Make a Shorter List.
I want to say yes to all the things. It’s a combination of being a people pleaser and getting genuinely excited when asked to get artsy with all sorts of people. I love making people happy, and I love designing creative experiences.
But I’m a human being with limited time and resources who’s been trying to walk the line of being a great mom and running a great business since my first bundle of joy was born almost ten years ago. I'm not really walking the line all that gracefully a lot of the time either, more like tripping over a tightrope and hanging on for dear life in moments when I completely lose my footing. Just ask me about the time that I had a dream that I got up from brain surgery because I realized it was time to pick the kids up from school. Didn’t need an expert to figure THAT one out!
I started this post with the purpose of providing a clear explanation of how I can be of service to you – the parent or caretaker looking to provide unique creative experiences for the children you love. The sneaky side purpose of this post is to keep me from falling off the tightrope by setting clear guidelines and managing my own expectations regarding how much I can take on. After all, self-care is not a bubble bath, it’s making sure you can keep your head above water.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed (or dreaming about walking out of a major surgery), I highly recommend going through a similar editing process. When did you say yes when you should have said no? When did something you were excited about become stressful because you forgot to set limits? Be honest. Feel your feelings. Assess your choices. Make changes. Repeat.
I’ve had to say no to a lot of things over the course of the past year in order to have the time and energy to put into the things that are (in my opinion) my best offerings personally and professionally while not sending myself flying off the tightrope.
Here are the THREE BEST WAYS I can be of service to YOU right now.
1. Building Kits (a.k.a Opportunities to build skills, confidence, and memories with your kids!)
This is an obvious one because I’m sure you know all about the DIY kits for kids that are available on MakerMonkeyWorkshop.com for purchase (wink, wink). Right now, this is THE BEST way to introduce the concept of building to your child. The website is organized by age so it will be easy for you to choose a project that is appropriate for your child.
Side Note: These are not projects that you set down in front of your young child and say… “Go for it, sweetie!” and then run off to make dinner or read a book. Sorry not sorry. There’s definitely a time and a place for those activities (I resort to them all the time as a parent), but I’m also a huge advocate for setting aside a designated block of time to create WITH your child.
One of the best habits I’ve gotten into is to pull out my calendar and write down “Art Time” the same way I would schedule anything else. It’s usually a one-hour block and I only spend about five minutes setting it up. Blocking out the time in advance takes away any stress, distractions, or feelings of having to rush through the process.
I realized I was in a really bad habit of trying to maximize my time, thinking that multitasking while taking care of my kids was smart. It only made me stressed out and further detached from everything I was doing. I personally get way less out of multitasking instead of getting way more. Trying to maximize my time was minimizing my experiences across the board.
Blocking out this time with my kids also made me feel less guilty later when I had to give my full attention to something of my own. This would be the time for those previously mentioned independent kid activities… or the time to turn on a movie (let’s be honest).
Okay, sorry, that was a really long side note! Bottom line – Get a building kit, block out an hour, enjoy the activity with your child. Live in the moment, take pics, and revel in the fact that you get to watch this little person imagine, learn, and create right before your very eyes. And the more often you do it, the better it gets. Trust me.
2. At-Home Art Project Inspo
I experiment with my kids all the time. I scour the internet for art projects to try with them and I always document the process. You’ll find all of our favorite at-home art activities on the Maker Monkey Instagram Page. There is a highlight reel called… drumroll please… “Art At Home” for quick reference.
There’s almost nothing I love more than talking about making stuff and inspiring people to JUST GO FOR IT! If you find a project that you want to try but aren’t sure how to get started, ask me! If you’re stressed about making a mess or don’t know where to find materials, let me know! Basically, if there is anything stopping you from getting creative with your kids, I would like to help you break down those barriers. Help me, help you!
The best way to get in touch with me is to comment here on the blog or DM me on Instagram because it’s easy to share supporting images, links, ideas, etc. (Also, I spend way too much time on social so it’s easy to get my attention there. Sigh.)
Are there things missing from this list? Yes. Are they gone forever? No. Ever since I had my first son, life has been a major editing process. Parents have to cut things out to make room for others. Our values, our being, and our ” life thesis” may stay the same, but the supporting paragraphs are forever changing and I’m nowhere near a conclusion. But I don’t want an ending, I want the story.
So yes, this list feels shorter than I want it to be, but I think that’s a good thing because it leaves room to grow and the time and space I need to do it the right way. Don’t be afraid to make your list shorter and leave some space on the page. Don’t let efforts to maximize your time minimize your experiences. Work for the story, not the ending… one hour at a time.
Now let’s go make some art!