Why We Don't Need More Super Fun Art Activities
Creative Family Living

Why We Don’t Need More Super Fun Art Activities

1.5K Shares

Why We Don't Need More Super Fun Art Activities

I’m doing totally the wrong thing.

I’ve been over here in my corner of the web jumping up and down, waving my arms, and telling you about fun new art project after fun new art project. Because I love doing them and love sharing them.

But you don’t need more art project ideas. Heck. I don’t need more art project ideas.

We are bombarded with new and exciting art ideas from all sides—Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, books, everywhere.

The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough fun ideas for kids art.

The problem is that we have too many.

Too many ideas and not enough time.

We are overwhelmed.

It’s not an art problem.

It’s a life problem.

It’s a 21st century society problem. A materialism problem. An overscheduled problem. A school and work and enrichment activities problem. A computer-in-everyone’s-pocket problem.

We have let our lives become so full, there’s no time for anything else.

No time for creativity.

Creativity needs breathing room. It needs space to just be. It needs unstructured time. Boredom even.

A little after-school stream play to go with our snack…

A photo posted by Jean Van’t Hul (@jeanvanthul) on

It needs time in nature watching the seasons change and throwing rocks into the stream.

Time to doodle. Time to explore and think and play. Time away from all the shoulds and structured activities.

How have we let our schedules get so full that we don’t have time for what matters?

And when I say we, I mean I. Maybe you, too. I don’t know. But definitely me.

Between school and homework and gymnastics and errands and birthday parties and getting dinner on the table, it feels like there is no time left.

And if there is, I don’t want to force fit art into that time. I want to let the kids have some breathing space.

Scribble Drawings with Watercolor Paint

And sometimes a low-key art activity helps provide that breathing space. We doodle together while we talk about school and friends. The kids make a game out of modeling air dry clay into silly figurines. Or they draw while I read aloud.

But more times than not these days, we’re just going from school to gymnastics, then home for dinner and homework and bedtime, and I think—Where did the day go?

And where did my ideal of childhood go?

The unscheduled days of play and nature, art and experimenting.

Maia’s in 5th grade now. Is this just what happens as kids get older? But it’s not like she’s a teenager. She only just turned 10.

So no, we don’t need more new art project ideas.

I feel like we need to reclaim our lives and make space for what matters. For unstructured time, play, creativity, and experimenting.

But how?

I’ve tried telling my daughter she doesn’t really have to do all her homework, but she feels pressure from school/teacher/peers/self to do so.

We only do one extracurricular and it’s something that Maia would seemingly choose to do all day, every day, over anything else in the world.

It’s not like I spend half the day cooking and cleaning, either. I’m more likely to pick up a rotisserie chicken or pizza for dinner.

Part of me wants to go live in a cabin in the woods and unschool, but I don’t really want to do that. I don’t want to run away.

So, what’s the answer?

Is there an answer?

Or is it that I just need to go with the flow and realize this is a new season for us?

47 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Carrie Rhoades
    October 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Wow, you really hit the nail on the head with this post! I’m not exactly sure what to comment but wanted to say thank you! You gave me something to think about, at the perfect time, just what I needed today.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Jill
      October 7, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Exactly what I was just going to say! I have been reading all your wonderful posts and hardly ever getting round to actually doing these wonderful creative things and feeling super stressed by life…this just helped so much…just hearing your words made me realise I want to change how we live so we are free to do these wonderful creative things and enjoy them without it being another missed thing on the to do list. Thank you xxx

      • Avatar
        Reply
        Jean Van't Hul
        October 10, 2015 at 5:58 pm

        Thank you so much, Jill! This is something I’ve been thinking about and feeling for a while now and I’m glad I finally said it (even though it’s freakin’ hard to admit to myself and the world) if it helps you realign with your values and how you want to live. Still working on it myself but life is just one long work in progress, right? :) XO

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      October 10, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you so much, Carrie! I read your comment and a few of the other right after I posted this and got so tearful that I couldn’t reply but better late than never, right?

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jodi
    October 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    “We only do one extracurricular and it’s something that Maia would seemingly choose to do all day, every day, over anything else in the world.”

