TV, mothering, and sewing

Am I the only sewing mom  who puts her kid in front of the TV so she can grab some sewing time? 

It seems that way. I was on Flickr today and saw Elsie Marley’s discussions of the day for Kids Clothing Week Challenge when I saw this question:
When do you find the time to sew? When your children are napping, etc?

Most of the answers were like this: 
“I sew after the children are tucked away in bed” 
“I sew during naptime.”
” I sew when my kids are in school.”

Here is what I  answered.
I plop my kid in front of the TV, or let her roam around the house and do whatever for a few hours, as long as she doesn’t burn the house down, and I sew and design.
Then I jump on the trampoline with her before rushing to try to make the house somewhat presentable and I have to go and pick up the other kids.

Oh, and I try to fit in a trip to the gym with her too in the mornings so I don’t completely fall apart. She plays with kids at the baby sitting room there and does some art while I work on my biceps..

Yes, I do sound like a crappy mom to some people I’m sure. Self- centered, selfish, etc.

The truth is my 17 year old and 18 year old watched a lot of TV when they were little too. But I took them to museums and concerts and trips too, and now my oldest is on his way to University at Berkeley in January so I guess his brain cells ended up OK.

You do what you have to do when you are a mom to stay sane and do things that make you happy.
Like sewing clothes or excercising or whatever.
Your kids will learn that you have things to do that are important to you and that you value your creative time enough to make it apart of your everyday life.

I’ll admit I felt rather guilty when I read those other answers and thought about mine.

But as moms, we have enough stuff to worry about, don’t we?

It’s not like I’m giving Honey Boo GOGO Juice!

If you are one of my readers from outside the US , Google the TV show Here comes Honey Boo.
The strangeness of American culture has yet to be fathomed.

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  1. says

    Wow, I could have written that! I used to feel bad about it, but I just try and keep it balanced and we are all good. My kids are very independent so I’d be just watching them play anyway. That’s how I picked up sewing – my kids needed me way less and I was twiddling my thumbs. No shame in it!

    Jess @ tupelo creative

  2. Caroline says

    I think it’s about finding a happy compromise for everyone. I’m not adverse to plonking my kids in front of the TV when I want to sew (hey – yesterday I was so desperate I went and got some dvds)

    I try not to do it too much though. My kids have the potential to be absolute TV addicts

  3. Beverly says

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one! Of course, I didn’t sew much when the kids were little, but if all of these creative blogs like yours had been around (or if I had known about them at the time), I think I would have done a lot more sewing. As it is, I am starting to sew some things for my 12 yr old daughter, but she is certainly more picky about what she will wear now than she would have been as a toddler!

  4. says

    You’re not the only one. Granted, I’m a part-time mom. I mother my brother’s kids while he and his wife go to work to support them. But my sewing area is in the living room where I can keep an eye on things, and my mother is here, too, so the girls aren’t lacking in attention…. but I can still sew. And usually, my projects are things for them to wear. It started with the older one, Grace, when she was getting too tall for the size that fit her. Generally speaking, fives fit at the moment, but sixes are long enough. It was worse when she was younger–she was wearing fours for length when twos fit! So a chunk of their wardrobes are “Aunt-Laura-Loves-Me” clothes.

    My sewing and the girls “helping” (believe it or not, the seventeen-month-old loves to get her hands on the pins (which rarely happens) so she can hand them to me one at a time to put in my project!) has led to their own interest in it, so much that I’m currently looking for a hand-crank, toy sewing machine for them. I’m not crazy enough to give them a powered one, but a kid powered! 🙂

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Great comment, Bratling! My sewing area is in the dining room too, where I can see everything goingon. If I was shut up in a sewing room somewhere, things would probably really burn down!

  5. kristin says

    oh i do that too sometimes. and i was one of the “bedtime/naptime” sewing commenters in the flickr group. here’s the thing, though – i work at an office 32 hours a week. i’m home with my 22 month old one day during the week and my daughter is in school, but he likes to climb all over me if i try to sew while he’s awake. however, he’s a good napper and my kids go to bed at 7:30. so while there have been times where i’ve put the TV on to grab sewing time (yesterday, for example – i’d picked my daughter up and was working to finish a project for KCWC so i could get photos in the evening), it’s just more often that naptime/bedtime is when i’m home and they don’t need active mothering (dinner/baths/bedtime). my mom used to sew with us playing in her sewing room, or with each other somewhere else in the house, or watching TV. i see nothing wrong with doing that! it just doesn’t work for me right now since i’m not a SAHM. i agree it’s important for kids to see their mothers creating and doing what they love, and we shouldn’t hide the process from them!

