Today, we have another Blog Swap article. Please welcome my fellow Springtime in Surrey author Erika Mathews.
I Have Three Small Children, and I Write Books:
Finding Balance Between Writing and Motherhood
by Erika Mathews
“I write books,” I nearly shout over the normal child-noises from my three littles to the new friend I’m making. “Oh, you do?! When do you have time to write?” the new friend asks, usually with surprise on her face. “Mostly when they’re in bed.” I laugh.
Hello! Many thanks to Andrea for hosting me on her blog today! I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with her on our upcoming collection Springtime in Surrey as well as working with her in a variety of other capacities over the years.
I’m Erika Mathews, wife, mama, author, and editor, and my most frequently asked question by far when someone finds out I’m an author is showcased in the scene above: when do you have time to write?
As a mama of three small children with huge amounts of energy and verbal and conversational skills to rival anyone I’ve ever met, I ask myself that question. How do I do it? When do I have time to write? More importantly, where is the balance between writing and the rest of life, and how am I as a disciple of Jesus Christ to handle it.
First and foremost, I don’t have all the answers. Most of the time, I don’t have any answers, and that in itself is key. When I try to plan my writing schedule with my own wisdom, failure ensues. Life happens. Unpredictable circumstances occur all the time (and with children, it is literally all the time!). The best efforts of my own are in vain if they remain on my own.
But my Elohim, my Strong Leader, is with me and in me, and what that means for my writing and my motherhood is something He’s teaching me more and more.
As humans, it’s easy to place our worth in productivity. In accomplishments. In doing something. For a writer, it could be in how many books I’ve published. As a mother, it could be my children’s behavioral patterns. Achievements mean we have it all together.
Yet such tight control over ourselves and our results leads directly to stress and worry. This is because we can’t control everything. Many times, we can’t control anything, and the more we hold on to our perfect ideal, the more we focus only on how much we aren’t reaching it rather than the good in the situation.
I’m a planner. I love to-do lists and spreadsheets. I can make the most perfect plans for homeschooling my children today, for finishing writing that story today, or serving three homemade healthy meals to my family today—but then the day begins, and the needs of my family prove to not line up with the list I’ve made for myself. I tell myself I’m only serving my family… but the question is this: Am I serving their true needs, or am I serving the needs I think they have?
And answering that question rightly is only found in leaning fully on the arm and wisdom of Elohim my Strong Leader.
Yes, He’s given me responsibilities. He called me to be a mother and an author. I do need to meet the needs of my children and write the books He wants me to.
But He never intended me to take that as a burden. We are called to cast our cares on Him, to roll our burdens on the Lord, to fret not. So instead of frantically trying to fit everything into my day, I’m learning to listen—to include God in every one of my thoughts and moments. Instead of crafting a perfect schedule that will only set me up for disappointment, I turn to Him in prayer. “What do You want me to do right now, God?” “How do You want me to handle this particular problem?” “What’s the next step right this moment?”
That’s what abiding in Christ and walking by the Spirit look like—and suddenly, the stress is gone! That’s because the overwhelming part of life is often the mental load—the multitude of decisions—and by casting that care on Him, He shows how much He cares for us by being our Strong Leader and guiding us in the way we are to walk. Now I don’t have to stress about getting it all done or doing things just right—I just listen and follow His leading, and the results of what happens are in His hands.
And here’s a secret the enemy wants hidden: God is infinitely better at managing things than I am! So often when I leave the results in God’s hands, I’m amazed at how well the day went or how many things got done—or how what I thought was important actually turned out to be unimportant.
In summary, then, how do I balance writing with life? I don’t. God does. He provides time for what He calls us to. Many times for me, that looks like writing stories in the evenings after the children are in bed. Or it means waking up early to sneak in some editing time before they wake up. Occasionally I’ll snatch a few moments while they are playing outside or on an errand with Daddy—or (like right now) while I’m riding in the van and they’re napping behind me.