    One thing I’ve had to remind myself of as my kids move from babies to toddlers to preschool and school age is looming before me so big and bright…My kids have a mind of their own. While it is good to help Maia find balance, perhaps its okay that she is choosing to fill her life with that extracurricular? I think you nailed it that it’s okay to go with the flow and the new season. As long as your not the one filling all of Maia’s empty spaces and she’s make the choices (with your support in helping her find that balance), it seems to me that you are doing just fine.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      October 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Thank you, Jodi! It feels good to hear that from someone else.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    kim
    October 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Goodness this is such a wonderful post!

    I feel so much pressure as a mother, a homeschool mother, a mother of children with special needs to DO MORE!

    But I don’t want to!

    I want some of the same things you mention for my children. The time to be. The time to read for hours. The time to look into my child’s eyes and really HEAR what he/she is saying.

    And I would like my pulse to slow down.

    I would like my children to remember their mother as someone who wasn’t harried and stressed, trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together. I would like them to remember me as the one who listened, who understood.

    I think you are on to something (and as the Artful Parent!) We don’t need MORE we need more deeply. Crayons and markers – doodling and talking can be enough. We can all say that in unison ENOUGH! And turn the tide for our families.

    I applaud you starting this conversation!

    xxxooooo

    Kim

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      October 10, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Yes, yes, yes! “We don’t need more. We need more deeply.” Love that! Thank you, Kim.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jenn Roberts
    October 6, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    I love this post so much! I think the issue is that we over-schedule because we’re trying to keep up with what everyone else does, and not necessarily because we are comparing ourselves to others, but because we’re always reading or being told what we SHOULD be doing with our kids. As mothers, we need to remember that we know our children best and we know what they truly need and don’t need in life. Meet those needs and then when time allows, add more in. That’s my take on it anyway ;)

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the blogger recognition award! You may have been nominated for this a million times already, but I just wanted to let you know that I think your blog is awesome and it has made an impact on my life! (I actually just found your blog itself, but I’ve been following you on fb for a while and love the tips you’ve shared!)

    You can read more about your nomination and about the award here: https://www.chaoticblisshomeschooling.com/2015/10/06/blogger-recognition-award

    Thanks for your inspiration!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Deborah
    October 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Resonates with me. There is so much abundance of activities that we feel like we are missing out if we don’t do it all. But children and adults need balance. Children have more time for planned artistic activities before school age. School work will introduce them to more and more in the world. And there is only so much time in each day. I think you are right to give unstructured time to be bored, decompress, mull over new ideas… you laid the groundwork for an art filled life. There will be an ebb and flow. Keep up the good work Mama!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Julie Liddle
    October 6, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Jean, i loved this post. It was so good to actually hear from YOU again! As one of your “original” followers, I have watched your babies grow up, and you are managing the balancing act as well as anyone. It’s a constant struggle. I will say this, based on my experience. If you plan to stay “in” the world of somewhat traditional school, it is a good thing for your tween to have found an interest outside of the home that she loves and that gives her something positive to associate with her identity. When kids transition to middle school they really, really need this. Otherwise they feel lost and it can make this already challenging age that much harder. We were very lax with my younger son because he craved down time after school. We listened to that perhaps to a fault during his elementary school years in that he never developed an interest and more importantly he never then established a community of one friend or a group of friends with whom to share an interest. 7th grade was devastatingly hard (socially and emotionally) as a result, and lo and behold, over the summer he found an activity to feel passionate about, and he is like a new man. I never thought i would be so happy to shuttle back and forth and disrupt the dinner hour as i am because he is so eager and motivated by his newfound interest. The world has opened up to him, he has an identity and feels part of something. Go figure! So that’s the other side of the coin. Note: i am still all about escaping to the woods for a respite whenever possible.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Seamingly Sarah
    October 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I read once that we should aim to be a family oriented household, not a school oriented household. Why does school seem to get in the way so much? I’ve thought the same things you have, the time is slipping away as my oldest gets older. I feel the pressure to homeschool, but don’t know if it’s the right thing to do or not. I hate indecision.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Carol
      October 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      just so you know, we homeschool and this is still a problem for us. Some of that is that this is how we are. In our case, parents with multiple passionate hobbies, kids with passionate hobbies = over-scheduling. That’s not necessarily everyone. Homeschooling does give us the freedom to learn from a more restful position, to be sure. But the pressure to be “doing all the things” for us now includes school time *and* after-school time. Some families manage this really well. Some of us are constantly stressed that we’re not offering a foreign language, that one child isn’t learning an instrument…etc etc etc. I love our choice and believe it was the right one for us right now, but those pressures are still very much a part of our life.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Sarah Willis
    October 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    You are so right. While it is amazing and empowering to have access to so many perspectives and ideas as a parent I think many of us end up feeling the sheer weight of their pressure.
    The fact is that you have the insight and are strong enough to say it – we all need to not lose sight of the need for a natural rhythm and also readjustment as our children grow.
    Your blog has enabled me to lay the foundations for an art infused life and equip my 3 year old daughter with the tools to express herself in so many ways – it is a pleasure to watch her creativity and enjoyment soar and without your inspiration and advice I would not have been enable her half as well. Keep up the good work and we will read your posts regardless of whether your have posted a new idea – your approach and philosophy is what keeps many of us reading.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Laura
    October 6, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I don’t have anything to add, but wanted to thank you for this post. My oldest is about to turn 4 and I’m so nervous about what the school years will bring. I’m interested in homeschooling, but I wonder if considering it is kind of muddying the waters and keeping me from having the “right” (or at least a more positive) mindset about what our days will look like when she goes off to school. I hate to think of losing all of our downtime, but is that just the season? I don’t know, either.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Miriam
    October 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I think about this a lot. I love the reflection and it’s probably hitting a few of us at the right time.

