Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sweet babies and the truth about being a mum at home ...

It ain't all roses you know. There are these moments (the one's I live for) ...

Baby and I atop Mt Victoria

My honey and I

Maia and lil' Richie
A red mohawk and skull rockstar jeans for Marcus
(what else is does a crafty mum's son wear to school?)

It doesn't take long. Our wee baby "Knuckles" isn't so wee anymore. I am completely distracted with him and his brothers, and his busy dad. My art work is on hold and athough I get the occasional urge to create, I'm unable to completely give myself to it. I have been teaching myself to knit but even that requires a level of expertise I don't have. I did finish a hat for my baby the other day, it's not this one (this is a converted felted jersey sleeve that friend Cleo made for him). I have taught myself knitting on a circular needle and only had to undo it a few zillion times to get the right size (grrr, suppose thats what all the hooha is about knitting a gauge swatch to start with). Wish I had a live-in knitter to guide me through the long hours of being a mum at home with a baby. It does get lonely sometimes, I miss my mum and husband most. On days like today though, when its stormy, raining, thunder rolls ... then home is where I want to be.

My sweet boy at 5 months

This newborn photo is 5 months old. I adore his little hand knitted hat and blanket, all from the op shop for about $1.20! So many reasons why I love secondhand gear.
Ok, so tell the truth. I love crafting, making cool stuff, designing, hanging out with artists, even participating in the odd exhibition, being around other textile artists, op-shopping, kidding myself that I want to live a more thoughtful lifestyle but ... reality kicks in when I (meaning myself) am a full-time at home mother. I am lucky if I get a shower and change of clothes, if the baby gets a bath once a week, if we make it to our monthly payday without running out of money, if the washing gets done, some days I am ahead just getting out of bed and onto the couch in the lounge. I am not depressed but there is a sense of purposelessness .... yeah, yeah, I know ... kids are my life blah blah. Of course I love my family, I would throw myself in front of a truck for them if it came to it. But there is this lethargy I fight, especially if I don't have an appointment of some sort for the day. I can't be bothered going to all those playgroups, I don't want to do coffee with friends all the time (although for crafting purposes I am always available). I need a purpose to my days again. I have a love/hate relationship with my home, I love being here but hate housework. I spend most of my time missing Rich when he's not here. Being a parent is hard work even with a partner. We see each other finally at the end of the night when the kids are in bed and everything is done, but by then it's late and not exactly a great time for talking. Everything is an effort. Being at home has this effect on me. Kinda draining and like swimming in molasses (golden syrup for us kiwi's). And then there are all my good intentions. Like The Clever Crafting Project. I had so many ideas but feel very blessed that at least our get togethers are generating enthusiasm and a warm sense of community among those who attend. Our 'free' table has lots of free goodies every month, we are seeing lots of new people and those who've been are returning (a sign of success), and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and exciting as we are create, inspire and encourage one another.Another good intention made good included teaching some children to knit, albeit on a smaller scale. Here are my good friend Chrissies daughters Zoe and Shalom. I didn't factor in that teaching knitting would be a slow process thinking that a few quick demos and we'd all be chatting and knitting happily. However they made great progress, got to use some of the rather large stash of wool donated happily from friend Betty-Anne. The girls got started on their first project - a scarf for winter. I thought I was going to have a tea party (talk about ambitious but I love to make an occasion out of anything) but fish and chips had to suffice. I felt pretty good when they wrapped their bits around their necks. They were proud as punch when they got home. I figured out later that I actually need to teach mums and then they can teach their kids (or at least knit alongside). So Chris, this is your early warning that you and I are going to refresh those knitting skills.

The Clever Crafting Project grows.

One of my goals was to use crafting to bring people together just like in the good old days when people belonged to a community that cared. It's great for making new friends (read: networking) and building support systems.
As a counsellor (albeit a slightly rusty one) I am always aware of how little support our modern society provides. We have to pay for someone to care and listen for an hour, bring in the specialists when our kids are struggling, have rising mental health issues as a nation (who hasn't struggled with depression and anxiety of some form or a rather). I like to think that being together, caring, laughing, talking, sharing, and making are a nice way to make people feel good, cared for and clever! A fence at the top of the cliff rather than an ambulance at the bottom to a nation who feels like I do sometimes ... isolated, lonely, uninspired, etc. I belong to a church community and in the past it has offered all of the above for me at different times. It takes time (and courage) to build meaningful relationships. Still I like it. I guess other people find their focus and sense of belonging in sports teams, other interest groups, their careers, their hobbies, Friday nights on the town etc.
Blogland has become another way of connecting me to the world, especially when the chips have been down. I have met some amazing people here. India (Prophet of Bloom), Nina (Ornamental), and Robyn (Art Propelled) are three that immediately come to mind along with Melissa (Tiny Happy) and Amanda (Soulemama) who are inspirational as mums, women and makers.

I shamelessly lifted the saying below from Robyn's blog. Frustrated that I feel like I am wasting my life away, yet knowing I don't want to be anywhere else because Rich and I are committed (willingly) to raising our kids ourselves especially during these early years. Unmotivated but not regretful. I am happy here I just wish I knew how to do it better. Lots of time to reflect, too much maybe. I hate this uncertain feeling, like being unravelled. How do all those women get so motivated at home? Is there a secret? Cause home is where I want to be ... do you have any ideas? Can anyone relate?

"I think every artist is more or less a recluse of some sort, secretly waiting for those moments when he will be alone with his art, searching, looking into the depths of himself. I guess the idea is never to stop discovering new hidden paths inside us." - Thinker

The idea that excites me the most is that perhaps my life is like a book and this is just another page turning with different adventures awaiting overleaf. Patience has never been my best asset. And those moments with my precious baby are pretty special. I know God ultimately has it in hand, just sometimes I would like more foresight and not so much hindsight! Sigh.


imbi star said...

loving the picture of foosh and choops lovely...nice to see you! You and yours are just great, big love, aroha.

Mama Bird said...

Love the knitting with kids, and teaching as a part of community life. I share many of the same opinions as you!
I have been told by my sister that I was 'obssessed with knitting' and obviously had a problem, but I think that to find craft (and knitting in particular) satisfying you have to be addicted to it.

Thanks for your honesty it is refreshing and what A LOT of women at home feel I think (but most are too afraid tooshare that)
Lovely to meet you the other week!

Bonnie (one of the newbies at the clever crafting project)