SAHD with KA

That stands for Stay At Home Dad with Kitchen Aid – and honestly, in my books, that’s about as sexy as a man can get.

Today was the first day of our new experiment; Phil and Lil Mondays. Phil works for a US company so each week he works from Tuesday to Saturdays and takes Sundays and Mondays as his weekend so that he can keep vaguely within his employer’s time zone. We have always spent Sundays together doing family things and Mondays have been our run-around, chore day. Since coming back from Canada we have pulled Lily out of one day of childcare, and are now contemplating removing her from her other day (For lots of reasons – the centre she is in just isn’t working out for us).


In a desperate need to find some more time to do my work without subjecting Lily to any more of this childcare, we decided to try having Mondays as my work day, which means Phil looks after Lil all day, singlehanded. He has been quite excited by the prospect, looking forward to time to potter with the kid.

Today has been such a nice day! I have had my Craft Sanity podcasts blaring while I cut out a bunch of soft toys for a shop launch in the not too distant future and Phil and Lily have been (as Phil hoped) pottering. The kitchen aid … (oh yes! Our new toy! We had to take out a second mortgage to finance that baby — actually; it’s my Christmas / Birthday present from absolutely everyone in my family for the next six years or so) … the Kitchen Aid has been purring as we had homemade pizza for lunch and currently there is the delicious aroma coming from the River Cottage Beans and Sausages bubbling on the stove. Pure bliss. I’m not sure why we haven’t tried this before.

I am always curious to hear and read how other creative mums manage to get their work done and balance their life. I keep wondering what the magic formula is. I just listened to the Anna Maria Horner interview and found her life to be incredibly inspiring – 5 kids and a thriving creative business? Go Anna Maria!

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35 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    I’ve just bought this book so can’t give you a personal recommendation but it surely does look like a good read…

  2. melissa says:

    I have a nearly 5-year old boy and am a potter. He started a playschool last year because I got a “real” job, part time, but this summer we’ve been off. I had a mother’s helper a few hours a week early this summer to get pottery done (the payroll job is Sept-May), which helps, and before playschool stated, he had a mother’s day out 2 days a week. But it really boils down to this (for me): while he’s little, “work” can wait (mostly). After a few years, when he’s in school and has his own life, I’ll have all the time to work that I want. I’ve struggled to get to this point. There hasn’t been much pottery on my blog this summer because it’s been all-boy-all-the-time. And that’s fine with me (mostly!)!

  3. lil kim says:

    I think this is a really compelling topic – for me I am not a mum (yet) but I do wonder how I will cope balancing the two.Actually my friend just wrote a great book on this topic where she interviews over 20 artist-mums (the likes of Clare Bowditch, Rachel Griffiths, Polixeni Papapetrou to name a few) to find out how they do it (or try to!).

    It’s called “The Divided Heart” by Rachel Power and is *definitely* worth a read – very honest, revealing, inspiring…

  4. erna says:

    I loveeeeeeeeeeeeee the colour of this green man!!! wow…he is highly on my list of christmas wishes!Hmmm balance??? I have two boys, stay at home but after 5 years there’s still not so much balance in this house…if you have any tips?

  5. robyn says:

    Ooooh! That mixer is soooo beautiful! The color is divine!My BFF works from home 4 days out of the week, and keeps the little one with her. Her husband works from home the remaining 1 day out of the week. So, that means the little one never has to go to day care. It’s a really cool arrangement!

  6. Iona says:

    I think Anna Maria’s got it in one: it’s the fact that you still want to struggle to make it work. It’s that tension that helps us figure out new solutions to old problems, try different set-ups and routines. We want to do both and do them both well – and so we chat, go green with envy over SAHD with KAs, daydream over what could be done. And then go on and do it.It’s really exciting to hear about your work, Claire. And thanks for the kitchen porn photos.

  7. Kate says:

    That’s a great idea! I’m already inspired how you handle having your girls and business/craft bubbling together, and this seems like the natural evolution for you all.And I’m in love with the Kitchen Aid. It just begs to have nice things made on it, doesn’t it?! I’ve never seen it in this lovely apple green, either.

    Is that one of your home grown pumpkins in the background?!

  8. Paisley Jade says:

    My mum (our of the kindness of her crazy heart) offered a few years ago to come around to our place on Thurs and Fridays and mind the kids while I do volunteer work – pretty cool aye! Don’t get to make softies while she’s around though 🙁 Lucky you!

  9. Michelle says:

    I love that photo! How lucky are you benefitting from a Phil and Lil day with gorgeous food!I don’t have kids but work from home. I’ve found that scheduling my week really works – sewing product x in the morning, lunch for an hour, bike to the post office to post, etc. It’s made a huge difference to my productivity. With kids at home though, I’d imagine it would be harder to keep to a schedule.

