While that first month seemed to last so long, with days and nights filled with slow baby snuggles, the second month flew by as we returned to our daily routine. My baby is two months old! With a bit over 20 minutes of sewing time (#sewtake20!) his second monthly quilt block is finished.
I decided to make another teal block since I still have a lot of teal scraps. I think rather than my usual rainbow, I’m going to stick with a simple color scheme for this quilt: teal and black & white. I really need to sketch out a firm plan, so I’ll make that a goal for month three.
I am blessed beyond belief with this boy. He has such a peaceful demeanor, and as soon as he hit one month old, he was all smiles. He is so very interested in the world around him, and I love having “conversations” with him. After three children, I have mastered the art of the one-sided conversation, and I truly love the baby babble and expressions I get in return.
Perhaps the best part about growing our family is the love between siblings. Maddie and Max love their little brother almost as much as he loves them, and seeing the sweet exchanges is heart warming, even on a crazy day.
I’m excited to see this quilt grow with my little guy, and the one-block-per-month requirement still feels more than doable (even if I did make this block last night).
We all have busy lives. Whether it’s work, family, hobbies, friends, or chores that fill your days, there’s always something that needs to be done. As a full time mom with a newborn, I know that there is an endless list of chores–laundry, dishes, cooking, vacuuming, gardening, cleaning up after two busy toddlers, did I mention laundry?–on top of keeping my kids alive and of course loved and engaged in fun activities that easily fills my days and nights. I’ve been asked a few times how I find time to sew with three kiddos include a newborn. My answer is simple: I make time.
At first I felt guilty taking time to sew and quilt when there was always a long list of chores that could be done. But over the past few years, I’ve learned that I need to make time for myself in order to keep my sanity. Taking time regularly to create something beautiful (since that’s always what we’re doing when we quilt, right?) helps me to recenter and rejuvenate. “Me time” is a necessary part of my existence as a happy full time mom and wife. I know that now.
So how to “make time” in an otherwise jam packed schedule?
1. Set small attainable goals
For me, setting small attainable goals has the most success in helping me find regular sewing time while staying motivated and enjoying the process. As a yoga teacher, students often struggled with maintaining a personal practice at home. The best advice I heard during one of my teacher trainings was to set your bar LOW: make it your goal to roll out your mat and stand on it each day. That’s it. Roll out your mat. Stand on it. Goal accomplished! Once you are standing on your mat, it’s so easy to take a deep breath and do yoga. Rolling out the mat is the hardest part.
The same applies for sewing. Set your bar low. Make it your goal to step into your sewing space each day. Set a timer for 20 minutes and aim to create for 20 minutes per day. If the 20 minutes passes and you’re still going strong (and don’t have any crying kids or impending business meetings), go ahead and take 20 more!
2. Just do it!
Nike was on to something. Take it from me, if you spend the entire day thinking you will take your 20 minute sew break later, there’s a good chance you will be too tired when “later” finally comes. Regardless of whether your goal is to go for a run, clean the bathroom, write a letter to your best friend, or sew for 20 minutes, it’s best to accomplish it sooner than later. Besides, who doesn’t want to start their day with a “win”? Get the hard stuff out of the way early in the day, and you will be surprised how much lighter and more motivated you feel. Who knows–maybe you’ll be inspired to find time to take 20 more later that day!
3. Be gentle with yourself
This is the most important rule, in my opinion. We are our own worst critics, and it’s easy to fall into the pit of “I can’t” or “I should have”. I wish I could remember who told me: “Don’t should on yourself.” (say it out loud–get it?). Should is such a helpless word. The past has passed; there’s no changing it and no use in thinking about what you should have done. Think instead of what you will do now.
Try to create new habits with a gentle heart. If you currently are not consistently sewing at all, maybe make your goal to #sewtake20 four out of seven days this week. (Remember tip #2, though–getting those days under your belt early in the week will keep you feeling pumped and motivated). Once you get into the rhythm of MAKING time for yourself, even if it’s only 20 minutes at a time, up the ante for your goal and try taking time for yourself five days a week. Before you know it, you’ll be taking those 20 minutes daily, feeling efficient, and seeing progress on your formerly stagnant sewing projects.
My friends Stephanie at Late Night Quilter and Mandy at Mandalei Quilts and I are trying a new project to help us make time for ourselves. We’re using hashtag #sewtake20 on social media to help track our progress, and create a support network for those of you who want to join us. We invite you to post your progress, your challenges, and your quilting eye candy so that we can all help encourage and inspire each other.
Are you feeling overwhelmed at your mountainous to do list? #sewtake20
Feeling like there’s just no way you can accomplish your goal? #sewtake20
Want to find a way to make more time for yourself?
The wise Lau Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Taking 20 minute sewing escapes daily WILL result in a finished project. And you just might be a happier, more relaxed mom, wife, friend, or coworker to boot. I know I am.
It all started as a joke. Sitting around the breakfast table on the morning of Finn’s one month “birthday”, I jokingly said to my husband, “So what stuffed animal should we use in Finn’s one month photo shoot? What outfit should he wear?” I know that it’s all the rage to buy those monthly milestone stickers and find a cute stuffie and a big chair in which to take photos of your baby each month, but Finn is the third child. I didn’t make it past 4 months with Max, my second, and didn’t even plan to attempt this time around. We take lots of pictures day to day, so the memories will be made.
My husband, joking right back, said, “Didn’t you whip up a quilt block for his one month photos?” But instead of laughing and enjoying a mutual “poor third child” joke, I gaped. What a great idea! Now this idea of a quilt block per month was stuck in my head. How long could it really take to sew up a quick simple block? There was no turning back.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of making time to sew, and how a simple 20 minutes per day can add up to progress. I decided to put this to the test, set a timer for 20 minutes, and use whatever block resulted from my timer sewing endeavor. I opted for a simple log cabin block, inspired by the recent log cabin blocks made by Kim at My Go-Go Life and the epic log cabin quilts made by Luke Haynes. It was also the perfect choice since I could use scraps and just sew whatever strips fit without too much thought.
Ta da! The project was a slam dunk (get it? Finn is slam dunking… kind of?). I had to pause the 20 minute timer once for a baby nursing break, and I ultimately decided to hit snooze and sew for 30 minutes, since I had the opportunity, but it worked! Making the goal to sit down and sew for 20 minutes got me at my machine and resulted in a 12+” block.
My friends Stephanie at Late Night Quilter and Mandy at Mandalei Quilts and I are going to try out a goal of sewing (or making other sewing-related progress) at least 20 minutes each day. We are all busy moms with full plates, but setting a small, attainable goal will help us make sewing progress, too, without stress. We will be sure to post about our experiences on our blogs as well as on Instagram using hashtag #sewtake20. My first #sewtake20 trial run was a success and resulted in a great start to a new project, documenting how a quilt can grow along with my baby with only 20 minutes per month.