{Introducing Time For Mama: Creative Playtime for Moms!}

To coincide with Mother's Day this month, I am SO excited to announce a new feature here on the Mama Pea Pod blog: Time for Mama is all about mothers finding some 'me time' and embracing their own creativity!

As mothers of young children, we all know that finding time to truly relax and unwind is both essential and elusive. Even when the opportunity does arise, it can be difficult to truly take advantage of it and really immerse ourselves in it. (I know I usually spend any 'me time' constantly making mental lists of all the things I 'really should be doing' instead!)

For me, one of the best ways to truly unwind is through creative projects - whether crafting or blogging, making things for my kids or myself, engaging in creative activities is a wonderful stress-reliever. It keeps me focused on something fun and engages my mind just enough to force me to stop making mental lists. I can immerse myself in my project (mostly) guilt-free -- perhaps partly because at the end I have a product to show for that time spent.

Therefore, in an attempt to bring more balance to my life (and yours, should you decide to join me), I am trying to commit to spending regular time on my own creative 'play'time - and I challenge you to do the same! Mother's Day is just around the corner - what better way to celebrate and show appreciation of the role of mothers everywhere than to allow ourselves some playtime of our own? After all, not only do we deserve it, we need it - for our health and for our families!

So on the 1st of every month I will be featuring a guest post from a creative mama with a 'me-time' project for you to try. To get us started, I have a wonderful guest post from Katie of The Artful Child to share with you and hopefully inspire you to take up this challenge, too. Katie and her friends have started a craft group as their way to enjoy some creative playtime! And be sure to check back in tomorrow for May's Time for Mama: Creative Playtime for Moms post!

So, who's in??

Time for Mama: Craft Groups

by Katie @ The Artful Child

Being a Mom is the most wonderful job in the world, but I think we can all agree, it can also be pretty frustrating and isolating at times.

To be a good Mom, at least for me, it is important to keep my mental health in check. If I am feeling balanced, I feel a lot more motivated to do projects with my girls and not get frustrated if they don’t go as planned.

Being a Mom of young children, also leaves little time to work on projects around the house (at least any that aren’t child safe).

Then, my friend, Rachel, suggested a wonderful solution! (Thanks Rachel!) We started a craft group!!

This time with friends, to sit and talk about our kids, lives, gossip, whatever, is exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries!! I can have a conversation, without being interrupted, and I can work on things I’ve been wanting to try or do, but haven’t found the time to do them.

The great thing about creating a group with friends is you can set it up however works best for you.

Here is an example of two different types of craft groups.

The first is a group I belong to. We call ours Glitterazzi (Awesome name, I know! Thanks Beth!). We get together on a set day and time, the 2nd and 4th week of the month (Man, I long for those days!).  We meet at the same house each week (Thanks Lori!), because she has an awesome space for us to meet in, but you could just as easily rotate your meeting place.

We take turns leading a short tutorial each meeting. Usually, it’s something we found on pinterest. We have made fabric flowers, paper garland, button holes, reverse appliqué, alcohol tiles, crochet, t-shirt bags…

We try to limit our tutorials to inexpensive projects made from items we all probably have lying around the house.

After our tutorial, we each work on whatever project we have brought with us that evening.
It is so nice to sit there with friends and talk!

This is not a time for complicated crafts, because most of the time we don’t get much done. It is not about out-doing anyone or showing off. It is about relaxing and having a good time with friends.

My second example is a group some of my other friends started. They are learning to sew together. They meet once a week and take an online sewing class. A while back, they all decided they really wanted to learn, so they decided to learn together. They have made some amazing stuff! I only wish I lived closer, so I could join in!

Whatever your passion, I highly recommend getting some friends together and starting your own group. It is a real life saver!

Here are some quotes from my fellow crafters:

 “Sewing group is a great way to recharge at the end of the week. We have so much fun learning, screwing up, and being goofy together. I do have to admit that as much as I like learning new things about sewing, I really just love hanging out with my friends http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/images/blank.gif I would recommend a craft group to all moms, no matter their craftiness level. It's like getting to have a girl's night out every week and we actually make something in the process.” ~Lindsay

“We only meet every other week, so the time commitment is minimal; it gives me a few hours away from the husband and kids where I can socialize and try out some of the crafts that I want to try, but don't have time to try at home. It sort of forces you to tap into your inner crafter and put the laundry and dishes aside for a moment, which is something that I have a difficult time doing as a mom of a toddler and an infant. Craft night has also provided me an opportunity to meet some amazing women. I've already learned so much from these ladies and it's spurred me to try out some other crafts I've been hesitant about.” ~Wendy

Sewing group is my sanity! As a mom we give so much of ourselves to our children, and do so much for them, that we often forget to do something for ourselves. I do sewing class for ME. Not the kids, not the hubs, but for myself. I enjoy making things, and do lots of crafts with my kids, but I don't always make time to do projects that I want to do. Having a group that meets once a week, or every other week, ensures that I put myself first occasionally. I don't have to be "Mom" for those couple of hours. Plus, chatting with friends and a little wine (rather than a lot of whine) really does help me relax and keep me sane. ~Kim

The Artful Child