Thursday, February 24, 2011
My Bullet List on The Mother Huddle
Do you know The Mother Huddle?
Co-authored by five talented mothers, it is a delightful collection of sewing, crafting, food, inspiration, wisdom and good common sense. I met its lovely founding editor, Destri, when one of her sewing tutorials inspired me to try doing my waistbands differently. We emailed a little bit; she invited me to write a bullet list for her blog and I said yes, oh yes.
But a bullet list about what? Sewing- since I do so much of it these days? No - I thought I'd write about balance. It's something I have to keep learning again and again because I throw myself into things with such energy and wholehearted blockheadness, oftentimes. You all know about that midlife craft crisis, right? And the Christmas epiphany? Now, I'm naturally slightly nuts, and parenthood has induced some kind of early dementia, but I like to think I am still methodical and analytical somewhere in the mix. So I sat myself down to figure out what was making me feel decidedly uncrafty.
I started this blog to write tutorials because I'm an incurable educationist. But it all began by first discovering other crafty bloggers during the early days of Kate's life. Nothing inspires a person like reading about peg dolls and puppet theaters at 3 am while being stuck in a rocking chair, nursing, and being completely unable to get my hands on any craft supplies. When I finally had a moment to myself, I ran screaming into the craft world like a woman possessed. This is what passion looked like: I made gifts for everyone in the known universe. I opened an etsy shop. I started writing patterns. I filled notebook after notebook with all the exciting ideas in my head because my hands couldn't turn them into products fast enough.
Looking back, this is what I saw: I went from working professional to stay-home-mom to immigrant-stay-home-mom to crafting stay-home-mom to crafting-and-blogging-stay-home-mom to crafting-and-blogging-and-etsy-stay-home-mom and.... well, it was a full plate. And where did the fun go? Blogging was and still is a great creative outlet and a means to maintain sanity, but it, too, along with the rest of my crafting, had begun to feel not very exciting in the last year. I traced it back to the time I ventured into etsy and pattern retail (late 2009) - that's probably when some of the pure fun began to change to something responsible and "proper". Not bad in itself, and now that I actually know what it was, it's glaringly obvious and really quite silly that it caused me the amount of consternation and puzzlement that it did.
So what was the problem? In a sentence: I had a job again but I refused to see it that way. I called it "a fun way to earn pocket money by doing what I love." Snort! The rubbish one believes when one is in denial!
It wasn't only the actual hours spent developing patterns, the time spent responding to buyers' inquiries, or trying to fix computer-related download problems. Or deadlines. Or dragging three children to the post office in the snow to send off a parcel. True, I'd underestimated the idiocy of Internet Explorer and the might of a Minnesotan snowstorm, but those were things I foresaw, so I took them in stride. What threw me off were the subconscious expectations and standards I imposed on myself as a crafting-businessperson. I'd seen this happen with other bloggers - they may not have said it in so many words, but it was there between the lines. It gave me a sense of solidarity that I was not cuckoo all by myself! It also made me wonder why on earth we do this to ourselves.
I'll spare you the grisly details and just say that I'm not burnt out or cynical or anything dramatic like that. It was more like a dull "Eh?" As I said in the beginning of this post, I've done this over and over all through my life, oscillating between passions, losing and recovering my balance. I'm regretfully very familiar with its concept, but it does take me a while to recognize its many faces and new manifestations.
Anyway, I thought it would make an interesting bullet list to share what I'd learned the past year - both from my own journey and from other people's that I've watched evolve in blogland. Read my bullet list here on The Mother Huddle!