Thanks to everyone who has joined/donated/shared yesterday’s While You Were At Preschool post! We love you!
As I mentioned yesterday, I wrote down everything I did for over a week to help get myself on a good work-from-home schedule. Besides the fact that I get almost no sleep, I also saw that I have zero time to myself. I know that’s par for the course for parents no matter the work situation. We only get so many hours of the day, and when we have leisure time we usually choose to spend it with our children. This is partly because we want to (because they’re rad), partly because we know these moments are fleeting, and partly because (if we’re being honest) we feel like we’re selfish if we choose to spend time by ourselves instead of with our kids.
In the thirty seconds between when my head hits the pillow and I pass out, I think about what I would do if I had more time. What do I truly enjoy doing with myself right now? If I had the time, how would I fill it (besides napping)? I’ve read many books on careers and finding your passion, and I know that identifying what makes you happy can help you find satisfaction at work. As you know, I am feeling a lot of frustration there lately.
Recently, I’ve really enjoyed creating things and using my sewing machine. I have always been a “take it apart and put it back together” kind of person, but I’d never found a way to use that part of my brain other than to assemble furniture (I seriously adore putting together furniture). When I’m figuring out how to make something, the hours fly by. I love the trial and error involved with making something new, and I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants instead of follow a pattern (although, I bought a pattern this week that I’m going to force myself to follow because I know it’s important that I learn).
This is why I’ve been posting so many DIYs here lately. The only way I don’t feel guilty about spending time in my office/sewing/craft room is if I make the time I spend in there “work” by turning it into a tutorial. It also has the added bonus of giving me the work satisfaction that keeps me motivated.When I see a tutorial I created on Pinterest, I get excited. Even though I’ll likely never see that pinner’s finished product, I can point to that pin and get the, “hey, I did that” feeling that I often lack with many of my freelance writing projects. I’ve noticed lately that when I’m feeling stressed, sitting in my office/sewing/craft room makes that fall away. But since there are about 1,187 different ways Annie and James can get into trouble in that room, I don’t spend much time in there.
It’s funny how the things that make you happy evolve. I’ve always been fairly creative but I never in a million years would have predicted a sewing machine and a bunch of craft supplies would make me happy. I don’t know what this will lead to down the road, if anything, but I know I have to let go of the guilt. When I have the time, I have to grab some for just me.
Of course, if I had the time I would also clean my house, organize my closets, and cook delicious meals from scratch, but this is supposed to be about the funnnnnnnn stuff.
Would you be able to make enough product to open an Etsy shop? Maybe if you could earn enough money selling fun things (like superhero bibs!), then maybe you could let some freelance writing stuff go? IDK, just a thought! Your projects are super cute, and I shop at Etsy all the time, so I thought I’d throw it out there
I second Casey’s idea! I think you’d do well there with all your creative, awesome creations.
Craft/sewing supplies and a sewing machine bring all sorts of happiness. It’s the best relaxation as far as I can see. May you continue to enjoy it
This is one of the things I’m prepping for when I become a parent in 2.5 short months. I have heard about the guilt from friends and I really hope that isn’t too much of a problem for me. But I feel guilty when I leave my dogs for too long or don’t take them for a walk for 48 hours SO… it might be a problem.
I plan to sew to make money so I can quit my job, so I have some internal dialogue I’m prepping to help myself… “this is for our livelihood” and “I’m making so many things for the baby to enjoy too” and “a happy, well-balanced me makes for an all-around better mommy” and “I married a sweet, smart, non-douchey guy for a reason… he will help.” I’m hoping keeping this stuff in mind and (eventually) creating a schedule will help me. If I have to paste a life-size message on my wall to remind me, I’ll do that. I think what you’re doing will help you too, as well as your writing, putting it out there into the universe. Good stuff!
Also, about patterns, use them! If only to build up your ideas/techniques. Before long you’ll have some tricks from the patterns, plus stuff online, plus ideas of your own to work from. It’ll only help you get better and faster! Wanna learn to quilt? I’m trying to plan a quilting party… inviting some gals over while I work on my baby quilt, if they want to watch/learn/help or bring their own stuff they never make time to work on in their busy lives.
