how do I find time for anything?

Yesterday a lovely reader asked how do I find time for craft with 5 little ones because she struggles to find time with 2? One of the top questions I get asked is just how do I find time for anything! To look at me when I’m out and about I look flat out and one very busy mum pushing a pram and surrounded by kids! And I am. I am looking after 5 little people who always need something.  But once we’re home and everyone is fed, bathed and happy well it’s all very relaxed and I get some time to myself. 

Here is how we do things and I find time to do the things I want to do


This is very obvious and whether you call it routine or the rhythm of your day, keeping things working to the same time helps everyone. I know when it’s going to be quiet and when I’ll get things done and I try to plan out the week with everyone’s activities and see where I’ll have a free night or weekend and when I can fit in a sewing session.

take your craft everywhere

I do craft in the car, on the playmat, the swimming pool, library, in bed and on the couch. If I am sitting then I am knitting or doing some craft.

I don’t do phone calls

the only people I speak to on the phone are my nana, grandma, mother in law and telemarketers (but I politely say to those telemarketers please don’t call me again and quickly hang up). And if people come to my door trying to sell me something I make sure a few kids come with me so I look too busy. Except the people who come to talk about God, I always tell them I’m catholic and have 5 beautiful children and want more. And I smile sweetly (and look all holy!).

I don’t have time for complicated people

Some people love to create drama because you didn’t call them or you didn’t do this or you’re too busy for them. Um hello, 5 small children. Once upon a time I would waste my time and energy worrying about them and what they thought of me. And then I stopped. Sometimes someone will say ‘how is so and so?’ and I’ll say ‘oh I don’t know I haven’t spoken to them in ages’. Move on and make time for the people who love and care for you and help you out. You’ll do the same for them and be surrounded by nice people. I’m convinced we’d all be happier if we did this.

Ask for the time      

Retro daddy loves to go for big long runs. It makes him happy and he always asks when is a good time to go for a run today. I tell him what we have on and he works it out. I also say to him heh I’d like to do some sewing today or organise the garage (ha, just kidding! just checking you’re still reading!) can you mind the little ones! It might sound silly but otherwise you’ve got to the end of the weekend and you haven’t had a moment to yourself.

turn off the computer….sometimes

Sometime last year I stopped turning on the computer in the mornings. I was in the habit of reading it while eating breakfast, answering emails, updating facebook. Now I don’t turn the computer on until about 9.30 when I’m home from school and preschool drop off. I make sure the dishes are done, a load of washing is in the machine or out on the line. Toys are out on the blanket for elodie and emerson, I make a coffee and I sit down and start to do a bit of work.

Also at night time there are some nights where instead of trawling pinterest or ravelry or facebook, I get out my knitting and my peppermint tea and turn off the computer. You really have to do it and you’ll be more productive if you do. Promise.You will survive and you won’t miss out on anything.

we eat dinner early

this might sound totally crazy to some people but depending on what activities we have on we will eat dinner (well the little ones and myself) anywhere from 4.30pm onwards. Then it’s straight in the bath. Now last night we had an activity and I let the little ones eat dinner and play outside till 7pm so obviously we don’t do it every night. But if I’m running solo then we try to do dinner and baths early then time to play, read a book and wind down and be in bed at 7.30pm. We used to do 8.30pm bedtime but with all the bedtime shenanigans it could be 9pm before I’d make it downstairs. It’s not perfect here but we’ve found the 7.30pm bedtime is working well here.

book into a class or join a group

when keira was little she would go to a daycare centre from 9-2 once a week and I learnt to sew. I did this for about 6 months before we moved and I got pregnant with twins but it was a way that I could learn something new, get a bit of time to myself while retro daddy was working overseas and also have something that was my own. Booking into something or having a time when you leave the house  to do something for yourself means you get that time to yourself. It’s not a bad thing. When you have very small children you are their carers 24/7 around the clock. You need a break and you deserve a break. Other things I love to do is have my craft days, go out to a class and do something that makes me happy.

And that’s that! I’m not a particularly organised person, my house is never spotless, I try to be on time to things and just try to keep everything going. But I always find a bit of time for myself.


  1. I loved that post. I don’t know why, but it was really funny. I also only have 2, with number 3 on the way (only 8 weeks and feeling awful so going a little bit easy on myself) and that post was just what I needed.

  2. Samara Cassidy says:

    Thank you!!!! Here I am feeling selfish everytime I ask the Daddy for some me time :-) I know I need it and I know he is really busy. I have been getting a bit jealous of him, getting lots of time by himself, while I have children with me 24/7. Thank you thank you thank you for making it alright for the mummy to have me time!

