A sweet reader wrote me an email the other day asking how I get things done while also finding time to craft. I’ve seen many other bloggers answer this questions, and to be honest, I often times feel guilty after reading what they write. After all—they talk about putting their families first, cleaning their houses, etc. I feel selfish because of the fact that I do craft with a disaster of a house around me. I surf the blogs while my son plays happily with his toys (and sometimes fusses at me too). And my husband does [almost] all of the dishes (I do a dish here or there when company is coming over and he’s at work!). And I’m guessing there just might be someone else out there like me who just needs to know that while yes, your family does need to come first, sometimes it’s ok to use your glue gun while plugging your nose because the kitchen sink has an odd odor wafting from it and you’re just too grossed out to want to look into the cause of it.
So here’s my answer to, “What are your tips on getting the things you need to done and still having time for crafting?”
Being a mom really turns your life upside down while also making it right side up, doesn't it? I feel like the wrong person to be giving advice on how to get things done. To be honest—there are way more things that I don't get done than I do accomplish. So much of the time I feel like my house is a crazy mess around me—dishes are dirty, laundry is on the floor, papers are in piles all over the place and pet hair is my dominant element of decor. I'll have friends ask me how I find the time to craft, and I half jokingly tell them I don't clean my house.
While things are pretty crazy in my house, there is some order behind it all. My husband and I like to say that our house is always a half hour from being company ready. These days, an hour would probably be a little more accurate (that is if we both pitch in and get the cleaning done).
I'm finding that I really need an organized house. That way, when it does get messy (which is guaranteed), I have places to put everything away. If everything has a home, I don't have to waste my time figuring out where to put the mess. After Christmas we found ourselves with a house FULL of toys and no place to put them all. So we traded in our cute console table for an antique buffet with lots of storage space (seen here). I bought a bunch of storage containers at the Dollar Tree, and sorted and then labeled everything. We have tubs for: blocks, cars and people, noisy toys, misc. plastic toys, etc. I also have a basket for stuffed toys and a basket for books. Our coffee table has two large drawers in it and they also hold specific types of toys. This makes cleaning up pretty quick (as long as my son isn't following behind me and pulling everything back out). It also allows my husband to be able to put things away in their correct places—which means he's more likely to help. If he doesn't know where something goes, he probably won't pick it up.
My husband makes a big difference in our home—he does 98% of the dishes (I'm a blessed woman!) and he does a lot of picking up around the house as well. There are so many times that I feel guilty for him having to help out so much—after all, he works full time while I only work part time.
That leads me to my next point: I have to keep a realistic understanding about what life as a mom is all about—just because I only work part time doesn't mean my days aren't full. The same would be true for if I was a stay at home mom. Being a mom is time consuming! I find that if I just sit on the couch with my laptop, my son is content to just play and play happily. But if I dare stand up and try to clean he has an absolute melt down. It's like he can sense when I'm motivated and wants nothing more than to crush my dreams of a clean house. There are days when I have both the energy and the happy son to clean my house. And I love those days! And then there are days when I just have to accept that I will not accomplish anything until my husband gets home.
As I'm sure you've figured out by now, my house isn't generally clean. But it's happy! And a big part of why it's happy is because I'm happy. And a big part of that is because I spend time crafting. I don't make myself have a clean home in order to craft. I will sometimes set goals for myself—like I can't do anything crafty until I've spent a half hour cleaning up around our downstairs (and it's amazing how much I can get done in that time. And sometimes I love the sense of accomplishment I feel so much that I just keep on cleaning and within an hour my downstairs is in really good shape!). Or, I can't plug in the glue gun until I've started a load of laundry. I need to set these kinds of goals for myself more often. But I don't always do that. Sometimes I just keep crafting away regardless of the chaos around me.
I do little things here and there... like I might do a little glue gun work one day, cut out fabric for another project the next day, etc. Mondays and Fridays are my days off, so I find myself doing my biggest projects on those days. I also choose projects that I can finish in one sitting. I have a short attention span, so if something takes me more than one day, I'm unlikely to finish it any time soon. I LOVE the feeling of finishing a project!
I found that my time to do projects greatly increased after my son became mobile. He was able to entertain himself so much more once he could crawl to what he wanted. That allowed me to be able to craft while he played (I also make sure to spend time playing with him as well). I do a lot of projects in the evenings after my son has gone to bed, while my husband and I watch TV. He works out every evening from 9-10, so I do a lot of crafting during that time as well.
Really, there isn’t any way to “Do it all.” But you can choose what to do and what not to do. And I haven’t mastered the evaluation process for what’s right and what’s not. But I’m getting there. And in the mean time, I’m having a lot of fun and just going crazy part of the time!
How about you? How are you doing at getting it done while doing it all?