This is from my awesome friend Robin Lee Hatcher. Robin’s daughters are around my kids’ ages, so that gives you some perspective. (My additional thoughts below.)
Tricia, I was a single mom of pre-teen daughters and had a full-time 8-5 job when I started writing my first book. By the time I’d sold my first and second novels, I developed a schedule and kept to it most of the time. Monday through Thursday, I came home from work, fixed and ate dinner with my daughters. By 7:00, I was at my computer and I wrote until 9:00. I also wrote on Saturday mornings when the girls slept in. Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons, and all day Sundays were family time. Also, I had an “open door” policy. The girls could interrupt me anytime they needed to. They were my top priority, not the writing. I wrote and had nine books published over a nine year period before I quit my job to write full time. By then, both of my daughters were grown and on their own.