Every day that I get comments on my blog it amazes me that anyone outside my family is interested in what I have to say. Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and thanks too, to all the people who write the blogs I read. I really enjoy the connection that we have made; the sharing of ideas, the mutual support, the window into the lives of people whom I otherwise would not have the opportunity to meet. I am enjoying blogging more than I ever imagined I would.
Speaking of the comments, I get a fair number of comments prefaced with “I don’t know how you do it all.” I’m here to tell you that I DON’T do it all. And I only show you what I want to. You don’t really want to see the crumbs under my dining room table do you? You’d much rather see cute kids and quilts, right? Maybe that’s why I like blogging; I can share my projects with you without feeling like I have to clean up the toys, or wipe the sink and toilets beforehand 😉
That said, I do it the same way I think you all do it. Every day is a conscious decision as to whether I am going to work on my art/crafts, or parent my children, or (lowest priority) balance the checkbook and clean toilets. I am in the lucky position of being a stay at home mom. I don’t have to work a 9-5 job into the equation. And I don’t want to. When I worked (as a graphic designer), that seemed to satisfy my creative urges. I often wonder if I would have made the move to art quilter if I was still working. When I was working, I couldn’t see where children would fit into my life/schedule. Now that I am a mom, I don’t see why I would want to shoehorn “work” into our lives. I’m lucky, many people HAVE to work and don’t have the choices I have.
My MIL told me last night that my “talent is so great that I owe it to the world to get a babysitter and devote more time to my art.” How cool is that to have your MIL support your art?!!! However, just as I don’t feel the need to have a job AND young children at the same time, I’m not sure that I need to burst into the art scene all at once either. My kids are almost five and eight and therefore no longer need to be watched with eagle eyes. I work on my art while they are at school, and sometimes when they are entertaining themselves, or playing with friends. They are still young though, and I feel I owe it to them to be here and be attentive. They won’t stay this young and impressionable much longer. It is important for them to have activities and time with friends no matter how much it drains me to mediate squabbles and tend to guests with sleepover angst. Perhaps this is not the time in our lives for me to devote the kind of time to quilting a studio artist would. When the kids are a little older, then I can take more time for myself and my art.
Of course, I need some time to myself:
• TS&WGH takes the kids out on weekends when he’s here, and I have lovely neighbors who I swap time with watching all the kids. We know a couple of responsible teenagers who babysit when they are not busy with their own activities.
• I am not a recreational shopper, so that probably buys me a few hours a week of personal time.
• I choose to spend my free time quilting and crafting instead of cleaning house. (You won’t be seeing any pretty still lives of my work in my home with furniture polished and accessories set just so.)
• I only post when I have something to share. Otherwise, I try not to spend too much time on the computer, and get into my sewing room. (It looks like I’m doing a lot because all you see is the finished product. What you don’t see is the days between posts when I’m just being a mom.)
• I have set a goal and a deadline to work towards. Although this is probably not the optimal time in my life to have a one woman show, I fell into the opportunity and felt I couldn’t pass it up. I need at least eight quilts presentable by the end of November. Without this deadline I probably wouldn’t have made half the quilts I’ve shared over the last 14 months.
• I work on multiple projects at the same time. I almost always have something in the sewing machine. I have a hand work project to work on in front of the TV at night, or take with me somewhere. I allow myself little projects like a two hour tiered skirt, Süße Sac, or potholders to give me a sense of accomplishment and some motivation between the bigger, longer projects. Every little bit adds up — more than you might think!
I think that’s it. I think it’s pretty much the way anyone else would balance it. Maybe it looks more glamorous with the trips to France and cool fests though 😉