    Two things:

    1) Your site helps me curate what I want to do with my daughter and when I think I can do it.

    2) I’ve told many, many, many people that you make art accessible and non-threatening. I wish all the activities we do were like that.

    Creativity, to me, is really important – it’s the start of anything divergent, new and interesting. But there are lots of ways to tackle that topic and your blog is part of that – at least for me.

    I totally agree on the homework bit, btw. As a reading specialist, I think it’s really important for parents to decide what’s right for their kids and family lives. You’ll find that space and your kiddos will too.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Christina
      October 12, 2015 at 6:22 am

      Just to add to Miriam’s post, the Artful Parent is my ‘go to’ spot for some creativity when I need a boost but don’t have time! I just fill up my creativity bucket by looking to the art ideas and Jean’s gorgeous photos. it’s also taken me ages to realise that I was looking to satisfy my own creative needs, not my child’s, often I just pick things to do for myself and if he wants to join in that’ s fantastic too. that has taken a lot of the stress out of art activities at home for me.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Janell
    October 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    This has been on my mind since I read a post on another blog extolling the beauty of “unscheduled” time. Her “unscheduled” time was a trip to the park with several families, a prepared set of park games, and a picnic. It made me wonder how our family style will change as my children grow older.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Bar
    October 6, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I feel you in this Jean, I am right there with you. As I am writing this art book, sometimes i think…you don’t need these ideas, all you need is to spend time with them when they are little. That’s it. Because as they grow, their lives get filled up and soon there is no time for even a a meal together. I get all of my bonding time in at bedtime, and if i am itching for them to do something creative, i have to catch them alone on the weekend which is rare. I have no answers…just wanted to let you know that I am with you.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Kristin Maxom
    October 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Oh Hell, yes! Thanks for acknowledging your thoughts on this. I fight against over stimulation constantly and find that art brings us back to a calming point in our (especially my) day. It’s hard to sometimes not want to go bigger and better with projects though so I appreciate your views on this. It’s also encouraging to know that I’m not alone in rejecting over stimulation and how much more beneficial *time* is to creativity. As always- thank you! xok

