Prior to having a child, I asked an art professor who is a single mom how she finds studio time. She looked me in the eye and said, "When you know you have precisely ninety minutes of naptime, you become VERY efficient. You don't waste time sorting your pencils or tidying the studio."
I have a FT job, plus the child, and for the first year, I got NOTHING done with my art. All my energy, creative and life, went into the child. After his first birthday, things have been somewhat better. Here are my observations about how to keep making work:
1. Pick projects that are do-able. Make small items. Paint postcard-sized pictures, not life-size murals. It will make you feel good to FINISH something.
2. Set aside a small chunk of every day (an hour if you can swing it) and make that commitment to work on your art during that hour, and not for a minute more.
3. Make things that you can pick up and put down without feeling like you have totally lost your creative train of thought. Handwork is good for this. If you have to put down your crocheting to comfort a screaming baby, it's easier to go back to where you left off than if you are in deep concentration.
4. Have some "fodder work" that you do to keep your ideas germinating. Keep a sketchbook, take snapshots, cut pictures out of magazines, doodle, collage, make an image bank.
5. Get some art-making buddies. If you have a group that gets together to either make work together or have group critiques, it will both give you a goal and give you a chance to get out of the house and away from your kids and reconnect with other artists and that part of you that is aching for a garret with a retractable ladder and a soundproof floor.
I am part of an art collective, and we just made an installation together in Indianapolis. It was my first trip away from my baby since he was born 18 months ago, and despite the hassle of pumping, it was such a wonderful energizer to be around my artist friends for a weekend.
6. Either get up early, before anyone else is awake, or stay up late, after everyone else has gone to sleep.
There's also the Sally Mann
approach. Make work about your kids.