  6. says

    I never sew when Norah (almost 3) is awake, because she has the attention span of a fruit fly (so no interest in watchinh tv) and refuses to do anything for more than 3 minutes without my attention and presence. It’s great that your kids can entertain themselves – if I had kids like that, I would totally put them in front of a tv in order to be able to sew! No reason to feel guilty!

  7. Cody Doll says

    I am not a mom but I do have to say I am surprised that your child sits in front of the TV (not that I am against it). I just remember being younger and wanting to go and see everything. I also into my mother sewing stuff. I think that some mothers (or people) forget that it is okay to let their child be independent and let them do what they want, as you do what you want. I think that your child will be just find and learn later in life that she needs you but she can depend on herself too. At least that it is what I think.

    Thanks for sharing,

  8. says

    Hee hee, you make me laugh. Hey, you’re honest, and I bet a lot of those moms aren’t really being truthful. I did my share of TV time with the kids as well.

  9. Jenny says

    You shouldn’t feel bad. I wait for my toddler to go to sleep at night just because it’s impossible to get anything constructive done when he’s awake… not because I’m a better mother. I’m sure he will have some tv time when he’s old enough to stay calm for that long!

  10. Marie says

    I think it sounds to me that you have a good balance going on, you need to keep yourself happy and sane for your children’s sake too. And a little bit of telly never hurt anyone ;o)

  11. says

    Don’t feel guilty, happy mothers, make better mothers. I did the same thing when my kids were little, I found most of the time they were more interested in what I was doing and they developed an interest in sewing. Both my girls are attending college full time, and are well adjusted and would love to sew more, but time doesn’t allow it right now.

  12. Becky (My Fabric Obsession) says

    You arent a bad mother! I try to do this but my daughter gets “lonely” in the family room and always comes to find me. sometimes i’ll let her play games on the computer (which is in the sewing room) so i can sew. Thats just as bad! haha. and seriously, wth is up with honey boo boo? I refuse to watch such craziness!!

  13. Lil' Bit and Nan says

    I thought I was the only bad mom who plopped my kid in front of the television. Anti-depressants can only help me so much of getting through the day sane. Sewing and working out calms me and puts me in a better mood for playtime with my daughter. To each their own. – Bethany

  14. Sustainably Modern says

    There are a LOT of right ways to raise a kid; although there are some who think their way is the only right way. My kids play on the floor while I sew. They’ll play with anything; a scrap of fabric, spool of thread, one of their trucks, ….

  15. Emily says

    I appreciate your honesty and humor. Most of my sewing happens at night (which isn’t always the best b/c I make more mistakes when I’m tired ha) b/c my daughter has a short attention span. I do let her play on the computer next to me sometimes to get some sewing in.

  16. Anonymous says

    Don’t we all? I suspect those Mums that only wait till the kids sleep, are fibbing a bit… either that or they’re blessed with kids that take really long naps;-)


  17. Bri says

    Now I’m not a mom but I don’t see anything wrong with putting your kid in front of the tv for a bit so you can have some you time. You need you time if you’re going to be in any shape to stay sane while raising children as far as I’ve seen so please don’t feel guilty, everyone does things differently and we could all benefit by remembering not to compare ourselves to others but by our own standards. Plus your eldest as you’ve said has obviously turned out great, or at least smart 😉

    I live in Canada but I’ve seen ads for Honey Boo boo and it looks insane….

  18. says

    I understand your dilemma. Although my kids are parents themselves now I have my sewing place in the kitchen area. That ment that i could be there around them all the time. And my dughter when she was small had a little sewing machine (toy one ) on which she tried to make dolls clothing. And when the grandcild came, she sat on the table whilst i did my sewing and she made all sorts of presents from the material scraps. I managed and they managed!!

    Don’t feel guilty. Thank you for sharing.

  19. says

    No you sound like a fabulous mom. Your child is learning that while you spend quality time with her, you also need quality time for yourself. Moms are about more than cooking and cleaning for them. When I was in high school, in a family studies class, the teacher had us write a description of our mothers. Then we had to state whether we thought our mothers were happy. All names were removed and we had to sort them. What we learned is that a) a lot of children only know their mothers by her role (OR, a lot of women give up thier identities when they become mothers) and b) that mothers with defined interests seemed happier to their children.

