We just got done with this phase and YES, it gets WAY EASIER. Once preschool started we couldn't believe how much more we were able to get done. Little ones are too demanding to try to do a lot of finished art. I'd say for now, try to work loose and fast in your sketchbook. Keep a journal of ideas without worrying to much about making finished art. THen use this once they start preschool to make more finished work. Use the time now to brainstorm and daydream.
In terms of finances, there are a few things I recommend. I am a big advocate of Dave Ramsey (https://www.daveramsey.com/get-started/debt) and Mr. Moneymustache (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02/22/getting-rich-from-zero-to-hero-in-one-blog-post/). Both of these guys are my financial hero's and they changed my life. They have a little bit different approaches, but they overlap a lot. The basic idea is:
- Spend less than you make: (this may mean moving to a cheaper city, being on a tighter budget, or working more for a temporary amount of time
- Don't use debt: Trying to leverage credit is a fallacy and most poeple spend too much on credit. They get in too deep and the hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger. When people make more money, they buy a nicer car, or clothes, etc. until they are paycheck to paycheck again. So just get rid of the idea of using credit. Pay cash.
- Get out of debt: once you stop spending, you can focus on paying down the debt you do have. They both have a step by step approach to this, but Dave Ramsey's is the best I think
- Pay off your house: If you can get out of debt and pay off your house, the amount of freedom that comes with it is amazing. Again, this is not easy to do. It takes some sacrifices. I'm selling my house in portland and moving to nashivlle to do it. But it's possible and there are many people on the site who have literally no debt.
- Once you have no bills, you can live the life you want. You aren't worried so much about losing your job, etc. Then the art you make is your choice and not that you have to get a client, etc.
6 Try to give back: Once you achieve financial peace, think about how you can give back. Teaching is one way. Giving to charity is another.
Sorry for all the info here. I definitely don't have all the answers. But learning from these guys is a good starting point. This kind of thinking changed our life and maybe it can help you too. : )