The key is that I know God has called me to mother and to write—and many times that means saying no to other things. For instance, I could be reading a book right now, scrolling on my phone, or doing many other things. But because I know that writing is part of God’s will for my life, I choose to spend my time on that instead of on other things.
Work-life balance is a real dilemma in our culture, and without the presence of God, it’s tough to find any workable and sustainable solution. Sheer determination can only take you so far before burnout and worse can occur.
These are lessons that my character, Margaret, discovers in my Springtime in Surrey novella Fear Not Tomorrows. Overwork, stress, and overwhelm threaten her at every turn, and the story of how she learns God’s purpose for her in these areas of her life contain many real-life elements that I have encountered in my own journey. My prayer is that this story is a blessing and encouragement to all who read it, inspiring readers to trust every tomorrow to the hand of Jesus.
And may Elohim, our Strong Leader, guide you in your daily life even now as you listen to His voice and receive His Word as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
About the Author
Erika Mathews writes Christian living books, both fiction and non-fiction, that demonstrate the power of God in the life of a believer, transforming daily life into His resting life. Her kingdom adventure novel series Truth from Taerna features spiritually challenging, refreshing adventure and unique Christian twists on cliched plots. Outside of writing, she spends time with her husband, mothers her little ones, reads, edits, enjoys the Minnesota outdoors, plays piano and violin, makes heroic ventures into minimalism, clean eating, and gardening, and uses the Oxford comma. You can find Erika’s books on Amazon or connect with her at restinglife.com.
Springtime in Surrey and Charm Bracelet Giveaway
There’s a huge giveaway going on here on Writing to Inspire this month. Be sure you enter to win the grand prize that includes a paperback copy of Springtime in Surrey and a handcrafted charm bracelet inspired by the book.
Springtime in Surrey BINGO
During the full month of August, I’m hosting a Springtime in Surrey BINGO Reading Challenge Game. There are prizes! Come join the fun on this article.
Blog Swap Schedule
Please visit any or all of the following articles on the dates given or after. Feel free to share them with your friends, too.
Note: There was an issue with some of the links being broken recently. I have corrected those now, so all the links should take you to the appropriate articles. Please let me know if you come upon an issue. I am still waiting on some of the links, so please hang in there. They are coming.
Kellyn Roth on Resting Life
Erika Mathews on Prose Worthy
Andrea Renee Cox on Resting Life
Erika Mathews on Writing to Inspire
About Springtime in Surrey
This collection of novellas, set in County Surrey, England, features both historical and contemporary stories by new and old authors!
Springtime in Surrey contains the follow eight novellas:
Jesus, I Am Resting by Faith Blum
An orphaned young woman must fight to survive after WWI breaks out, praying her beau doesn’t die on a foreign battlefield like her father did years ago.
The Cottage on the Hill by Andrea Renee Cox
A former ballerina seeks hope amongst her lost dreams, as a sheep farmer tries to bring her joy.
If I Knew You Were Coming by Bailey Gaines
An exhausted mother balances her duties to both her biological and evacuee children with preparation for an unexpected visit from her soldier husband.
Her Heart’s Home by Grace A. Johnson
A destitute woman is pursued by an unexpected suitor and finds blessings from God in the way she least expected.
The Tussie-Mussie by Katja H. Labonté
A disgraced debutante flees to the country, only to meet a reclusive writer who may change her life forever.
The Odd Duck Society by Rachel Leitch
An insecure university student returns to a tea shop after a mysterious letter summons her there.
Fear Not Tomorrows by Erika Mathews
A hard-working sister-of-seven struggles with contentment as her marriage is postponed by her fiancé’s absence.
Courage to Stay by Kellyn Roth
A young bride chases her husband into the forest to rescue him from himself, which goes about as well as one would expect.
Springtime in Surrey may be found at the following links:
Springtime in Surrey is also currently available in Kindle Unlimited.
About the Authors
Faith Blum is a wife, mom, author, and entrepreneur. She’s published over 30 books, most of them in the Christian Historical Fiction genre. She loves stories because they can teach history, but in a fun way. It is also her way to have a creative outlet while taking care of a household and toddler.