  10. Rosalind says:

    Lucky dog with the mixer. That is one of my dream appliances. Love the green colour too.I know what you are saying about the kids and balance. My son went to two days of daycare right before baby number 2 arrived and he hated it! Never connected with the staff or centre and now looking back, he just wasn’t that kind of spirit. Fortunately he was accepted to the local preschool and has thrived.

    I think it is great your husband is so supportive and trying to help you. Good luck on your quest of craft, work, life balance. It is all so tricky.

  11. Gillian says:

    Ah, I’m just struggling with this issue myself. How to manage with a 2.5yr old daughter, a small online business and being a SAHM with no family available apart from once a month.I’m really interested in how others do it, that is, find a balance that works for them. Am I expecting too much out of my day when I should just be focussing on my parenting role? Sorry to hijack your post, it’s just a very current topic for me! Lurve the KitchenAid and the colour. Very groovy!

  12. Hoppo Bumpo says:

    As a SAHM myself, I’m not sure if I am more envious of your SAHD or the KA. Children are definitely the black hole for time in our house! All creative work seems to be done in the evening, when all small folk are horizontal.

  13. Ruth says:

    cutest kitchen aid ever! I love the colour.

  14. Angel Funk says:

    Can I just tell you that Anna Maria lives in the same city I do?!? I’m a SAHM without a crafty business, but I am crafty enough to have creating a business as a goal. She is such an inspiration, as are you! Can’t wait to see the shop.

  15. tea tree says:

    This working and creating with kids is a constant challenge for me. As soon as I figure something out and think I’ve got it down, my daughter changes–either she quits sleeping or needs more attention or gets more busy/destructive.I was getting up at 4 a.m. which worked really well until she started staying up way too late at night for me to get up that early. The most important thing I’ve found is to stay committed to my work so that I don’t use her as an excuse to procrastinate. That way there rally is lots of time in between duties and while she’s sleeping to gets bits done.

  16. ~~Melissa says:

    When my youngest was a baby, my obsessive quilt making led me to hand dyeing my own fabrics. I was so entranced by the whole process, dy(e)ing to try every possible colour combination, value, and texture, that I couldn’t stop.I would put my babe to bed at 10 pm (she was one of those 10 am to 10 pm babies), and then I would put on a favourite talk radio show (no podcasts yet then) and work until the wee hours of the morning. You can’t measure the thrill of seeing the rinsed fabrics and what richness and subtleties and mottles they might have! (All step by step instructions are free on my blog in case anyone else wants to get obsessed.)

    Standing on a mountain of fabric, with lots more ideas in my head, I started a hand-dyed fabric shop online to sell some off and allow funds to make more. This was the year 2000, and just creating the html code for an online shop still required some rocket science and patience: images had to be small to load!

    The next few years were a wild ride. The business took over my home and my life. My dining room lost its carpet and became my dye studio. (The longer version of the story is on my blog.) What I realized all through it was, I wasn’t a person who could properly pay attention to my children and work. Work had to be primarily separate. Just because the two took place in the same building, didn’t mean they could overlap much. Both took my complete concentration. If I tried to overlap too much, I made regretable errors in one realm or another, and obviously, botched fabric is ok; children not properly heard, is not.

    However, having a mommy who is creatively driven and finding happiness in her own way, is a tremendous gift to our children, particularly, I think (though no experience with sons) for daughters.

    Funny enough, I think there is an unwritten sort of Murphy’s Law that the creative urges bubble up in direct proportion to how little time we have to act on them, which is, of course, the challenge you are mentioning here.

    PS:I was happy to see your mention of Lake Huron. That’s my summer hangout.

  17. Jackson says:

    I LOVE those mixers. Sadly, I don’t really need one badly enough to warrant the price, but…if I ever find a pile of gold, they’re high on my list 🙂

  18. Linnea says:

    One of those mixers is definitely on my dream list… one day :o) I got a cheaper one in the meantime… it works! Your scheduling arrangement reminded me of this article I read recently at the new york times on coparenting:

    It was interesting to read :o) Take care & enjoy your Monday and all that delicious food! xox,Linnea

  19. rowena says:

    Wow. It’s such a small thing, your SAHD day, but it’s starting to inspire me.Right now, I am doing whatever creative work I can while the kids nap or watch tv or sit on my lap with a tv table and fingerpaints while I’m on my computer. Every once in a while, I manage to not be so tired at the end of the day and can write or paint after the kids go to sleep.

