February 14, 2011

Balancing Family & Creating

I'm often asked how I find the time to do everything.  The truth is, I don't!  I struggle just like you with balancing family and running my business.  But I have always worked my creative business along with raising my girls, from the time I would do craft shows with our newborn in the stroller and beading away when she was taking naps!

I am very fortune to have a family that completely supports my business.  Most of the cooking and cleaning are handled by Jess and my girls. 

I was in the terrible habit of working all day and night for a few years, but have scaled back this year.  I stop working when the girls get home at 4:30 and spend time doing family stuff until they are in bed at 9:30. When they arrive home from school I devote that first hour to listening and chatting them with about their day. I use my time in the evening to sketch, read and jot down ideas while we watch TV or hang out together. I don't get on the computer or spend time in my studio during that time.  This has been good for all us, and good for me - we can't work 24 hours a day! (Now if I could only pry the Ipod from my hands during TV commercials. Shh, don't tell on me.)

Here are some tips that I shared on my facebook page for mom's who were struggling with finding time to create:
  • Do you have another mom you can exchange babysitting time? I used to do that with another homeschool mom when I homeschooled. We would trade a day so that we could work on our creative businesses.
  • I still get up before everyone so I can have an hour or two of quiet time. Is that what you do now? I find I'm more creative if I wake up early rather than staying up way too late.
  • Maybe you could do a family creative day once a week. Feeding your creative soul may not involve beads at that time, but you will all enjoy the break from the everyday! We would take the girls to museums, art shows, take our sketchbooks to the park, etc.
  • And then there is the reality that when we are raising kids we can't do it all - there are only so many hours in a day.  Don't be hard on yourself and set realistic goals.
I also found this great round up of tips for maintaining balance with work and family - it's a must read!  Couldn't have come at a better time.


TesoriTrovati said...

These are all so great. I really need to practice the "not in the studio while the kids are awake" one. Becuase I don't have daylight hours, it is just too tempting to get in there and do things, or hop on the computer and spend my time there. I have have been cutting back due to my sick-ick, so maybe that was a good thing. I think that having daylight to work and to schedule my day would make it much easier. I keep on dreaming and planning.
Enjoy the day!
P.S That picture is adorable! Frame-worthy for sure!

Cathryn said...

My time is divided between taking care of my family (1 husband and a dozen cats) and working and then creating. I do get up early to work on things. I've found my main problem is letting go of the Muse in order to earn my paycheck. lol

Genea said...

Thanks for sharing this post. I think I struggle with balance the most! Our family consists of my hubby, our 2 female aussies and myself. I admit I spend WAY more time doing business stuff than I should the days the hubby works long hours!

My Life Under the Bus said...

Ugh this is always on the scale for me. I find it one of the hardest things trying to work from home. Dividing time is so difficult even when the boys are not home there's laundry , food prep, cleaning and the constant distractions. I always feel like there is some secret no one shared with me! Must go check out that link.

Erin Fickert-Rowland said...

I now admire you even more because you home-schooled! I would love to be able to do that, but at this point I'm at "set realistic goals". I think those long hours are a part of new-business life, but I agree you have to get those priorities shifted back ASAP- after all, our children will be grown up before we're ready for them to be!

Norma's Clay said...

I remember when my girls were small and that one was a big problem for me. Now they are both in college and I'm grateful I never gave up on the home business (and creating). The empty nest syndrome would've attacked! I still have to balance the home chores and creating/working. I think I understand what Cathryn says about the muse vs earning the paycheck. For this I have certain products that sell well and are repetitive to do that "pay for my materials" to "free" the muse. Thanks for sharing!

Sissy and Jack's said...

I am right there with you Heather! I used to work until the wee hours and just cannot do it anymore. Like you I get up before everyone and have my coffee and quiet time.
I come out of my office/studio when my kids get home at 3:45 and do not go back in until they finish homework or go outside. We do not do tv or computers (we call it screen time) during the week. It definitely is a balancing act, but I would not trade it for the world!



Rose said...

Great tips! After school until bed time is hard. Somedays I am really good and stay off the computer during that time, other days not so good. I do try to involve my kids in my creative work and they love it. We set time to paint, draw, bead, go for inspiring nature walks etc. They are only little once and I want to make sure I make the most of these precious days with them. Balance is hard but I to have a very supportive family and they will tell me to "get off the computer" if I tend to forget from time to time!

Rose said...

p.s. what a cute picture in this post!