My most complicated quilt attempt yet (I don’t do it often): http://www.michaelmillerfabrics.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/500x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/n/u/nuts_for_dinner.png
Amy C. says:
Be easy on yourself first. The first few months your main goal should just be getting enough sleep. Everything else will start to fit into place as they get older and you can start getting a good night’s sleep again :). If I could give any advice to a new mom it is this: Relax, rest, enjoy it, and don’t worry about all the guilt stuff. Don’t worry about breast/bottle, sleeping through the night, cry it out vs. answer every cry, sippies vs. cups, co-sleeping vs. sleeping by themselves. People will have 10 million opinions and it only adds stress. Do what you feel comfortable with. The important thing is simply to love your kiddos, accept that you are a good mom (even when you are tired and angry), and take lots of pictures if you can.
You’re so sweet. Thank you! I will heed that advice!
Another Amy says:
Soooo well said Amy C. My kids are now 16 (x2, twins) and 21 and it really does go by in a blur. If I could do anything over I would have spent less time worrying about what the house looked like, what my mom friends/strangers thought about all the hot topic ‘issues’ and more time having confidence in myself loving up my babies
All the best to you!
Amy C. says:
So glad to see these replies! You will do great Christina! Thanks, “Another Amy”!
Love all of your ideas and tutorials. Keep doing what makes you happy! You definitely need YOU time. Happy Mommy = Happy kiddos
I saw reversible bibs the other day at the baby store and thought of you
I totally understand what you are saying about the therapeutic value of crafting. It’s hard to find the time now, but as the little ones get bigger, it will be easier. (That’s why old ladies knit.)
Be sure to take time for yourself if you possibly can – even if it’s just time to dream and plan. I adore your blog and read it every day. Thank you for sharing your ups and downs. They are inspiring.
Most of my days revolve around others. I have 5 kids, a husband with an uncontrolled seizure disorder (that came out of nowhere 4 years ago), and a full time job. I LOVE to craft but every day is a blur between working and taking care of my family. My only “me” time is when everyone is finally in bed and by then I’m too tired to do anything except read (and sometimes I don’t even make it past 1 or 2 pages!). Usually my day ends with my Kindle or Ipad smacking me in the face when I fall asleep. I spend so much time making sure everyone else is covered that I don’t leave enough time for things I enjoy. I KNOW this, but it’s hard to find that elusive “ME” time. Your post made me realize this is something I really need to do. I need to let go of the guilt and remember that I have great kids and a great marriage and crocheting a few squares is not going to cause the world to crumble around me. My kids won’t look back and say their life would have been better if I hadn’t been absorbed in my crafty world for a couple of hours a week. I know I should be able to spend time with them AND make time for me without anyone being neglected. The funny thing is that I encourage my husband and the kids to pursue their passions and do things they enjoy, but I don’t practice what I preach. It’s all much easier said than done, but typing this out really does help me put it in perspective. Thank you.
I thought I was the only weirdo who liked to put furniture together! My husband thinks I’m nuts, but he gladly gives me the furniture to assemble!!
Another Amy says:
All the best Heather finding time to do what you love. Important! When my 3 got the hang of going to bed at a decent hour I used that time not to clean house/laundry or whatever. It was MY time. Period. I generally crafted in front of the tv with hubby (at that time I was really into making old fashioned crazy quilt pillows). So important to have YOU time You so deserve it.
once again it’s like you’re in my head! I also struggle with finding a functional work from home schedule. I have a college student who helps me three afternoons a week with my 3 yr old but during that time I shuttle my older one to his appts/after school activities and give him some 1-on-1 time. My alone time is the hour I carve out at the gym after dropping both kids off at work. Often, this leaves me working late a night when I should be sleeping, cleaning the house, crafting or doing something I enjoy. I love your idea of writing down what you do and am going to try that. maybe I can find a pattern to the madness.
I hope you succeed in letting go of the guilt. All parents deserve time to themselves, you need happiness in all forms in your life and most of the things you make are for your kids anyway! You’re a fantastic mother.