  3. I loved reading this. It’s hard when you have so much happening, to find the time for you, but it needs to be done, doesn’t it. I’m a mother of 2 (A 4 year old and a 2 year old), we also own our own business (A 2 man team), both working 40+ hours a week (The husband working around 70 hours a week). I was happiest to read your sections “I don’t do phone calls” and “I don’t have time for complicated people” – as it helped to reinforce in my mind that these things ARE okay! People are always shocked “You don’t have a mobile phone?!” and always asking if I can partake in play dates, girls nights.. I just do not have the time, I love my friends – But something has to give and it cannot be my family or my work! So thank you for helping me realize, I’m not alone in this thought and that it is okay to feel like this! :)

  4. Louise Webb says:

    Agree, a big part of it is discussing with your partner the weekends plans so you are on the same page and there is no angst at the end over not having time to do what you want as the weekdays can be pretty full on ! Great post.

  5. Thanks for sharing – i did wonder how you did it and now i know. My biggest prob is wanting to use the sewing machine while the kids are playing – but as soon as it is out – my 3 year old son just wants to play with it – which means the end of my sewing time. i read recently of someone that got all the pattern cutting and prep work done when the kids are around so have been trying that and it works to an extent and also means once they are in bed i can get straight to the fun part of sewing. I hae also just joined a gym which gets me out 2 nights a week – not ideal time to be working out – but it’s all i’ve got. thanks again for your beautiful blog!

    • Kate, I have been minding little ones for the past year and I have put the playpen around the sewing table. That way the machine stays up and away from little ones.
      It works for me.

  6. Lovely post. thanks for sharing. I’ve been reading your blog for more than a year now. I think its time to drop a comment.

  7. Christie says:

    You use your time wisely and seem to accomplish much….

  8. You really are amazing. I only have one and I do like to keep ridiculously busy but I have no idea how to manage more than one. Though my mum does keep telling me once you have two they entertain each other! Nice try mum! Maybe one day. 😉


  9. My husband seems to think weekend time is all centred around him as during the week I apparentlyhave plenty of me- time as I only work a little from home and look after 3 kids, and a huge house!

  10. David Chapman says:

    Now I know why you don’t answer my phone calls!!!

  11. Now I feel guilty sitting here reading blogs instead of crafting while my grandson is asleep . O.K. Computer going off now! Oh maybe one more blog.

  12. Sarah Lowe says:

    Thank you Corrie…your optimism and easy going attitude is infectious. Love reading your notes :) x

  13. lyn lindsay says:

    Thanks for today Corrie and yes we get to fit in what we want, I so agree about the computer, I’m a quilter and sometimes wonder why I’m not getting it all done well, the answer is simple the computer, I like you always turn it on in the morning BUT that’s set you up for quite awhile so I in 2013 am being more disciplined about the computer it is valuable sewing time which I enjoy more.
    In saying all that Corrie I am thankful to have a peek at a few blogs of interest, so thanks for your time given to the likes of me.

  14. I’m inspired by these posts. I have two little ones and struggle to keep all the balls in the air quite often. Something falls down. We run out of food, milk or the house is a tip, or there are 5 loads of laundry to go on. But I do love a bit of blog time, a little craft and skype. I need to learn how to say no a bit more too, so true about those complicated people. Thank you Corrie.

  15. Great advice, I wish that I had had a computer when my five were young, being able to keep in touch via blogs and facebook, to read advice such as this, I might not have had so much guilt when I took some time to myself. I raised my five by myself after my husband passed and yes, routine was only way to get through each day. I looked forward each night to when the last story book was read and the light was turned off. It was then my time to do some craft, usually knitting and quilting.

  16. Just Us says:

    Great advice Corrie. We also can eat around 4.30 if my husband is away or out for the evening and it’s good to eat early and hopefully the rest of the evening falls into place! I need to do some classes and get out a bit at the moment. I think it would do me some creative good :)

  17. Love it! A good share on your life skills. You have worked out the prorities. So what if the dust is settling, as you crochet or knit, if it is centring you ready for the reality of caring for your family. You have to look after your own child’s mother.

    Corrie you have learnt early about “collecting” people in your life and the complications it brings. I love the small circle of friends I have and even if we don’t see each other for months, it’s okay.

  18. Melissa says:

    Thanks for this post Corrie. I always feel so inspired by you and the amount that you manage to do in your day! I am currently sitting here in front of my computer which is a first for ages. I seem to be of the opinion these days that if you can’t do it on your iphone, its just not going to get done! Your knitting seriously makes me want to pick up a pair of needles, and with the cooler weather just around the corner, I think I just might! LOVE that last pic by the way. Keira looks absolutely at home sewing with the girls!

  19. Love the suggestions. I’ve browsed through your blog and found so many useful things. I’m an aspiring stay at home mom (currently in the no-kids-yet-still-working-full-time category) and trying to get to a place, financially, where we can do what you do. I’m loving your style and all the useful suggestions! Thanks!