    Somehow, though, this post has me imagining quitting my part time job, getting the grandparents to babysit while I work full time, at least a couple of days a week on making that creative career.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I too have a work at home business. I have three children, the youngest being 19 months. It is a tough balance to get work done and still feel like I am a good mother. I don’t “have” to get a certain amount of work done each day..but I try. My inlaws are moving in next door to us in about a month, so I think things may get easier!You are really an inspiration to me! I love your drawings! Keep up the wonderful work!

  21. Judy says:

    I sometimes think balance just takes a good attitude and the occasional ten minute cuddle. Beautiful KA! And what does potter mean???

  22. Cindy says:

    My husband has stayed at home with our kids since birth and it has been a great experience for them. I am lucky to work from home (non-crafty) so I am still around to see everyone but I think Dads can have self doubt, but if they don’t have to cope they really take their stride.My time to craft though is the evenings. Instead of watching mind-numbing TV I use that time to sew .. and sew … and sew until the sandman finally taps me on the shoulder in the wee hours. I don’t know if my kids could sleep without the hum of the machine in the background now.

  23. Christie says:

    I LOVE my kitchenaid & they are the best money ever spent!!As for the work/family juggle, I guess everyone has a diffent mix that works for them. I chose to keep my kids out of childcare, which has made it harder to get much done, but my eldest is in kinder now so I have my daughter’s nap time & after thay are in bed at night… not ideal…

  24. Cindy says:

    I forgot the most important thing in getting time for craft – IGNORE THE HOUSE WORK!

  25. miranda says:

    Hi Claire,It sounds like you might be need to read “The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood”. I bought my copy last week and as it is published in Australia it probably available in your local bookstore. Here is a link to the publisher’s website:

  26. Kirsty says:

    Oh yeh, I hear your dilemma! Life is definitely chaotic, and those children are cute but seriously detract from “creative-self” time. I am struggling with your above dilemmas also, it seems there never is a balance for me. You just get it sorted out and along comes the next challenge.With baby #3 due in 6 weeks, I’m thinking maybe I should just surrender to the whole parent thing and do my thing in a few years! Or maybe the baby will sleep all the time….hhmmm.

  27. Johanna Rose says:

    Wow.. I don’t have any kids and find it hard enough to manage.I am green with envy over your kitchen aid though..

  28. Jennifer says:

    When I first heard AMH’s podcast, I wanted to tell everyone I knew about it, even people who would not normally listen to a podcast about crafts. It was inspirational, to say the least.As for keeping up creative energy, while balancing the constant demands of my 2 and 3 year olds? Well….my only “solution” is to aim for lower output + higher quality. It would be easy for me to flit from one thing to another, frantically trying to get it “all” done. But when I breathe, and accept that making time for one thing (done well and with full attention) at a time is both realistic and better for my mental health, I am a happier person and a happier mom.

    Now hurry up and get on over to Japan, because I can’t wait to read about your impressions of this country.

  29. Jennifer says:

    Oh, and my other secret is to get up crazy early. I am so productive in the morning! I found what works for me, and will stick to it. (Though often it means going to bed crazy early, in order to savor the quiet time before the kids wake up in the morning).

  30. Prue says:

    Hey! We’ve got those same little green glass tiles in our bathroom! Snap!And most of my crafting gets done when the kids are asleep or away for the day. I tend to listen to television in the evenings but not really watch it – too busy looking down at what I am doing with my hands!

  31. Anna Maria says:

    What a nice, nice thing to mention my podcast, and I am overwhelmed/honored that I can be any sort of inspiration to anyone! Thank you. I have learned that there is no perfect balance, its an impossible one. The perfection only rests in the struggle. A perfect struggle. The fact that you want to struggle says it all, especially in a world of most people wanting it easy. The rewards on all levels are so worth it.We call them Daddy Days here and we love it too.Onward march!with love xoxoxo, AM

  32. ClaireP says:

    OMG *drools over sexy green kitchen aid* I’m sooo jealous! 🙂

  33. another recommendation for The Divided Heart here! i’m not a mum but this is a topic i’m really interested in. and i haven’t read the whole book but i did sneakily read Clare Bowditch’s section in a bookshop. (i am a big fan! i couldn’t help myself). but it seems like a great book and i hope to actually finish it… one day 🙂

  34. Sarah says:

    Yup – the constant juggling act. Then when you think you got it right – something throws it in kayos(spell?) again.Um nice nice mixer… don’t think hubby would approve if I bought a georgeous mixer like that with one that works perfectly well!

  35. Christa says:

    My husband has been the full-time parent in our house since our first baby was born. I have my own graphic design business and work out of the house. We feel lucky to have this arrangement — I love what I do and that I don’t have to miss out on seeing the kids every day, and my husband loves being a SAHD. It’s his calling.

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