The day my daughter was born, the sweater I had started to knit for her two months prior sat half-finished in a bag by coffee table. For me to knit a sweater — albeit a tiny one — was a big undertaking, but I was determined. I had purposely chosen an easy pattern and and knitted it in the 3-6 months size knowing full well it would take me a long time to actually make it. What I did not expect was just how little time I would have to actually work on it.
In that first month, as I shuffled through my house in what had become my new postpartum uniform — sweatpants, spitup-stained nursing tank, and purple fleece bathrobe — I periodically caught a glimpse of the sweater from the corner of my eye as the sunlight reflected off the metal knitting needle. That first month it took all my energy to take care of Eve and myself, let alone do anything remotely creative.
As Eve started to sleep for longer stretches — and I started to feel like a zombie — I contemplated working on the sweater. As much as my fingers craved to be doing something creative, there was always something else. Laundry; that endless cycle of nursing, burping, and changing diapers; more laundry (hello, cloth diapers!), attempting to cook dinners, and eventually starting my business back up.
I wanted to finish that sweater, but there was always an excuse.
One day I met up with a friend who had also just had a baby. As Eve and her son napped in their respective basinets, we spent the afternoon sitting cross-legged on her oversized couch, balls of yarn by our feet and the sound of knitting needs clinking as we chatted about our respective businesses and life as new moms.
That afternoon was just the push I needed to get me back on track, and I made a point to work on the sweater again, a little bit each day.
There was always something I could have been doing instead, but knitting that sweater was important to me. Not only because I wanted to actually finish it while Eve was still small enough to fit in it, but because it was enjoyable for me.
As moms, we often put our own needs and interests on the back burners.
With mouths to feed, households to run, and never-ending to-do lists, it’s difficult not to. However, making time to do the things that bring us joy, such as knitting, jewelry-making, blogging, or whatever your creative outlets may be, are important to our well-being and being the best moms we can be. In celebration of the launch of The Busy Mom’s Guide to Creativity (affiliate link), I have invited nine moms — real moms just like you and me — to how they make time in their day for their creative interests.
“The most important thing for me is a ‘game plan’. Whether I actually write down what I plan to do or am making a mental note, it’s really imperative for me to be able to attack my creative “to-do’s” when the spare time becomes available. Depending on the day, and the level of craziness, it helps to have an idea of what I want to achieve, otherwise it will not likely happen as I won’t have that direction in place and will be easily distracted… oh, look, something shiny!” –Amanda, Prim & Propah
“Blocking out periods of time in your day simply for your creativity to take place is key. It needs to be apart of your daily tasks, your ‘to-dos’, and your ‘must-dos’. Specifically, I chose to spend every day during my daughter’s naptime just for this. This is my time to focus on my writing, no matter how many dishes are piled up or how much laundry is on the floor. It refuels me to being the best wife, mom, and friend I can be and therefore it holds much importance in my daily life.” –Esther, A Beautiful Alarm
“For me, I make time for creativity everyday by trying to focus on the art of motherhood. It might be as simple as arranging vegetables and fruits on a platter at dinner- I might play with the pattern or texture before I my kids devour it. I also love to look for the art in the mess my kids make. Just this morning, I noticed my six year old son had arranged his Hot Wheel cars in an ombre pattern while he lined them up to race. For myself and my own creativity, I make time daily to write. For me, writing is like breathing and it is so important to me that I can’t go a single day without it. Even if it’s just a few lines in a journal.” –Nj, A Cookie Before Dinner
“Working long hours in a non creative environment I was starting to get a little stir crazy during the day. I needed a little sparkle injected into my dull days. After dropping my son off at pre school one morning I realized that “children get it!” I started looking at things through my son’s eyes and my creativity started flowing. My blog Kid Congeniality was born out of this new perspective. I now look at situations as a child would. The positivity translates into many moments during the day where I take a step back from the doldrums and boom!” –Michele, Kid Congeniality
“Well, if you asked my husband, he would say “how does she make time in her day for NON creativity?” As a writer entrepreneur, I spend my days being creative, at least as much as I can. And it’s often at the sacrifice of housework, meal planning, and folding those never ending piles of laundry! So, the way I slip in the other stuff throughout my day is through time-blocking. I’ll work for 45-60 minutes and then spend 30 minutes doing either fun stuff or chores. When the kids get home at 3, the computer goes off until after they are in bed, and honestly, spending time with them gets my creative juices going in a major way! And we do fun, creative projects together.” –Alexa, Lose the Cape
“I schedule out my week in advance with time allotted in for creative breaks.” –Janine, Confessions of a Mommyaholic
“Like everything else in my life, I schedule it. Once I started including “Me time” activities on my must-do list… I realized I could spend time doing the things I enjoy, while still keeping everything in order.” –Lauren, Working Mom Magic
“We keep an art table out along with colored pencils, crayons and paper so even if it’s just a few minutes randomly during the day, creativity happens. There’s a big box of art supplies on hand for when we want to do more fancy crafts and projects. The easier it is to get to, the easier it is to add it into the day.” –Melissa, The Stay-at-Home Life
“This year I decided to not only buy a planner but use it! I schedule my days and try to stick pretty close to it. One of the things I make time for is writing. I put it on the calendar daily to remind myself to do it. Writing is my outlet and something I’ve always done. I make sure I get some time to be with myself and my words while my daughter is napping. The house is quiet and I’m not exhausted from the day yet. It’s a win-win situation!” –Camesha, Mama Motivator
Want to make time in your day for creativity? Whether you’re a Pinterest Queen or don’t have a clue how to hold a glue gun, The Busy Mom’s Guide to Creativity is your go-to guide for making time in your hectic schedule for the things that make you happy and keep you feeling like a person. In this workbook, featuring more quotes from real moms, you’ll find tips on making time for creativity in your everyday life, including bringing your creative interests into those everyday mundane chores you dread, managing your time, and involving your children in the things that make you happy.
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