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Veronica
    October 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Love the message and reminder. Great points.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Anna
    October 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    A really thought provoking post and so relevant in todays busy world. As a teacher and a mummy balance is a constant point of consideration. What I have realised is that I can’t always be there to share/ provide these experiences to my own children but as long as they get time and a chance to explore independently it is ok. Also, as a teacher, I know I can provide experiences of the natural world, the seasons and to a certain extent time for my school children who wouldn’t be exposed to such things in their home life – skills and process also become important, rather than an end product so they can take these and apply them to all parts of their life and future experiences – this is greatly rewarding and a pleasure to do so. As for ideas – “more is less” as stated in a poem “Andrea deal Sarto” by Robert Browning. However everyone has different needs and interests so a wealth of ideas is often needed to give something to individuals in the masses.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Amber Underwood
    October 6, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Love this article. In my experience (I currently have a Senior daughter & 5th grade son) I think creativity comes in many forms, not just Art. Although that’s my favorite!! I had to learn this while my daughter put down the paintbrush but picked up the clarinet, only to dismiss that in highschool but decided to be a cheerleader. My son who loves Art also loves stories, specifically telling them. We take turns for hours “filling in the blanks” in any given thought filled story.

    Any chance you can give or support your child in self expression I feel is giving them oppurtunity for creativity.

    So play, laugh, paint, sing, or dance as long as your enjoying & expressing yourself creatively:)!!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Noreen
    October 6, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Jean, I couldn’t agree more! I always joke about moving to a log cabin in Montana but that’s obviously not realistic. It’s a topic I feel so strongly about and just wrote a 3-series post about, which really resonated with my readers. https://www.entangledharmony.com/a-simple-childhood-in-a-complex-world-part-1/

    And YES, it’s possible to slow down and savor the little moments along the way, that make our children’s lives and our lives so much richer.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Brigitte
    October 6, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Whoah! You really hit the nail on the head with this one and it seems like you’ve certainly touched others like you’ve touched me. Yes, yes, yes!!! It’s been a growing concern for me but I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly but oh boy, you got it! My daughter has only just turned four and this is already happening even though she doesn’t start kindergarten ’til next year. It’s nice to know you’re human too. It does make me feel a little better to know people like you who seem to have it all worked out, grapples with trying to keep everything “running” as well as trying to fit in what you love. I’m an artist but never seem to have the time for that and just fit it in where I can by doing arts and crafts with my daughter. THERE. IS. JUST. NO. TIME. ANYMORE! I’ve even cut back on my blogs and kept my fav’s (like yours) so that I don’t spend half my life on the computer (and look at them as I eat breakfast). Yep, nature is definitely the key! We have lots of nature based playgrounds around here so it’s where we’re having a group catch up today. I’m going to ride my bike as it’s a perfect time of year to do so before it gets into the blistering Summer. Gotta make the most of it. And then of course, as soon as we do that (get out in nature), we come back to our homes inspired with ideas to draw and craft. Thank you for helping me feel normal again. Fantastic post!!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jul
    October 6, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Great post. I agree with everything you’ve written. My daughters are 11 & 13 (6th & 8th grades) & I long for the days when they were toddlers (however when they were toddlers I was wanting to fast forward to when they were more independent). This morning my oldest left for school at 7 for a Student Council meeting, school started at 7:50, she had an after school/at school activity from 3-4, then I picked up both my daughters & we went directly to church where I teach my 11-year-old’s religious education class. My 13 year-old ate dinner at church while I taught religious education since she went back to school at 5:30 for a movie event for her Social Studies class. The movie was over at 9, so once she go home (9:15), she put on her jammies & went to bed. Her comment to me “as soon as I get home from school tomorrow, I’m going to crash on my bed & relax”. She didn’t get a chance to do her homework (Science worksheet), so I told her we’d work on that together while she eats breakfast tomorrow morning. Yes, she probably should do it independently but I’m giving her a break (she’ll do 1 question, I’ll do 1 question, etc.) since she was gone from 7 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. today. For the longest time I keep on telling myself I just want to find a balance. Both of my girls has some special needs–visual processing, sensory integration, so that impacts our daily lives too. I’m blessed to be their mom, but many times I feel like I’ve let them down because we don’t do all the things I think we should (pretty much everything you’ve mentioned in your post–outside time, quiet time, reading, music–my girls love music, get our bodies moving, homework, life skills/chores, etc. Technology takes a toll, but I do feel a connection to certain blogs (yours being one). I tell myself I need to set a timer when I’m doing my social media/blog reading, but I tend not to because I think I use social media/blog reading as an escape, but I tell myself there’s something new I might learn. The thing that I hear myself telling my girls the most — how they need to create a schedule/routine/list so they know what needs to be done is the same advice I should follow for myself. A schedule doesn’t mean my life will automatically be balanced, but it’s a baby step in the right direction (or at least I hope so). Thanks for writing from your heart in this post.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Alice @ Mums Make Lists
    October 7, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Such a beautiful post Jean and definitely one we’re struggling with. As much as the weather allows here in London we’ve just been trying to take as much as we can outside – we’re even doing homework in the park when we can – to give ourselves as much chance as possible just to wander and roam and see what happens.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Crystal @ Fine Art Mom
    October 7, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Wow – that’s the best thing I’ve read in a really long time. Thank you for putting it out there and really being true to what is happening to each and every one of our lives.

