Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! Investing time in creative ventures is well worth the effort, in my opinion. I think time spent nurturing your passions leads to more joy and fulfillment from life. For me, my top creative hobbies are this blog (yes, it’s a hobby!), painting, sewing, and decorating. If you are a stay-at-home parent (or not!), it can be hard to find time to do anything outside of child-rearing. May I encourage you today that it is possible? Let me share with you 5 practical tips for how to make time for creative hobbies.
The number one comment/question I get regarding this blog is “how do you find time to keep up on the blog?” Or “I just don’t know how you get anything done (creatively) with kids!”
I’ve been rolling those questions around for some time now. When I began to put more concentrated effort into this blog, I didn’t know if it was sustainable. Could I really continue to write, photograph, and publish new content regularly?
It turns out, I can! While there are many aspects to making this blog (and any hobby) happen, today I’d like to focus on 5 tips that focus on finding the time to pursue creative hobbies.
Take Full Advantage of Nap Time
If you are lucky enough to have kiddos young enough to still be napping consistently, then plan to use some of that time to do something creative and fulfilling for you.
Take the time to plan what you want to do several days in advance. Do any advanced work needed BEFORE you lay that precious child down (get out the sewing machine, prep the painting area, get the gardening tools out of the shed, etc.). So that when you close the door on their room, you are ready to rock!
One more tip: choose a nap time project that can be done in segments because it will potentially be interrupted multiple times. For some of us, nap time is not a set amount of time, so having a project that is a bit flexible will result in less stress for parent and child.
Work With the Kids
Did I just hear you say, “Shoot me now??” Don’t skip to the next tip! It is possible to get projects done with your kids by your side!
Invite the kids into the project by giving them a part they can do themselves or their own “project” to work on.
When my husband and I are doing woodworking in the garage, we give the scrap lumber to the kids to “build.” If we’re sanding, we give them a piece of sandpaper too. If they can’t be hurt by it, let them use the same tools you are using!
Similarly in the kitchen, I either let the kids cut veggies with me (older child activity) or I give them the scraps in a mixing bowl with a spoon to “cook” (younger child, very young even!).
Do Outside Projects
Maybe it’s just me, but my kids fight far less and give me more time to work if we are outside. So if I need to get things done during the day, choosing an outdoor activity is often successful. Here’s a short list of things I’ve done outside with my kids.
- Finish work on a wood project (sanding, painting, staining) done in the garage – I set up a water table or just a bucket of water in the driveway and they are content for a good hour or more.
- Gardening – from planting to weeding to harvesting my kids love to help or just run circles around the garden while I work. When my boys were very young, I would set up a pack n play or just a blanket in the shade for them to play in/on while I worked.
- Mowing the law – Give them a plastic lawn mower and they will follow you back and forth around the yard forever!
Kid Swap With a Friend
If you don’t take any other of these tips, try this one, my friend!
Ask a friend with children the same ages as yours and offer up a “kid swap” once a week for a few hours in the morning.
I did this for a time when my oldest was super small, about 6 months. It saved. my. sanity. To feel fulfilled, I needed to be creative in some way, but I was struggling to figure out how as a new mom. So my friend and I swapped kids once a week, giving each of us two mornings a month of 3-4 hours of uninterrupted work time.
Heaven, I tell you. Pure heaven.
Oh and the mornings you have all the kids at your place will be heaven too! The kids will entertain each other and there will be so much joyous fun going on that the morning will fly by. It’s a win-win!
Take Full Advantage of Nights and Weekends
Communicate with your spouse the need for some creative time and ask them to help make it happen.
For me, that means I ask my husband to grill meat on the weekends so I don’t have to spend as much time in the kitchen. If I’m going to do a big project like re-paint a room, I plan that out with him weeks in advance.
If your weekends are usually full then set aside a night or two to work on a hobby after the kids are in bed. Truthfully, evenings after 8pm are when I get most of my blog work done. It’s not my ideal thinking/creating time but it works best in my family’s schedule so I’ll take it!
Hobbies ARE worth the effort. Your fulfillment from creative outlets IS worth the effort to make them happen. Plan, communicate, and put in the effort to make it happen. If you try any of these 5 tips for how to make time for creative hobbies, would you let us all know how it worked? Do you have any other tips to share? What is the best way for you to create time for the things you love?