This has been written about before (and in a more cherent fashion) by others, but I want to address it because sometimes it feels like the elephant in the room. Or, you know, the owl in the room. Whatever.
I have two of these:
You’ve probably noticed, by now. They are fairly obtrusive around here, often sporting jaunty hats or bibs and being very patient with my many foibles.
I also have massive piles of these:
All of it fighting for my attention, all of it needing me Right Now.
The parenting thing is a hard gig. I love it. I gave up teaching to be a Mum and I hope I’m getting to be okay at it. I try really hard to be involved with my kids, to listen to them and give them what they need – not always what they want, which is a different thing. They’re turning out to be interesting little human beings and they are lots of fun to be around. Challenging, because they love to push my buttons and they are both at ‘difficult’ ages – although I think that all ages have their challenges.
The sewing thing is new for me. Not the actual sewing part, that I’ve been doing since I was a little kid and my Mum made me a patchwork quilt. I’ve been hooked on sewing ever since.
The thing that’s new for me is that it’s time when I re-direct some of my focus away from the kids and onto something else. Going off to markets with them, going over to Alex’s house without them. Small things but for me, really challenging because I.Am.Always.With.My.Kids. When Orlaith started preschool it took me months to adjust to that separation. It felt like part of my body was missing. I still feel weird about it and don’t get me started on the fact that she’s starting at primary school in January. (No, really, don’t. We’ll be here all day discussing the merits of formal education vs homeschooling. You don’t want to go there.)
Sewing for me is kind of about reclaiming an identity for myself that is separate from that of the children. What my Mum calls ‘individuation’. Something I do that is not just about them.
But at the same time, I have two tiny people who want my attention. All The Time. They need stimulation, supervision, conversation and basic bits and pieces like feeding and taking to the loo. I don’t have the freedom of just walking into a studio, shutting the door behind me and getting to it, because sometimes if I so much as get off the sofa at the wrong time, this is what happens:
All of which ends up in a hideous spiral of guilt.
Do I take the time to sit at the machine or do I play another game of trains or read another story? At the moment I don’t have a lot of choice, as we crank up the preparations for Knit Nation to Full Scale Panic Mode. It’s the machine most of the time.
(The blog has been all but abandoned Do I take an hour to write a post about sewing or do I use that hour to make a bunch of stuff?)
And up until this week, I am ashamed to admit that quite often Mr Television has been getting a bit of a work out. Not that it actually guarrantees a quite moment but it gives the illusion of one.
But as of this week I am roud to say I’ve found a new solution: the craft aisle at the Local Giant Supermarket Chain of Doom. It yielded treasure beyond measure, in the form of paper plates, plasticine and trays of water colour paints.
What a revelation! Normally when we do painting it’s a major operation involving a hose and a bathtub and full supervision so that the paint doesn’t end up on the carpet or the walls. But with the tiny paint boxs, they are quite happy to sit each day, dipping their paint brushes in the water, dabbing gently at the little disks of paint and making lovely swirly shapes on the paper or the paper plates. And sometimes on themselves:The plasticine has been a massive success too. Hours of contemplative squishing and smushing.Not making anything in particular, you understand. Just enjoying trailing it about, smashing it a bit, festooning things with it. Then at the end, happily rolling every piece into one ginormous ball.
So, thank you, Giant Supermarket of Doom, you have relieved a little of my crafty parent guilt and made it slightly easier for me to carry on with my insane sewing death-march.
With all that said, the entire time I was writing this post, this is what’s been happening:
And you know what? I love it!
And now, back to the juggling…