    I couldn’t agree more!! Creativity needs it’s own place in our daily lives and it’s not jammed in 15 minutes between other activities – it needs space to breath and just be. No time limit on how long it’s allowed to stay. Maybe it wants to hang out for 10 minutes or all day long – we just need to let it.

    :)

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Cristal
    October 7, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Questions of balance are always hard and I’m convinced that the right mix changes as life goes on. I’m sure you’ll rebalance.

    For what it’s worth, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I only discovered you recently, but something about your projects and the little glimpses into your family life inspires me to play with art like I have not done in years. I’m using my daughter as an excuse — kid art feels more free — but really, it’s for me too.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Ann
    October 7, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I have thought and thought about this since yesterday. I don’t have any answers. As a mom of 3 children, I am constantly trying to find that balance. It sounds like a lot of us are and I love hearing that I am not alone in the struggle. I love your blog and some of the other art blogs that I read. What I love is that when I read your blog I remember how wonderful and fun creating with my children is. I have a daughter in high school, but even she has benefited as I have strewn art activities or just made supplies available. I have remembered that I use to create and they will now see mom enjoying her own simple moments of creativity. Your blog resonates the wonderful message that family time, creativity, learning, and expanding in simple ways can be interwoven in each day. I believe that it is those simple, small moments that make a difference. I love the ideas you post! We can pick which ones work for us and try them and we have loved it! Thank you!!! I think you are doing an amazing job!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Sarah H
    October 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I needed this today – we have a new baby in our lives who is taking up so much of my time which as equated to less art projects for the girls. They do get the outdoor creative play which is wonderful, but they do crave the hands on art stuff too. It is a new season for us and I’m still trying to figure it all out.
    Thank you for writing this piece. It hits home.

    Sarah

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jenny
    October 8, 2015 at 11:32 am

    This is bold and honest of you to share with your book and blog so popular. I like it. I’m guilty of looking at blogs and questioning my parenting and comparing myself to other amazing moms and women. So your post is really a gift to us as others have said. Thank you.
    My other thought on this is that it’s okay to live full, busy lives with fun activities and lots of adventures. As long as we focus our attention right down to the minute during what ever activity we may be doing alone or with our kids.
    Yesterday after work I took my kids, daughter 6 and son 3, for our weekly science night on a trail. My son picked up every single acorn on the trail and moved at a snail’s pace. My goal was to get them to the stream at the bottom of the hill. I had to remind myself a dozen times how special it must be to see the same acorns or mushrooms or leaves on the same trail we’ve seen before but see it as a new special treasure as he was doing. What a gift and reminder for me.
    They’ve taught me to keep my eyes open and zero in on every lesson life has to offer be it a quiet gentle lesson or a loud exiting one.
    By the way, I think your “invitations to art” pretty much sums up your technique and wishes all in one. Offer but don’t force. I think you’ve been doing it right all along.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    angela fransen
    October 8, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you for your post Jean, and I so agree with your thoughts. We are actually in the implementation phase of this
    ‘not going to do it all’ lifestyle, and its silly how hard it is. My children are 6 and 3, and the only way this is working is to continue to build relationships with families that are choosing to do less, as we are. Because they are the only ones home to actually play and run outside after school. They are the only ones around on Saturday when we decide for an impromptu barbecue or lunch on the front steps. I also get the ‘comparison mommies’ who just can’t handle it — the ‘not’ doing things. But I am seeing a difference. I see the creativity blooming and blossoming because of the TIME we have to let that happen. It may not be the same choices we are able to make year after year, but this little experiment is teaching me far more than I expected to learn!

