Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family life.
I am mom to three little boys ages 7, 4 1/2 and 3. We’ve lived overseas for the last 6 years during three distinctly different European tours with the U.S. Foreign Service. My two youngest sons were born abroad and my oldest was only 15 months old when we moved so the recent move back to America is a new experience for us all.
I have a tendency to hoard fabric, and I NEED at least one cup of coffee every morning. I love to read away a rainy afternoon and hate laundry with a passion.
What’s the story behind the name, “Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy Crafts” and how long have you been blogging?
The blog name started with my interest in sharing boy centered crafts and sewing. I have three boys at home who love to craft along with me and I know how many moms of boys are out there looking to keep their active little ones busy and out of trouble. I’ve been blogging for 4 years.
Sewing and crafting can become a big part of who you are as a person. Why is “creative expression” important to you?
I was an Elementary School Teacher for 8 years before we started our overseas life and my career always provided a creative outlet. When I found myself a first time, stay-at-home mom, thousands of miles away from family and friends, with a husband who works long hours, I knew I needed to find a creative outlet that was time just for me.
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?
Honestly, balancing the many avenues of my life is something I constantly struggle with. As with anything, once I finally get a schedule just the way I like it, something changes and I have to roll with the punches. My attempts to balance start with lists and schedules. If I don’t write something down, it’s not going to happen. The number one thing on that list is always the children. I try to keep my working hours to naps and evenings though my husband will often take the kids out for a few hours on Saturdays to give me a little time on my own. I find that’s the best way to conquer self-inflicted guilt. As the children get older though, I do feel they’re able to play with more independence and since my sewing room is connected to the playroom, I’ll sew while they play.
Why did you take the leap from hobbyist to businesswoman? What has been your greatest challenge? What has been your greatest reward?
My transition from hobbyist to business has taken a very winding road. I’ve had dreams and aspirations in the creative field for years now but the young ages of my smallest, and our overseas life have kept me in check. Now that we’re back in the States and I’ll have two in school, I’m rearing to start checking things off my “business plan” list. My greatest challenge has been holding off on the goals I’ve set for myself. Just being able to check off a few will feel like an amazing reward.
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?
What I’ve discovered in the last 7 years is that all moms are amazing. No matter whether you are a stay-at-home or a working mom we all do the impossible each day when it comes to raising and nurturing children, providing food and generally just keeping them alive. I’m still working each day on the “nurture yourself” aspect that is necessary to stay energized. I’m still learning to rely on others to help me work this into my life. It’s taken me awhile to realize that I am a much better mother/wife/friend if I’ve had time to myself each day.
Finding the time to mother AND craft or sew can be a big challenge. How do you carve out time to create?
Nap time works best for me. I try sometimes to carve out time after hours, but generally I’m as exhausted as the kids by the time they’re in bed. Nap time/quite time allows me a bit of time to myself during the daytime without taking time away from my children and family. Sometimes I’m able to sneak a bit of time on Saturdays or Sundays with my husband’s help. An hour at a local park sans mom gives me a chance to fit in some crafting and gives them some alone time with their dad. Also, I may be the only mom out there that fully supports NFL football season. As the boys get older, they are fully encouraged to watch football with the guys.
What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received?
The best mom advice? That there is no perfect way of doing things. Parenthood is like being a scientist. You try some things, they may work and they may not. Each kid is different and unique and what worked for one may go horribly wrong for another. All you can do is spend quality time with them, exhibit the behaviors and values you’d like them to adopt and hope as they grow and learn that they make good decisions.
In terms of family, career and motherhood, how do you define success?
Haha, for family and motherhood, it’s definitely every day we survive. I feel like it’s one of those jobs you can’t really assess until the family is grown. We try our best each day and hope we can find at least 3 happy things to reflect on each day. Career wise, if I can cross at least one thing off the list each day, I’m doing pretty darn fine.
How has being a mom changed your life perspective?
Geesh, Shannon with the hard questions. Really, a book could be written (and probably has been) on this subject. I talk with friends or family now that have no children and I can’t believe how self-centered my life was. Yes, I was a teacher and most of my time during the week was dedicated to that but the weekends were just a free-for-all of slothfulness. I really can’t imagine my life now without the motherhood part. Everything I do is altered by the fact that little people are watching me and learning about life. Could I use a few mornings now and again to sleep in? Yes. But I wouldn’t trade the early morning wake-ups for anything in the world.
You can find Stacey at BoyOhBoyOhBoyCrafts, Pinterest and Facebook. Here are some more great links: Handmade Gift Series http://www.boyohboyohboycrafts.com/2012/12/boys-will-be-boys-so-hand-make-their_10.html Last years Sew In Tune Wrap Up Post: http://www.boyohboyohboycrafts.com/2013/03/sew-in-tune-put-bow-on-it.html The third running of the series is coming in February.
Join us tomorrow for Day 3 of Moms Know Moms. It’s our first giveaway of the series!
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A Question for You:
Stacey pointed out that nurturing yourself is a great way to stay energized and find balance. How do you carve out time “just for you”?