Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Do You Find Time to "Do it"?

Getting crafty, that is.

Vivianne asked me a question that I frequently ask myself, and other mothers/bloggers/crafters/DIYers/decorators/superwomen.

"As with all your beautiful projects, I have to ask - how do you make time? Do you let the boys entertain themselves while you work, or do you squeeze it into nap times? My two and a half year old demands attention whenever I try to get crafty..."

Me too, Vivianne. And honestly, I don't really have a great answer. I make time, whenever I can. And sometimes it goes pretty well, and other times, I walk into my bathroom and find this...

The cost of a blog post...

Dmitri and Damon clandestinely wreaked havoc in the bathroom while I was happily typing away on a blog post, thinking that they were playing equally merrily in the playroom. Until Damon started crying, and I was alerted to their bathroom adventures.

(Just in case you are curious as to what events occurred after I found the bathroom in this state: I used great restraint and calmly explained to Dmitri that when we make messes, then we must clean them up. He then proceeded to clean up the bathroom while singing the "clean up song". By the time we were done, it probably looked better than it did before.)

Today, as I type this post, the littles are playing together beside me. I've been interrupted too many times to count, and have read "Oh The Places You'll Go" out loud, twice, in between typing. But, I am still getting in done, slowly but surely. This isn't how I prefer to blog, but sometimes it's the only way.

However, every day is different, and requires a different approach, and sometimes I get something done, and most times I do not. But here are a few of the tactics that I use to work on projects...

1. Outside crafty time: If the weather is nice, I can take small projects outside on my porch. The littles are much more entertained by being in fresh air, and dirt, of course.

2. Including the littles: Depending on the project, sometimes I try to let Dmitri help. Even if I just ask him to "keep this safe for me," "put your finger here," etc., he is usually very excited about being involved. This is how I get all of my cleaning done...he helps me mop, sweep, dust, clean up, wash dishes, vacuum, etc. Sometimes, I will give him his own "project". If I am cutting fabric with scissors, I may give him his own pair of scissors and a piece of paper, or his own hammer and nail and piece of wood.

3. Diversion - Sometimes, including Dmitri and Damon really isn't ideal. In this case, I try to find a diversion: usually a specific task that will hold their interest. Frequently, when I need to make dinner, I will give Dmitri two or three mixing bowls, measuring cups, and a handful of beans or some other dried good. He will play with scooping/sorting/mixing for usually long enough for me to make dinner. At the very worst, I just have to sweep up where he has been playing.

4. SLEEP! - I cannot imagine what it must be like to have children that take naps. I am pretty sure that must be what heaven is like. If your child does take a nap, take advantage of it! But, if you are like me and your children hate sleeping, wait until after bedtime. This is my primary opportunity to actually crank out some projects. Granted, I am usually too tired and feeling somewhat zombie-ish to really do all that much. But the bird and branch project? I worked on it over the course of three evenings, sewing the birds while David and I watched a TV show together.

5. A Knitting/Crafting Group - I think this is one of the best ways to stay motivated about your projects! Join or start a group that gets together once a week or so, go grab some coffee, and bring your projects with you!

6. Let Dad/Grandma/Babysitter Watch the Littles: For big projects, and especially those that involve paint, sewing machines, saws, hot glue guns, etc., having someone watch your little ones is a necessity. And sometimes you just have to make it happen. Set up a designated time as your project time, and enlist help. For me, these moments are rare. We don't have family that lives near, David keeps pretty busy, and hiring a babysitter is pretty expensive. But occasionally, especially on holidays, and sometimes in the evening/on Sunday, I set aside a time to work on a DIY while David watches Dmitri & Damon. It's fun for all of us. On big projects that really need to be accomplished, you might consider hiring a sitter. Weigh the cost of doing it yourself vs. having a professional. If it's significantly cheaper to DIY, then I figure it's more cost efficient to hire a babysitter and get it done!

Priorities - The reality is: you cannot do it all. It's just impossible. Sure, I get to do some really fun projects, and I love blogging about them. But, it means that something else is sacrificed. Whether it means that the laundry piles up, we eat out for dinner, or the kitchen is a mess, you have to CHOOSE what is the highest priority. For me, spending time with my kids comes first. Delicious food comes second. Projects is in a close third. And cleaning lags behind. If there a project that I really want done, I put most other things on the bottom of my daily to-do list, and I work on the project. That's just how it goes. Accepting this has really helped my outlook on accomplishing things as a stay-at-home mom to two very active boys 2 and under. So just remember, if I post a photo of a project, just imagine what my kitchen/bathroom/laundry looks like! ; )

What about you, crafty ladies/gents? How and when do you get things done with little ones underfoot?

11 comments:

Bromeliad said...

The photo made me laugh out loud.

Jackie said...

You say the boys don't nap well. If they drink apple juice, try cutting it out. My son had a big imbalance with it and after it worked for me a lot of others tried it and it worked wonders not having it in their system. My cousins son went from a few hours at time to all night (he was 2 or older if I remember right). They're both adults now :-))

Mama Gone Green said...

Love that photo!! And yes, I agree with you. Craftiness just has to be squeezed into whatever time becomes available. If you set a time frame for finishing a project, it will likely never get done on time, but I always have some sort of project I want to work on, in case both children happen to be occupied at the same moment!!

Vivianne said...

Thank you so much for answering my question! It's nice to know that other moms/bloggers don't get everything done. I think blogs sometimes 'hide' our messy bathrooms and dirty kitchens, just because we don't post about them. I generally craft in the evenings, or naptimes (I'm lucky enough to have a great sleeper), but sometimes that means I forget the wake my daughter up on time...and that cuts into dinner and bedtime. But I love being home and having that flexibility, and I hope I keep getting better at dividing my time. Like when she learns to make puzzles on her own...

Mrs.Sanders said...

your picture says it all!!! this is what my house looks like daily ;) Thanks for being honest and making me laugh too!

Mandi said...

That photo cracked me up!! Haha! Mostly because I can SO relate!

Jessica said...

haha thank you so much for sharing that photo and making me laugh. My boys are about the same age and I have scenes just like that one all the time.

Christy said...

You are so right Caroline. I have asked many friends how they accomplish XYZ and they simply say the same thing. Priorities, priorities.

Hope you are enjoying a nice time away from the daily grind of school ho-hum.

mary said...

yep. i had sat down to write a post about not enough hours in the day and saw your post in my reader first. so true-i linked to your post in mine.

Cubarado said...

Great Photo! So real! I get things done about the same speed and style as you, we just make do! Great post, thanks!

Peaslepuff said...

I'm going to be honest, Caroline: that photo made me feel a lot better about my life. Sometimes I forget you're a "regular person" and not a superhero.