Busy moms. Ha! Is that kind of redundant? If you're a mom with kids still at home, I'd say you're probably pretty busy. With two under three, I don't necessarily feel "busy," but I certainly feel strapped for crafting time. There are clothes to be washed, butts to be wiped, beds to be made, floors to be swept, lunches to be packed, tummies to be filled...and more. You get it. So how do I (and how can you) find time to fit some sewing, knitting or other crafty endeavors in there? I am by no means an expert on this topic, but here are some strategies that are working for me.
1. Keep the house clean. I know. You're reading this because you want to stop cleaning and start crafting, right?! But here's the thing - if you're anything like I am, a dirty house will weigh on you and prevent you from enjoying your crafting time. Having undone chores makes me feel guilty that I am spending time for ME instead of my family. So, I try to spend a little time each day straightening up and doing a few chores so there's never a HUGE mess that has to be knocked out all at one time. I highly recommend creating a chore schedule and knocking out little bits of the housework each day of the week. You will enjoy your crafty time much more if your slate is clean.
2. Organize your sewing/crafting area. Sometimes I find myself with a small chunk of time - say, 30 minutes - but I end up wasting it because I don't think it's enough time to make any real progress on a project. I walk into my sewing room, see the mess, and I cringe and shut the door. This is why it's SO IMPORTANT to keep your crafting area organized! You need to be able to step into the room and start working on something within a minute or two. I even like to thread my serger, switch out my needles, lay out my fabrics, etc. if I know I have only a few minutes to spend. Then, when I get the 30-minute or hour-long stretch to work later, I have saved myself that much more time and frustration.
3. Batch projects. I don't have the luxury of having a huge sewing/crafting room with big cutting tables, lots of sunlight, a photography studio area, shelves of fabric and other things that are the stuff of Pinterest dreams. I usually do my tracing at the dining room table, my cutting in the living room on the floor, my sewing in the basement and my fitting in the bedroom. So, rather than running all around the house, I will do each task for several projects at one time. Trace three or four patterns so they are ready for cutting. Then cut all your fabric to it's ready for sewing. Then sew, then fit, and so forth and so on. It's also nice because you have all your supplies for whatever task you're working on ready-to-go. There's less mess all around the house to clean up, too.
4. Take projects on-the-go. Alright. No one is going to load up their Janome in the back of the minivan (or are they?). I'm not. But I do love to knit, and knitting projects are great to keep in the car for when the kids pass out after story time or when you're stuck in line at the ATM (or whatever).
5. Trade childcare with another mommy for a few hours each week. You take her kids one day; she takes yours on another. It's a great (free) way to get some time to yourself and for the kids to have a fun playdate.
6. Control your stash. This might seem a little counterintuitive, but I've found that if my stash of fabric/yarn gets too extensive, I feel overwhelmed and stall when it comes time to actually make something. I find it's better to just have what I need on-hand so I don't get distracted by other projects in my head. If you find it impossible to not hoard fabric, at least keep your stash organized and prioritized.
7. Have everything you need for a project on-hand. There's nothing worse that getting midway through a project during your kids' nap and realizing you are missing a zipper or the proper interfacing. When you have a project you're preparing to tackle, take a list with you to the yarn/fabric/craft store to make sure you have all the necessary supplies to complete the project it one sitting (or at least without having to leave to pick something up). You'll have a lot more momentum and focus to power through the project if you do.
8. Arrange for your spouse/mom/sister/friend/etc. to take the kids out for a couple hours. It's one thing to lock yourself in the sewing room, but it's another thing entirely to NOT be able to hear the crying, whining, little booboos, etc. that inevitably happen when the kids are in the other room with Daddy. I find that if the kids are home, my attention is on them regardless of what else I have going on. As a mommy, I just can't ignore their needs.
9. Just do it! At the risk of sounding super cliche...you seriously sometimes just have to shut yourself up and DO IT. Stop worrying that the kids will wake up soon or that you have other chores to be done. JUST DO IT. Sit down at your sewing machine and sew for 20 minutes. Knit for half an hour. At least you will be that much further along than you were before you started. And sometimes, the planets will align and you will end up with a lot more time than you originally anticipated. (Aren't those days just bliss?!)
10. Finally, get more sleep. Again, this one sounds a bit counterintuitive. But if you are exhausted by the time the kids are all asleep in bed at 8pm, you sure as heck aren't going to pound out a few hours of sewing or knitting...at least, not any you'll be proud of. So, hit the sack at 10pm instead of midnight, and you'll be much better rested the next day - and that means you'll take better advantage of those few little morsels of time you find on your hands. (This is the one I struggle with the most!)
11. AND finally finally (last one, promise!), close the computer! Stop wasting time playing around on Facebook and pinning stuff you are never going to buy/use/do/read and MAKE SOMETHING!
What are YOUR strategies for getting more crafting done as a busy mom? I hope my list has helped you!