  20. Maria do Carmo says:

    Fiz mais ou menos como você com três filhas,mas nunca abri mão do meu tricô e crochê,mas vou ser sincera:AS VISITAS ENCHIAM O MEU SACO!!!!Era tanta gente querendo “acompanhar”o crescimento das meninas e não lavavam um copo para me ajudar e ainda queria que eu cozinhasse para elas,eu fazia e chorava depois.Meu marido comprou nossa casa mais longe,e foi diminuindo.Hoje tenho um casal de netos e a saga recomeçou…minha filha mora no andar de cima,e trabalha fora,tem baba e eu ajudo com as crianças,as visitas voltaram para “acompanhar””” de novo,mas na minha casa????

  21. Corrie, thank you so much for posting this! There are definitely some tips in there that I can put into place here in our household. My two children are just so different from each other that they require absolutely different attention from me, on top of the household maintenance, preparing meals and whatnot… at the end of the day, I’m in bed not long after the kids and I’ve got nothing done for myself!

  22. I agree Corrie – when you have 5 young ones there are things that have to be put aside – your thoughts about limiting calls (absolutely guaranteed to get everyone wound up and behaving horribly); not turning on the computer until later in the morning etc are great strategies. But for me the most important thing that you say clearly in your post is that mom’s need to look after themselves. Most people who work for a living get a break – they recharge and are more productive afterwords. Working within the home is busy – there is little down time so you have to create it. And weekends count too. If mom’s fail to do this, it is easy to slide into the martyr and that becomes pretty unpleasant to live with. The other thing I needed periodically is a bit of adult company. The mom’s in a neighbourhood I lived in created a Stitch and B… group that has been in existence for over 18 years. The group met once a month for an evening of stitching. It was a way to stay connected and while the group has gained and lost members, it still continues to provide support to it’s members.

  23. I’m going to make up a little project kit tonight to have on the playmat, couch etc!
    I know what you mean about those people who make big dramas about phone calls, infect we are having a ‘meeting’ about it tonight because he doesn’t like how we are – wish us luck

  24. It looks like you have a good routine or good enough because with 5 young ones it’s hard to be perfect. I like that you and your hubby confer so that both get free time to unwind. I knew a family who always ate dinner at 4:oo pretty much as soon as the children got home from school. Their idea was that children eat when they get home and then latter on and they wanted to be sure that the bulk of the food consumed was ‘good’ food and the snacky type was eaten before bed. Cherrie

  25. Felicity Aloisio says:

    Hi :)
    oh i have just read your blog about finding time for yourself. I just kept nodding to it when you said how you have to make the time and organise it with your partner. It’s so true cause if you don’t you miss your little bit of time to yourself.
    I have just found your blog, and i enjoyed reading it. I’m not real crafty (would love to be). But i odore my 2 girls :) Like you, we eat our dinner around 5pm and i’m the same with eating early and then bath and bed.I like having that routine.
    Keep up the great work Corrie :)

  26. I think the more kids you have the more organised you are. Hence why plenty of people with one say they dont know how others do it. When I had my first, we would sleep until lunch time, never get out of our jarmies and just generally were very very chilled. Now I have another (4 and 2 yo’s) there are older/younger children factors. Preschool drop offs, swimming lessons, kindygym, playdates…the works. It pushes you to be that bit more organised and as a result you feel more in control and have more time on your hands. Thats my theory anyway, I find it easy enough with two compared to when I had one as I was always rushing (too relaxed at home) and now I feel a bit more in control.

  27. Lovely post. I’m years past having little ones in the house, but I thought your comment about complicated people was good for any stage in life.

  28. As if you were writing about my family! :) People also sometimes ask me how do I have time to do anything with three kids. And you put it into words here!

  29. I love your blog!! Can you please explain how to stop logging onto Facebook? I am so addicted and I am falling behind in everything and wasting time! I have a business from home and have a business page and am hopeless!

  30. Hi Corrie, I’m a long time reader but rarely comment on blogs but
    I felt I had to tell you a funny story. I was reading your blog on my phone and my 92 year old surrogate grandmother said “what are you reading?” “A blog by a woman with five kids,” I replied. “Oh she’s lucky!” Said my wise old friend. And you are!
    I also wanted to let you know I’m praying for you particularly in your grief.
    All the best!

  31. This is great Corrie, I really enjoyed reading this. Yesterday I booked my self into a craft course, starting next week. I can’t wait. It is the only thing I do that does’nt involve my children. So after reading your post I KNOW I deserve it! xo

  32. Mama of 2 boys says:

    Awesome Corrie, love this, many of those things you do I also try to employ in my little household… and the ones I don’t I’ll be adopting into the routine going forward 😉
    Really love your tip about complicated people. Since becoming a Mama, I have also learnt to move on from dramas etc… that are really not my problem. Good friends and family members won’t put you under that kind of pressure and they’ll always be there for you regardless of whether you are in regular contact or not.

