Kids and Creative Hobbies: Can We Have Both?


My dining room table is where all my creative projects go to die.

In a sudden burst of inspiration, I run to my special closet, drag out all of my art supplies, bring them into the dining room, spread them out — a glimmer in my eye, creativity running through my veins. I can already see my creation taking shape in my mind’s eye, as I scribble notes and sketches of what I plan to make. I am so excited, giddy actually. I am completely focused and in the zone…for about an hour.

And then my son wakes up from his nap.  

A day or two later, I push all of my art supplies to the side so my family can sit down at the table for dinner. The following week, I move everything to the sideboard, promising myself I’ll get back to it soon. The next time we’re having friends over, I hurriedly grab everything and take it all back to the closet, not quite sure what I was planning to do with it anyway.

This is how most of my creative projects go these days. 

But, the thing is, I’m ok with this. My son was standing at the door begging to go outside yesterday. My husband and I were busy, catching up with stuff around the house, doing this and that. Finally, we grabbed a soccer ball, put our shoes on, and headed out to the back yard. As we passed the ball over my son’s head, laughing as he bounced back and forth like a bobble head, I realized that there was not one single thing in the entire universe more important than playing outside with our son in that moment.

Yes, I have blog posts to write, paintings to paint, cakes to decorate and an attic to renovate. But all of that can wait because right now, I have a precious little boy whose eyes light up when he sees me, who could sit and stack blocks with me for hours, who wants to read the Wheels on the Bus 5,472,384 times, and who cannot be unsupervised for more than a minute or two without soaking all the dish towels in the dog’s water bowl or putting toy cars in the toilet.

In a few years, my creative projects will all be there waiting for me. But these chubby little 17-month-old hands? This sweet little guy who gives the best hugs in the world one minute and throws tantrums over graham crackers the next, who loves to play ball, and who melts my heart with his sly grin? This will all be gone in a flash and I’m not willing to miss one minute of the time I have with him.

I know this stage of life won’t last forever. Someday soon I’ll be able to give my creative hobbies more attention. My son won’t need me as much, and I’ll find more purpose in other things, the way I did before he was born. But for now, my art supplies will just have to collect dust in the dining room while I read my son a bedtime story.

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Haley McManigal
Hi there! I’m Haley, a middle-aged-momma to Lukas and Laney, and wife to Dan. I’ve lived in East Tennessee my whole life, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. After moving all over Knox County and surrounding areas, my family has settled in Hardin Valley where we intend to stay at least until the kids graduate from high school. My son was born in 2017, changing my life forever, and my daughter completed our family in 2020. I work as an architect and project manager at a global design firm. I think it’s pretty cool that I get to meet with people from all over the world from my home office on a daily basis. I am happiest when I’m able to strike just the right balance between home and work life. But my family is my greatest treasure and my most fulfilling role in life so far is Mommy. My favorite things are reading, writing, cooking, exploring, and making things. I don’t have much free time these days but when I’m able to squeeze in a few of these activities it really pays off. I love being a part of Knoxville Moms and I cherish the opportunity to share this journey of motherhood here with you!



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