    Bless you! :)

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Bev
    October 9, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I homeschool my three kids and couldnt imagine the number of hours spent daily in school taking a chunk out of our family/creative/dreaming/exploring/doing nothing time. Even so, we are constantly seeking to simplify to ensure that we’re spending our lives on the things most important. I love the idea of gardening, for example. The self sustaining, getting hands in the dirt, making things grow and eating healthy food aspect of it. A few years ago, my hubby and i took a long hard look at the amount if time the big gardens were taking, the feeling of obligation that often went with working in the garden and realized we’d much prefer more time to follow our individual desires and be relaxing with the family. The idea of gardening was great and a philosophical fit but the doing it was another matter! So no more garden (for a time). Till it feels like a real clear YES. Its been three summers without a garden now and after the first one, there wasnt a doubt in my mind that it was the right decision. Its hard to stay clear about whats right for me and my kids and to sometimes say no to a good thing because its not the right time. But i think its key to stay as conscious as possible when making decisions that impact our time as a family.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jennifer
    October 10, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Have you read “Project-Based Homeschooling” by Lori Pickert? The whole premise of the book is very much along the lines of your thoughts. It’s not about giving or leading kids through projects. It’s about giving them materials, then stepping back and allowing them to create and learn on their own terms under their own motivation. This book is an EXCELLENT read and I think you will be very excited by how much you resonate with the book’s advice!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    SK
    October 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you Jean and everyone else for sharing their stories. I would highly recommend checking out Brooke McAlary’s website: Slow your Home.

    She has a podcast channel where her guests who have been successful at slowing down and simplifying share their stories. Her blogposts from the past few years are also immensely helpful. She also has a few booklets for free download and a few for purchase that were useful for me.

    I just wanted to share with you all what has helped me slow down and learn to live mindfully, which has made room for creativity but more importantly made a lot of breathing space.

    I also have the “i wanna move to a cabin in the woods” urge. In my case, it would be somewhere in rural Ontario, but I’m not brushing it off as unrealistic yet. I’m still hoping it will happen one day!!!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    This girl loves to talk
    October 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Your not alone. I used to run a small mothers group/bit of art on the side.We could do art half the day when the kids were younger before they started school. When they did I made my kids to do art in the afternoons after school when they were little… then I started to have to force it as they grew older (they were tired, hungry, wanted computer, read, homework etc) that we then basically stopped most art. I was kinda sad. I used to browse your website and many others always looking for new ideas, but I thought maybe that in itself was a form of overscheduling. We rarely do art now but when they are interested they are interested (cornstarch christmas ornaments this week, and my 9 year old asked grandma to teach her to knit, now me to crochet, I’ve just make a blackboard and we are getting interested in chalk art)

    All to say I hear you. I was in your spot a few years ago as my kids grew past that 10 year old stage and become less interested.

    I think its also ok to realise sometimes you blog ideas that YOU DONT PERSONALLY USE. I seems like lying but if its part of your job its ok. I used to idolise some party planner blogs then I would see what they actually did for real parties (and although great and pretty there were lower key that what they blog) at first I was like pffttt… then I realise we all have similar lives. Kids grow up, times for life change. Season and all :)