She’s been a proud small town resident her whole life and wouldn’t have it any other way. She lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband, son, and cat, Smokey. She’s blessed to write as a part time career. You can find her books on books on most eBook retailers.
When not writing, you can find her cooking from scratch, reading, figuring out social media content, or spending time with her family. She also loves playing piano for church and being part of the Author Conservatory.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Faith-Blum/e/B00GSPBHW6
Born and raised in north Texas, Andrea Renee Cox is a born-again child of God who enjoys writing stories that inspire, copyediting fiction manuscripts, tutoring middle school students, and going on road trips with her family. Whether she’s working on historical or contemporary, women’s fiction or romance, she uses her skills in research and writing techniques—as well as a large dose of prayer and guidance from God—at every turn in the journey to produce the best story of her ability every single time. Her books may be found on her website, and readers are welcome to follow her blog for the latest updates in her journey.
Bailey Gaines is a Georgia girl who loves history. Through her writing, she hopes to show how God works in all periods of history, bringing healing and helping people know they have value because of their identity as a human created in God’s image. Her stories range from King Richard the Lionheart’s England to 1930s Appalachia to 18th century England to 19th century America.
Bailey is a student of the Author Conservatory, and has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When she’s not writing, she’s helping homeschoolers with their writing or working at an escape room. Her hobbies include playing the piano, sewing, and exploring the world of vintage fashion.
Grace A. Johnson is a Christian fiction authoress, book reviewer, and avid reader. She lives in beautiful (but humid) South Georgia, surrounded by farmland and forestry, with her parents and six younger siblings. She has indie-published the first three novels in a Christian historical romance series, the Daughters of the Seven Seas, and a smattering of short stories and novellas, as well as a devotional. She’s also a marketer and editor who loves helping young authors through her editing business S&J Editors and her small publishing company Sky’s the Limit Press. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook @graceajohnsonauthor or blogging on her website at www.graceajohnson.com. Join her for a virtual cup of tea and a free preview of her debut novel when you sign up for her e-newsletter!
Katja H. Labonté is a Christian, an extreme bibliophile who devours over 365 books in a year, and an exuberant writer with a talent for starting short stories that explode into book series. She is a bilingual French-Canadian and has about a dozen topics she’s excessively passionate about (hint: that’s why she writes). Katja writes both contemporary and historical fiction, as well as non-magical historical and contemporary kingdom fiction, and covers themes of worth, love, peace, and Christian growth. She spends her days enjoying little things, growing in faith, learning life, and loving people. You can follow her life journey, find free books, browse her services, and more on her website and blog.
Rachel Leitch discovered the book of writing when she was seven. She’s been turning pages ever since! She lives her own adventure in northern Indiana, with her parents, three sisters, two brothers, and a dog who thinks he’s the hero of her story. She writes young adult historical fiction with a dash of adventure or a spark of magic. When she’s not hidden away writing, she’s trying to fit all her reads on her shelf in a somewhat organized manner, obsessing over character arcs, drinking chai, daydreaming at the piano, or teaching students to be just as bookish as she is. In all her adventures, she learns how to shine brighter for the Father of Lights. For more bookish ramblings (and a free digital short story involving a magical violin) follow her adventure journal at https://racheljleitch.com/!
Erika Mathews is an author and editor who writes family-friendly Christian living books, both fiction and non-fiction, that demonstrate the power of God through ordinary people, transforming daily life into His resting life. Her works include Truth from Taerna, a kingdom adventure fiction series with deep spiritual themes, Resting Life, a Christian living nonfiction book about finding rest in Jesus in modern life, and a variety of historical fiction and poetry.
Erika lives in the farm country of Minnesota with her husband and children. She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma.
Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century.
Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory and a writing coach. When not building her author career or her indie-author-helping business, Wild Blue Wonder Press, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.
Books to Read
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Want to read free short stories? Explore my short stories page.