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How I Make My Own Skirts With 5 Kids and a Chaotic Life

I recently did a crazy thing. Not only is my life busy enough as a Mom to five kids, but we recently decided to add a new puppy to our family. Then, I decided to launch a business selling my cult classic herbal hair growth oil.  And finally, I decided it was time for a new skirt. But not just any skirt-this skirt would be a wearable work of art.

Collaborating with Tom’s Son’s International Pleating, I designed the skirt of my dreams - but would I be able to actually successful make it? This would be an accordion pleated, Edwardian-inspired, couture skirt to be worn over my favourite 1950’s shaped petticoat. Basically a mishmash of what I love best about modern accordion pleats, Edwardian V-shaped waist bands, and 1950’s flared silhouettes. In my extremely busy life, what could possibly go wrong?

red pleated skirt

If you would like to see the raw and messy reality of how this journey went, be sure to watch the video. But if you would like my top 5 tips for staying sane as a creative parent with a busy life, keep reading! This is a continuation of my previous article with my top 5 tips for fitting a creative hobby into a busy life.

Staying Sane as a Creative Parent

Please keep in mind that I am not supermom, and as I nearly drove myself batty over the

past couple weeks, I am writing this article just as much for me as for you! Be aware that most of these tips will read as a “how to be a healthy human” article. And that’s because as parents, it is SO common to prioritize the well being of our children and our home above our own well being.  When we add creative projects into the mix, this becomes even more true.  For more tips on actual creativity as a busy parent, see my other articles, linked below.

 Let’s dive in.

1. Take a daily walk, and eat regularly.

I am a big believer in a daily outdoor walk. Preferable alone. Why not indoors on a treadmill? Because this isn’t just about exercise. It’s about calming your spirit and resetting your mind. Even if it is just for 15 minutes, it will make a big difference for your well being, especially if you can go by yourself.

woman and children walking in a field

Eat regularly. Unfortunately, as moms, eating regular meals tends to be the first thing to go when we are busy. Who’s guilty on this? Definitely me. However, I am learning that not only are regular meals very important for things like my physical well being, and not losing tons of hair after having a baby, and having good quality sleep. It’s also important for simply being able to deal with all the things that life throws at us.

2. Try to prioritize sleep.

It’s amazing how much having an adequate amount of sleep can improve the way life seems. I can go from feeling like I am a complete failure and life sucks, to feeling like a superhero who loves everything about my life, simply from having a good night’s sleep after having been under-slept. Beware the perpetual under-sleeping syndrome - eventually, your body will stop giving you sleepy signals if you are consistently ignoring them. I got quite under slept during the two weeks of making this skirt, and trust me, I needed to take a break and catch up afterwards! Ideally, I would schedule things so that I am never pushed to have to skip sleep to finish projects.

woman sleeping

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff in your creative projects.

I learned this from my Dad and my brother. When I was finishing up high school, my older brother Robert was starting to build his own cabin in the woods. We both struggle with perfectionism, but Robert more so, and I remember my Dad giving him advice about perfectionism in creative projects. “When you are in the middle of a creative project, you have trained your brain to zoom in on the small details. Any mistakes you make at this stage can seem insurmountable because they are all you can see. However, chances are good that when you finish the project you will no longer notice those mistakes when you zoom out to see the big picture.” Good advice, and I have had to remember that in every one of my projects!

4. Try to get alone time. 

This is important, especially for moms who may be the primary caretaker of young children. Having had five children now, I have had postpartum experiences where I prioritized a daily nap or quiet time in my room, and those where I didn’t. Looking back, it is amazing how much those periods of daily alone or nap time in my room boosted my productivity and mental wellbeing! How this works for you is going to look different depending on your family dynamics, whether there is another parent at home, and how old your kids are. However, I think most kids can be taught to play quietly for half an hour to an hour each day so Mama can rest. There is usually nothing so important that it can’t wait for half an hour - and you will be more productive for the rest of the day if you take this time for yourself!

man sitting alone reading outside with sunset

5. Take a breather before you judge your finished projects.

I struggle with this - big time. In fact, in this very skirt project I actually cried upon finishing the skirt - in anger and regret at having ended up with a skirt shorter than I expected due to not being methodical enough during the hemming process. It happens. But we are so much more likely to judge our projects harshly if we try them on immediately upon finishing - when we are tired, and have not yet “zoomed out” our minds enough to judge things impartially and with grace. So take your judgements of your finished projects with a grain of salt, and try to always see the positive in your mistakes. No matter how something turns out, you always learned something on any given project. “From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success” and all that. Also, I try to view my mess ups as happy mistakes.

aerial view of woman twirling wearing red pleated skirt

Sometimes a mistake is just a mistake - but often, these mistakes actually turn out for the best. For instance, with my skirt hemming disaster, I am now glad the skirt turned out the length it did- being so bright and dramatic, I think a shorter length suits it better.

I hope these tips helped you! Please leave your own tips in the comments section below, and tell me your own stories of being creative as a parent!

If you found this information wildly helpful and informative and would like to thank me, consider "buying me a coffee" through one of the buttons throughout this article. Thanks! I appreciate it so much! Click here for the full list of sewing products I recommend. Click here for the full list of hair-care products I recommend. Click here for the full list of makeup and skincare products I recommend. I have personally used all of these products and can wholeheartedly recommend them to you. It also helps support this blog if you purchase anything through one of those links because I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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