. She has worked for a NYC PR firm, been the youngest Business Development Director for a National advertising firm, served as the Creative Services Director for the fastest growing CBS affiliate in Texas and served as the Texas Spokesperson for the D.A.R.E. program.  A native Texan, Markey currently lives in an Arkansas forest with her supportive husband, daughter and dog, Oscar. Learn more at

Ah, summer vacation. I miss it. I remember how the last three weeks leading up to school getting out were sheer torture. The poor teachers probably felt like prison guards trying to keep the inmates calm…only they didn’t have stun guns and a high-pressure hose (those were for the inner city elementary schools :D). Though, now that I think about it, slap a sprinkler on the end of that high-pressure hose and we would have likely loved that.

Did you guys end your year with Field Day? Sorry. I hated Field Day. I think Field Day was invented by the same sadists who thought up Dodge Ball. Every year I spent my last two days of school getting my butt kicked in every sport imaginable. Good thing I was too focused on summer vacation to care. All I had left to do is clean out the 900 pounds of crap I had somehow fit into my desk and locker.

Oh, there’s that protractor thingie that was on the school supply list. What DOES that thing do, anyway?

That final bell would ring and it was over. I would spend the next two and a half months loaded with sugar and wrinkled from water. My grandparents had a swimming pool and when we weren’t there, we were wearing a hole in my parent’s lawn with a Slip and Slide. Remember those things? Good thing I grew up in the days before everyone went lawsuit happy.

Really? You dove head-first off the station wagon onto a piece of plastic and sprained both your wrists??? Well, you won’t do that again, will ya? Stop crying before I give you something to cry about.

Yeah, NOTHING was childproof. All the playground equipment was heavy-duty industrial steel. And back then little girls actually wore dresses, so the first sucker kid down the slide usually suffered second degree burns down the backs of her thighs. So we would put the water hose on the slide and make our own water park. Between that, the dancing in the sprinkler and the Slip and Slide, I have no idea how my parents didn’t have a $600 water bill. Maybe they did, but it was well worth the money to keep the screaming hoard of wild Indians locked beyond the sliding glass door….which, by the way, was actually LOCKED. When cartoons were over at 8:30? Out the door we went.

Need water? Go lap some off the Slip and Slide. See, like the dog. Just drink upstream from him. Go! Before I put you to work cleaning bathrooms.

Gotta pee? Man used bushes for thousands of years. Just don’t let the Robinsons see you.

The neighbors want to take you to Jewish Camp? Okay, but this time, don’t convert. You cannot have a Bat-mitsvah, and you’re going to Baptist Camp next week. The Lutherans have dibs on you after that.

My brother and I had the COOLEST gym set out back. Nowadays it would be considered an Al Qaeda training facility. It was 20 feet tall, had uneven bars, parallel bars, climbing bars, a rope to climb, and iron rings. It was the glorious centerpiece of the neighborhood. ALL the kids wanted to be at my house playing Red Dawn, also known as Kill the Russians.

Oh, we were politically incorrect back then, too.

Those Russians were always taking Cabbage Patch Kids hostage. We knew they had a plan to brainwash them then reinsert them as Cabbage Patch Sleeper Cells that would kill us in our sleep…

…IF we ever slept. No we stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG. It was SUMMER!

Last night I stayed up until TWO THIRTY! Tonight I’m gonna stay up until FOUR. One day, when I’m bigger, I’m gonna stay up TWENTY ELEVEN HOURS! And when I grow up, I’m gonna have a Trans-Am and NEVER SLEEP EVER!!!!

Okay, yeah. We only stayed up that late when we went to my cousin’s house. They were…teenagers. We did all kinds of things we weren’t supposed to. We put on makeup, watched MTV (back when it actually had music) and watched scary movies and played Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…

Eh, she never did show, but that didn’t stop us from nagging her every Friday night.

My cousins are responsible for my current aquaphobia. If it ain’t chlorinated, I ain’t swimming in it. Jaws ruined me for salt water and Friday the 13th pretty much ruined fresh water. But it was okay, they had a pool too….and a DIVING BOARD.

Are those things even still legal to have now? We would spend all day long inventing new dives.

Oh, yeah, well I will raise your Cannon Ball a Bazooka Loaded with Banned Nuclear Warheads. TOP THAT, SUCKAH!

The first six weeks of summer were magic. We’d swim and play and go to Six Flags and stay up late so we could walk to that small wooden health hazard shack that served as a snow cone stand for five months out of the year. We’d play in the streets until the street lamps flickered on and beckoned us home. Then we’d beg our parents to let us at least play in the front yard so we could catch frogs and fireflies.

Ah, but then that six weeks would be over, and we’d have the Seventh Week Itch. In Texas it is so hot by July that everything, including the kids, start to wilt. We were rested and ready for a new school year. Our parents started having to play warden and make us go to bed by nine so we could get our body clocks reset for school.

BED????? But it’s still LIGHT outside!!!!

As adults, what would we give to have three months to just play? Maybe that’s the secret to world peace. Maybe all of us are just stressed out and we need to have time to scream and yell and ride bikes up a ramp made out of a door someone threw away.

Maybe if the U.N. would just get all the world leaders together for the LONGEST SLIP AND SLIDE EVER!!!!! (Just tape all of Dad’s lawn bags to the end until you run out of space on the White House lawn). Maybe if everyone got a chance to play together and run off all the excess energy, maybe then we’d be too tired and happy to be stressed.

I miss summer vacation. How about you? What do you remember? What summer rituals did you have?

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of June I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

In the meantime, I hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.