  33. I get asked the same question all the time :-)

    I do the same as you really…though I don’t have 5, 3 (and the sporting commitments of one) keeps me on my toes!

    I find keeping everything to a routine is vital to keeping all the balls up in the air…

    Sarah x

  34. Love all the little details in this post Corrie! I think taking your current craft project with you and whenever you get the chance to squish it in all adds up, great tip. We also have been getting kids to bed too late, so I think your idea of an early dinner may buy me an hour later in the evening :-) I think you are naturally very clever with your prioritising and including YOU in the weekly mix. This is SO important (not just for Mum but for the family as a whole) and something I really struggle with. Lots of Mums do struggle with guilt and allowing ourselves any time. You actually are quite inspirational. Thanks Corrie, I love popping by to see what you and your family are up to. Hugs to you, Jetts XO

  35. Good solid tips Corrie, and pretty much what I do too. I also find having my own sewing space set up is important for me (tho I know you didn’t do that at your last place). This way if the only time I have is 5 mins here, 10 mins there, I can pop in and out to my sewing and get the next little bit done. In the last house it was in the play room, so perfect, but here, it’s in my (large-ish) bedroom, behind the door so you can’t see it from the rest of the house. It’s a small house, so I can always hear what’s going on, and I pick my moments!

  36. So agree with your comments, particularly the one about “complicated people”. Friendships are relationships and like any kind of relationship, it has to be give and take from both sides. If that’s not happening then it’s probably the end of the relationship & therefore the friendship. Relationships & friendships can run their course & don’t have to end in a bad way. They just change. We need to understand & realise this more I think. And yes, turn off the computer :-)

  37. I wish I had taken your advice about taking craft with you everywhere. On a break during class and could really do with winding some wool around the needles.

  38. All your children are beautiful, but that Elodie especially steals my heart in your photos. I love to see what she is doing-like looking at something on the ground when the rest are smiling so nicely for the photo. Funny girl!

  39. Hi Corrie. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts/experiences. Today I did a baking class because of your blog about doing something for yourself to keep balance, I feel like my old self again so thanks for that. Anyhoo, I have some question about knitting for you, if you don’t mind. 1.) Do you knit continental style of English style? and why? 2.) How do you deal with the last stitch (which always end up larger than the needle size)? Do you slip stitch the first stitch? Look forward to your reply.

  40. Thank you! Makes me feel a lot better knowing that a mum with 5 kids can get some time to herself then surely I, a mother of 2 under 3 can do it?! Love the blog BTW!

  41. Hi Corrie!
    I feel like I can relate with you on this question.
    We have 4 young children aged 7 years and under,and the possibility is always there for more.
    I love blogging,I enjoy writing immensely and I am as addicted to Facebook as many are!But I have time slots that these fit into.There is never a set time.Only school is ever on time,and basically because I don’t want my daughters known for tardiness!
    My house is never spotless,but it is hygienic,which with 4 kids is just as good :-)
    I really enjoy reading what you share here.
    Jess x

  42. Penny Slocombe says:

    My kids have neve been to the Easter show and are begging us to go. We would love to create some more lovely memories for them!

  43. rebecca scarinci says:

    Loved your article.As a mum of 7 + ,my house is never spotless but its clean under all the toys

  44. Hi Retro Mummy! Random question – Where did you get those sweet pink with white spotted leggings / pants on your girls in the pic? Love them!
    We are currently planning our third baby, and I have a photography page, a blog, a sewing page and other crafts that I enjoy and NEED to do for my soul, hence the reason I have found myself under this particular blog post of yours. Hehe. Thanks in advance! And if you cant remember thats ok!
    <3 Cat xox

  45. Great post My boys are now 10/12/15 and we do a lot of our own thing now. I work school hours in a very demanding low decile school which can wipe you out every day buti love it. My boys know I come home and drop for 2 hours. They look after themselves , getting own lunches, after school food , sorting out their own homework themselves. My husband cooks a lot of the dinners. So I do find as they get older you have way more time for yourselves. It helps that I only have one manic kid who does everything outside of school going and the other 2 have no extra activities. I have just picked up university papers again too , that is is even more time for myself – the boys just get on and do their own thing. Weekends are my down time and concentrated study time – it would be the husband taking the boys somewhere or they get to where they want to go by themselves now too.

  46. anne seery says:

    Excellent time management skills and a wonderful commentary on the importance of both prioritising and self care. What you are doing works so well,because there always seems to be much joy and love in your home ♥

  47. Great tips. I am SLOWLY learning I need to speak up and ask for time for me. I’m so much happier and productive when I do!

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