Friday, February 4, 2011

"How Do You Do It?!"

I get asked this question a lot. I often don't know how to answer it. I just do what I do. I know there are other moms or busy women who would like to make more time to create beautiful things. Maybe I could share a few tips that work for me, and maybe one of them could work for you!

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I had Emma was to put her on a schedule. For nearly a year now Emma's naptime has been around 1 PM. She got more tired after lunchtime, so I've always put her down for a nap after lunch. I know that doesn't work for everybody, but having a consistent naptime has been a necessity for my business. She naps for a couple of hours, it's her only nap, so I try to make every minute count. Sometimes I don't eat lunch. I don't answer the phone. I rarely even turn the TV on because I know if I do I'll sit there and waste my time watching it. It's straight to work for me! Sometimes I'll carry a small bucket with my project down and sit on the sofa and work on it, but most of the time I'll spend working in my studio. When I work in a room other than my studio, I make sure I have a container that it will all fit in, project & supplies & all, incase she wakes up before I'm finished.

Emma's bedtime is no later than 9 PM, and I usually go to bed around midnight or 1 AM, so I spend probably half of that time working as well. Some of this time is also spent on washing dishes, washing & folding clothes, sweeping, cleaning, etc... we're not filthy here at my house, but it's not spotless. Sometimes the laundry sits in the basket for a week. I don't put extreme pressure on myself to be a superwoman with domestic chores that aren't important to me. We always have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of, so if it can wait a day, it does. It gives me more time to sew, it makes me a happier mommy, that makes my husband happy, both of us happy makes my daughter even happier, and you know... it doesn't get much better than that! :)

My husband knows how important it is to me to create. He is totally supportive. I couldn't do it without him. We share the household responsibilities. Communication is key here!

Emma's play space is downstairs and my studio is upstairs. While I can work in the studio when she's sleeping, when she's awake and playing that's not really an option. This is my greatest secret. I create makeshift studios all throughout my house. You should see this place during craft show season. I take over just about every room in the house except for the bathrooms. The hallways are full of display pieces and packed up merchandise ready to go, the laundry room is full of fabric, my mock display is set up in the sunroom, the sewing machine is on the dining room table and about half of the chairs have most of my fabrics stacked up on them just waiting for their purpose... it's crazy! When Emma got to be completely mobile I lost the ability to sew and work in the same room as her, until I decided to put myself in a playpen.

Yeah, you read it right.

Brilliant idea! That baby fence became way too small for Emma months ago, but it's just the perfect size for me to sew and be in the same room as my chicky. She doesn't get bored while I work because I involve her in it. I throw all of the scraps her way and she LOVES it. This isn't the prettiest design for a living room, but people aren't knocking on my door asking to photograph my house for a magazine, so it works out :)

Of course I wish I had more time to devote to work, but this is a happy balance right now. I learned a long time ago that if I'm not satisfied with the time I have to create, it throws my whole family off. Do you ever feel that way? It takes so much out of me to be a good wife and a good mommy. Cutting fabric and pressing the pedal of my machine is so therapeutic. I don't think about what I have to make for dinner or deal with cleaning up spilled fruit loops all over the floor (or battle the dog so he doesn't eat his weight in snack scraps she leaves around!)

How do YOU do it? How do you make it work for you? What sacrifices have you & your family made? How do you involve your children in your creative endeavors? I'd love to hear!

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