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Molly
    October 11, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Hi Jean,
    I admit, it has been a while since I’ve actually come over and read on the blog – life is so busy, as you say. Even now, trying to post this comment from my pocket computer, I keep getting interrupted by life. I still love following your wonderful pictures – and frankly that is all I need right now, a little visual inspiration to inspire creativity. But when Julie said you had written this great post, I wanted to see it – I miss the days of reading through your writing! Maybe it is because we were going through everything at about the same time (how can the biggest girls be 9 & 10?!), but i don’t think that was it entirely. I always felt like you knew exactly what I was thinking about and hoping to make happen in our home. I know we haven’t met in person, but I’m so happy to have been there along the way as a friend, albeit virtually. Thank you for keeping The Artful Parent alive and well and for sharing with all of us. xo, molly

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jude Ritchie
    October 12, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you Jean, for an amazingly brave and real blog, I just had to ‘read more’. I too have lists and lists of to-dos and truly desire not to like under this, but to live in the freedom we can have.. Thank you :-)

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Paula
    October 13, 2015 at 5:35 am

    You don’t really need anymore comments but I couldn’t help but say thank you for describing so perfectly what I think many – and certainly me – feel daily. There is too much, too much of everything and not enough ‘down-time, space’ etc. Good luck on your journey. I’m on one too :)

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Lindsey
    October 18, 2015 at 12:41 am

    This post really resonated with me. I feel the same way; I wonder each evening where the day went. I feel as if I’m not living the life I dreamed of when I had children, not my ideal. We don’t do a lot of extras either, but just doing the basics seems to suck all the time out of our days. I feel guilty when I read blogs about fun activities to do with my kids and then never get around to doing them. So, I loved reading your thoughts. I think for me the key is to do what works. Keep it simple; drawing with colored pencils after school is really no less artistic than an elaborate art project that takes lots of time to prepare and clean up. A time and a season for everything I guess, but sometimes I really miss the days when I first started reading your blog when I want a new mom of a toddler and the days seemed endless and I was always looking for ways to fill them.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Joss
    November 2, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I loved this. That lack of breathing room, the firehose of must-do ideas, the bulging checklist (even if it’s al stuff I really want to do), the feeling that there’s no time for detours or mistakes – it seems the same things that ruin travel wreck regular life too.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Tabitha
    January 30, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Bless your heart!! I totally hear you!! I’m thinking I need to write a post along the same vein–we need simpler, easier. Aaaahhh, you’re a breath of fresh air. New seasons are hard to adjust to! Mine are 10 and 6 and not so little anymore…but still little, you know? I’m excited to see where you go next :) Thank you for your honesty!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Sara
    February 28, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I love your honesty here. My two cents? You have an awareness here, just keep that going. Be conscience and aware of how it feels to be too busy. That can guide your choices in the future to be aligned with your vision of childhood, home, and life. It looks different for each of us, but usually if it feels like too much, it is. That’s why we have discomfort. It is there to teach us something and if we get quiet with ourselves and listen to that do discomfort and allow it to reach us, we can shift things back into alinmemt. Love your blog and this post!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Kristen
    February 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    I think it’s a constant battle. But, as long as you are making an effort…

    I talked to my kids today about how we “spoil” them differently. They don’t have too much technology. We do provide home cooked meals, family time, and try to follow curiosities. My boy said, that’s not spoiling…that’s what every kid should have. I’m glad they’re accepting our alternative lifestyle…we live in Orange County, California. Life here is the rat race. We’ve stepped off the track. But…it’s a daily battle to keep our home sane.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Ashley at Createful Art
    March 1, 2016 at 3:50 am

    I know what you mean about a bazillion fun art projects! lol! Although honestly the more the merrier, right?

    Time is a tough one, and I agree that we need to slow down and kids need the time to be creative. The solution is changing our education system so that kids don’t come home with school work. Home should be a place to spend with family and learn as a family- not be separated from each other and focused/over-whelmed with school. Learning is so different now, it really has changed from life learning to book smart learning, and I wish I could become President and change the that, lol…I am a little passionate about it. But I can change it for my family, I suppose.

    I call the stage your daughter is entering the Explorer Stage, you can follow my website link to learn more. The exciting thing is she is going to learn a lot about herself and what she is passionate about.

    I hope you find time for some happy creating,

    Take Care,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1.5K Shares
Share1.4K
Pin99