Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family life.
I am 35 years old and have been married for 13 years. My husband and I have four children, Kael (10), Seth (7), Jonas (5) and Ivy (1.5). I worked part time away from home up until Seth was 1.5 years old. Then I worked at home part time up until I had Ivy. Now I try my best to manage the kids, the house, and fit in my sewing and blogging as I can.
Sew a Straight Line. It started out “How to Sew a Straight Line”, but I dropped the “How to”, because it was just too long. The blog began as a personal challenge to learn how to really sew starting with the basics (how to sew a straight line…) and working my way up and through a sewing text book. I began the blog in January 2010, it was my New Year’s Resolution that year.
For many, sewing/crafting is a big part of who you are as a person. Why is “creative expression” important to you and how has it affected the quality of your life?
I have always been motivated by creativity. I remember in grade school, at a very young age, completing art projects in class. There would be a set design we were all supposed to make out of construction paper. I would take my scraps and add to that set design. I specifically remember a penguin that I added a ghetto blaster (remember those?) and sunglasses to.
I love creating things, and seeing my creations around the house and on my family. I feel like it’s my way of leaving my mark, of giving some sort of permanence and tangibility to my love. “I made this for you because I love you” kind of thing.
When I am in a creative slump, my best remedy is to pull out previous projects or look at pictures of things I’ve made. Looking at what I’ve done motivates me to make more. Creativity breeds creativity.
Working inside or outside of the home (or running a blog or website on a part to full time basis) can be especially tough because of the difficult choices we have to make with how to divide our time between work and family. Have you ever felt guilty about the choices you’ve made, and what advice would you give to someone struggling with those same types of feelings?
Pretty sure my main emotion in life is guilt! I’m really trying to not feel that way, but I do. I think a lot (most?) women do. I worry that the reason my oldest struggles in social situations is because I left him to work outside the home for his first five years. I worry that now that I am home, I don’t do the things that a “SAHM” is supposed to do, or at least don’t do them well enough. As for advice, I don’t know. I struggle with it all the time. I try to remember not to compare my worst with others’ best. I also try to remember that kids are resilient and I just pray that mine will somehow turn out okay in spite of mistakes I may have made 🙂
For most moms, multitasking is synonymous with motherhood. What’s been your biggest personal challenge with juggling so many things? Have you found a way to stay balanced? If so, what are some of your strategies?
When things are going the best, I’ve found it’s because I’m putting my family first. The other stuff always seems to fall into place when I’m making sure that I’m giving a good amount of time to my children. They are happier and more accommodating when I do need time away from them to get stuff done. However, I’m not always (often) so good at that. I’m working on it, though.
Also, dry erase boards!! I have them all over, for my lists and calendars. I have a fancy pants phone with a nice calendar and scheduling aps, but I need something that is just “there” every time I walk past it.
Finding the time to mother AND craft or sew can be a big challenge. How do you carve out time to create? When your children nap or are at school? Or have you found other ways to “sneak in” some time?
I sew in the nights after my kids are in bed. When I try to sew with my kids up and running around, I get less done, make more mistakes, and am so crazy-ornery. It’s just better for everyone to keep my sewing time to after 9:00 p.m. I do sketch at all times, and will cut out fabric or prepare patterns with my kids around. But actual sewing, and post-writing, has to wait for me to be kid-free for a few hours.
What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received?
It was actually from my dad, and it was given to me as a teenager regarding just life in general. He told me to “never wish your life away”, meaning never get so caught up in what you wish you had, that you miss out on what you do have. I think it’s great advice that can also be applied to parenthood. I look back, so often, at my kids’ pictures from years past and think, “They were so little! Why wasn’t I nicer, more present, more kind, more patient?” But I can’t change the past, I can only move forward and appreciate what and who they are now and try to remember the time goes quickly and make the most of it.
In terms of family, career and motherhood, how do you define success?
Oh, this is a good one!! I think the basic answer is happy, well-adjusted, self-sufficient children as far as family and motherhood go. But I need to be a happy, well-adjusted person, too, in order to feel successful in my life. And the fact is, my kids will make their own choices that may result in a life that deviates from what I would consider happy, well-adjusted or self-sufficient. Hopefully, if that happens, I’ll be able to recognize that they are ultimately responsible for their own choices and are their own persons. For career? I’d love to be able to contribute to my family’s finances in a more significant way through my blog.
How has being a mom changed your life perspective?
I feel like my life is in two parts: Before Kids and After Kids. Having children changes everything. With my children still being so young, every thought, action, whatever has to include them and how my choices will effect them and their lives. Everything, from what kind of car I drive to what errands I can run and where I can run them to even what I’m wearing and if it can stand up to jam stains and running after a toddler. Whatever my husband and/or I do, we drag them along with us; sometimes physically, always metaphorically. Also, I laugh more. A lot more. My husband and I always comment that we can’t figure out what people without kids do for daily entertainment. Kids are hilarious. A ton of work, but so much fun. My life is more vivid, and far less self-centered as a mother of young children.
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A Question for You:
Sabra’s best mom/ life advice received was to “never wish your life away”. Does this advice resonate with you also? If so, in what way?