Making time for mama to craft and sew

The gardening season is coming to an end. Late last week I harvested the carrots, pulled the tomato plants and cut what probably was my last sunflower bouquet. My creative time is moving indoors but figuring out how to make a space for that in the busyness of fall family life is challenging. 

hydrangeas almost done drying in the sewing room
hydrangeas almost done drying in the sewing room

I have a new sewing room. Well, it's not "new" and the room is not strictly used for sewing. When the room is complete it will be the sewing/guest room. For now, since we lack a twin bed to replace Laurent's queen bed (which is also the guest bed) the room is simply the sewing room... and the place we hang the tent fly to dry, the room to store large boxes and miscellaneous junk - I'm working on that!

I am determined to use this sewing room and I'm prepared set aside some time each week to do it. Being a homeschooling mom, spending all the hours of my week with my children I'm finding I need a break to do something that feeds my spirit and soul. Gardening does that for me in the spring and summer. Sewing and handicrafts do that during the fall and winter.

It's so much easier during the summer to have "my time" outdoors with the kids, them doing their thing and me doing mine for a couple hours a week than it is to be indoors having separate activities. The kids are used to me being available for them always. But I'm finding I need a little break from that now and then, and the hour from 9 till 10 pm doesn't count!

The kids used to take naps everyday and I held onto this firmly. Mind you, I usually napped during their nap but it was still a break from the tedium of a whole day with 3 little tikes. When they no longer slept it shifted to afternoon rests (and I still napped!) and then poof when Brienne was around 5 it all disappeared for awhile. More recently I've started a variation on this theme, mama's afternoon writing time. On weekdays for an hour after lunch I blog and they play/craft/squabble, with explicit instructions to interrupt only if necessary. My youngest is 6 so this is totally doable for my kids. But an hour doesn't really give me enough time to sink my teeth into a sewing or decorating project so I've scheduled 2 hours on Wednesday afternoons as my time to do this (I give up writing that day also).

Because we have such full weekends - hiking one day and then house work & hospitality/church the next I rarely (unless it's Mother's Day) get time to do my own thing, even for just a couple hours. This is a choice our family has made and when I complained to Damien about my lack of "free time" for crafting he suggested I take a weekday afternoon off to do those type of projects.

Sounds fine in theory but telling my kids "no, mommy can't help with that project right now" is hard for me. Really, 2 hours a week that my kids can't ask for my help, plus a few hours of writing is nothing; but you know that mommy guilt, it's strong! Saying "I need this" is not easy for us mothers. But I'm learning that if I'm going to be successful in the long term as a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler I have to carve out a little time each week and each day doing something I want to do.

Thankfully some of you know me in person and if you've read my blog long enough you know I'm not a "dump your kids and husband to stand up for your rights" kind of gal. And that's not the message I'm sending here, just saying I'm trying to make time each week to work on something that pleases me; something pretty for my home, something for me.

garden view from sewing room
garden view from sewing room

Today, during my mama's sewing time, I finally finished (I only started almost 2 years ago!) the valences for our front porch. There is a story behind the fabric that I hope to share someday but this post is already too long. Hanging these curtains up at the end of the afternoon was such sweet satisfaction. I can't wait till Wednesday afternoon next week!

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  • Emily Pitman

    Emily Pitman on Oct. 8, 2009, 2:58 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this... I needed a reminder about scheduling my priorities. Not sure if Wednesday will be the day that I can join you, but I do hope to join you 2 hours of soul-feeding crafting.


  • Kika

    Kika on Oct. 8, 2009, 4:09 p.m.

    Good idea. I do have a sewing/guest room but it is downstairs -away from everyone and sorely lacking in natural light so I often don't want to work down there. This past week I tried hauling up my machine (and stuff) but phew! That's lots of work to do on a regular basis. I also have been working at incorporating more creative time for me into our shedule but so far not as defined as "two hours each Wednesday afternoon". I honestly think that our kids seeing us create and explore interests of our own can be healthy. I don't think I ever manage to give my kids as much of "me" as they want... even though we're always together! So, really, a few hours of time where they need to be independent and not ask me for something every few minutes won't hurt them.


    • renee

      renee on Oct. 8, 2009, 5:31 p.m.

      Kika, Tell me about it! I often feel that I haven't given my kids as much of me as they want (it's never enough is a repeat refrain in my head) in spite of being home with them 24-7!! Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.


  • Jody

    Jody on Oct. 8, 2009, 4:24 p.m.

    I love the 'YOU' that you are, Renee! Well said. I agree - and tuff done! But the outcome is priceless. It's good to take care of you :>)


  • kate

    kate on Oct. 8, 2009, 4:55 p.m.

    hooray for mama time! It is so important to recognize that we need to take a breath, do something that refills our cups, so to speak, so that we can be our true selves for our families the rest of the week. I need to get better at this-- because I think it is so healthy for our children to see us acknowledge that we are both value ourselves and our interests and that we can be so much more focused and present if we aren't pining for a little room to craft or read or whatever it is that makes a mama smile all by herself. Carving out some time each week to do that is such a perfect idea.


  • kyndale

    kyndale on Oct. 8, 2009, 6:45 p.m.

    I know how important mommy time is. I'm still trying to figure that out with a very curious (and sometimes destructive) 3 year old around. I know too how the guilt takes over. I do love your valances.


  • nicola

    nicola on Oct. 8, 2009, 9:36 p.m.

    oh, yes! you know from my post on monday of this week that i am feeling so very much the same way. i am SO glad you are trying to carve a little piece of your week just for renee, because we are better mothers and wives when we get some peace to be ourselves only for just a spell. hugs to you! the valances look wonderful! nicola

    nicola's last blog post... change


  • Denise

    Denise on Oct. 9, 2009, 1:30 a.m.

    you are important too! And doing what you enjoy will make you a better mom in the long run. Cherish that time. Stick to the plan. Can't wait to see what you create.


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