Wednesday, October 03, 2012

5 ways to make time for your art when raising amazing kids

Without grandparents nearby or daycare in our lives, making consistent time for our art is the major challenge as a family. Steeb and I just hung an art show at the Old Town Cafe and it was a crazy week. F is wearing the same pajamas for the third day in a row, but we did it and so can you.

 5 tips to make time for your art, changing out of pajamas optional.

1.    Do the dishes while the kids are awake, do your art while they sleep.

    If you are at home with your child, it doesn't mean you need to be on the carpet pushing trucks around all afternoon. It is valuable for little ones to see and participate in the tasks that make up our lives. If you get the chores done with the kids around, then when you get your private time you aren't using it to fold laundry. This goes for both household chores and errands related to your business. Often there are little chores related to making art, like buying supplies and preparing materials, that can be done with kids underfoot.
And perhaps it goes without saying, but it's okay to have a messy house around a deadline.

    2.    Recognize your child's rhythm. 

Work with your child's a natural energy flow if you are trying to create while they are around. You may need to play wildly at the park or have an extended snuggle to get the quality of time you need to do your creative work at home. Reading a favorite book one more time before you get to your project can prevent a little whining person tugging at your sleeve for an hour.

    3.    No shame in videos. 

Used in moderation they can be the trick up your sleeve when you need to write an email, have a telephone call or some fairly uninterrupted work flow. Pick something that isn't annoying to you and then just walk away. (Right now F is watching a sesame street video while I type.)

    4.    Trade Child Care.

It can be really hard to find the right mix of kids and parents and scheduling needs, but hopefully everyone knows at least one person who has offered to hang out with your kid. Remember that some people connect with children at different stages, someone with an older child might miss holding a baby and offer to hold your newborn for a couple hours just to sniff his neck. Other people really don't get interested in kids until they can talk and do activities together. You can do a straight trade, one afternoon with your children for one afternoon with theirs. Or the trade can be for goods and services. Pie and yard work and cleaning are as valuable as cash. And don't overlook childless friends, they often have the most energy for your child and have fewer nap schedule conflicts.

    5.    Schedule it! 

Book a show, announce a studio sale, agree to be in a group show, tell your blog community you will post a poem a week. Make it official on the calendar and you will find the time. You may stay up until midnight for a week before your show when you usually lay down at 9pm or get up at 5am before your kid is awake to finish on time. But when there is a deadline, something will be created. You can catch up on sleep next week.

It is a challenge to make time for your creative life even without kids.When you say a gentle "no" to your child to say "Yes!" to your craft it can feel like you are being a "bad mom." Trust that your child will be okay. I believe that when our children see us engaged in passionate projects it teaches them how to follow their own passions. Making art with young children may involve some crying ( for both of you.) But the world, and your family, needs your art.

Stay tuned for part two, changing your mind set and habits to keep making art.

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