  20. Laura says

    My kids love to watch TV or play on their ipads, they also love to color and create or run around like lunatics. I think that our society is going through a “be the ultimate Mom” phase and I don’t bother trying to keep up. My house definitely isn’t a “looks like the pictures on Pinterest” one 😉 I believe that kids are important members of a family, but not the center of that family’s universe. We do fun kid things some days, other days we do what the adults want to do. Hopefully that little bit of extra TV time while Mommy sews will help my kiddos to not grow up to have the incredibly strong sense of entitlement so many adults have right now in our society. I don’t think it is in a child’s best interests to teach them they should always have what they want and Mommy lives to serve and then throw them out there as adults to figure out that the rest of the world doesn’t operate that way 😉

  21. Merche Martinez says

    This post is so funny! We all do that but we won´t admit to it. Well now you mention it, yes! I do that, I feel guilty, then go out with them to the park to wash away that guilt (1 hour tops) then back home if I´m in a sewing fit! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I won´t feel as bad anymore

  22. says

    I think a lot of moms on the internet are full of crap. They can say whatever they want about offering their child creative play times and extremely limited “fun” and homemade juice and all natural this and that and no refined sugary snacks. Give me a break. Hell, yes, I gave my kids leftover pizza and the occasional hot dog for breakfast. I have given my boys a shot of coffee in the morning when they were fussy and too sleepy to cooperate with getting ready. I even spanked them on a rare instance. I definitely threatened to beat them at least once a day.
    But they were always good at church and at the store and I never ever had to worry about them being punks or bullies or problem children. My oldest is grown and has a great job, my youngest is still homeschooled and one of the smartest people I know.
    And yes, they did watch a lot of television and did play a lot of video games.

  23. Miss Sews-it-all says

    Well, you are not alone. I have a TV and a box of toys downstairs where my sewing room is, and sometimes I plop my tot right there and she’ll self-entertain for an hour or two while I sew.

    There seems to be a LOT of pressure for creating “curriculum” or educational activities and programs for small children these days. My personal philosophy is that there is plenty of time for learning, and having a little TV or simple play time now and then isn’t going to kill any brain cells. And, by the way, if one more person asks me what the “curriculum” is at my tot’s pre-school, I’m going to scream. She’s three, and the “curriculum” is playing in order to learn social structure with other children and adults!

  24. mjb says

    Thanks for being honest! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only mom who doesn’t have a screen free house! I’m on maternity leave with a toddler and we watch plenty of tv. I can’t sew while he’s up because he hears the machine and wants to sit in my lap, but I’ll cut fabric or trace patterns while he’s up. I can’t figure out safe ironing either yet. But I try to do my chores while he’s awake so I can sew as soon as both kids are sleeping.

  25. mjb says

    Thanks for being honest! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only mom who doesn’t have a screen free house! I’m on maternity leave with a toddler and we watch plenty of tv. I can’t sew while he’s up because he hears the machine and wants to sit in my lap, but I’ll cut fabric or trace patterns while he’s up. I can’t figure out safe ironing either yet. But I try to do my chores while he’s awake so I can sew as soon as both kids are sleeping.

  26. says

    I take back everything bad I said or thought about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I just watched the whole season and I am hooked. Sure, it might have killed off a few brain cells…I probably didn’t need them anyway. I know why they gave her a show. She is the only pageant kid that is not an evil little spoiled rotten turd dressed in sparkles with a neurotic mother. I loves me some Honey Boo Boo and Company. And I will accept the consequences cuz I DO redneckognize…

  27. says

    I am guilty of the same thing. I have a 2 year old who isn’t in school. I am exhausted when he goes to bed and I want to rest or work on my blog while he is napping. It leave me in the same predicament. So i sew while he is awake and playing on the floor by me or watching tv. I completely agree… I need to do this to stay sane. I have 13- 14 hour days with just the 2 of us. I am a better mom when i take a sewing break.

  28. says

    I will be totally plopping my girl in front of the TV so I can get stuff done. She is only seven months so that doesn’t work so well right now. She does watch TV but she also gets into something if I leave the room. My husband and I were both raised by television and we turned out pretty awesome if you ask me.

  29. Kat @ says

    Ahem, I haven’t read the other comments yet but, honey, you are preaching to the choir! I don’t think I’d get a single stitch done with Sephira around without Yo Gabba Gabba on Netflix. I would dedicate my entire sewing year to him lmao. I honestly want a tv for my sewing room so that my girls can watch and be close by at the same time! I get some sewing done when the little one naps but that’s usually when Azy comes in insisting on sitting in my lap for the next indefinite amount of time. And yeah, letting them wander around? Totally do that too and man oh man do they make a mess. I always pay for letting them be free spirits hahaha. I would NEVER claim to be mother if the year, and the house is perpetually messy despite our best efforts. But my kiddos are super affectionate and happy and imaginative and I don’t think they are becoming drones due to their television intake. I take tons of breaks to coddle them and my husband helps when he is home. If I didn’t let them entertain themselves as the case would be then I’d never sew. I love your answer and kiddos for your honesty Justine!!!

  30. says

    This is great. Thanks for being honest. I hate giving up nap time and I’m too brain dead by then to sew. This is a better plan! I embrace it. 🙂