29 Aug

Some thoughts on Productivity

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 πŸ˜‰

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:

β€’ 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.

β€’ I am not a recreational shopper, so that probably buys me a few hours a week of personal time.

β€’ 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.)

β€’ 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.)

β€’ 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.

β€’ 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 πŸ˜‰

5 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Productivity

  1. I wish I had had your MIL. What an empowering thing to say to you. I agree with her. I used to get a babysitter one day a week after school – I used the time to just get away.

  2. I still think it is amazing. Part of your ability to be so productive, you demonstrated by actions not words – you use a “dot list” to organize your thoughts. Not everyone can distil their activities into a couple lines of text for each item in a list.

  3. I so enjoyed your post, Kristin. We do perhaps just show what we are proud to share (:
    After all, everyone is familiar with dust mites and since you mentioned bathroom, I MUST get mine clean while the 2 teen boys are with friends…school begins Wed, and Thurs….now I must decide if I will make the house perfect for a couple of days…or grab a friend and head to that fabric shop in Waynesville that Alena told me about..ahhh…decisions(:

  4. It sounds like you have a great balance and your priorities in order. I agree that house cleaning must fall to the bottom of the stack. It just isn’t as important as taking the kids to the beach all day or spending a full day working on my projects. I even work when playmates are in the house, it seems to be more self-regulating now that the girls are 8 and 11. My house cleaning trick: I clean the downstairs potty before we have guests and make sure the guests are directed that bathroom!

  5. Pingback: Kristin La Flamme » Blog Archive » Best laid plans

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