(Not doing it all.)

Plane Trails

Someone told me recently that it must be amazing being me, and ‘getting to dye yarn all day.’

Hey – I’d love to be me too! That sounds brilliant!

It’s not true though. Yarn dyeing has to find it’s place amongst a toddler and a baby, and washing and food shopping, and keeping up with the allotment, and keeping up with the house, and trying to make improvements to said house so that next winter we’re not as cold as we were last winter.

I make things because I love making things, and because I am compelled to make things. And because I really like knowing where something came from. And because I can’t afford to buy lots of nice things, but I can afford some of the supplies to make some of them myself.  So that has to wedge itself into snippets of time where possible.

Nicole Shiffler at The Sleepytime Gal, wrote today about perfection

This perfection for oneself, one’s family, one’s home, one’s abilities, one’s children is rapidly debilitating women and, more importantly, mothers.  Many of you that I have talked to carry the same burden.

That and some personal experiences I’ve had recently, really struck a nerve.

I’ve only been doing this parenting lark for three years or so, and Oxford Kitchen Yarns has existed about a year longer than that – which is really not much time at all.

I am sometimes confident, and sometimes totally winging it.

I am sometimes confident, and sometimes a mass of exposed nerves – deeply hurt by random comments or looks, deeply protective of my children who are – at the very worst – only acting their age.

But I feel like both these aspects of my life (along with trying to work on our house) is lived inside a giant fishbowl. People have opinions – family have opinions. People feel compelled to ask if you’ve ‘thought it through’ – as if the things you deliberated over were pulled like a bunch of magic flowers from your sleeve, rather than the culmination of hours and weeks, and months and – sometimes even years – of thought, and conversations and soul searching.

I love my life, but that doesn’t stop me feeling tired, doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad that I’m writing this one handed while trying to stop my son from being to rough with his baby sister, who is attempting to wiggle off my knee. I probably shouldn’t be writing this now. I feel like I shouldn’t be writing this at all.

But maybe when I get my act together and write new posts about the clothes I’ve made the children, and the bag I made for myself, and – yes – even – the yarn that is waiting patiently to be put on sale in the shop – you will remember this rambling post. You will remember that life is a lot more complicated than it looks through the lense of a blog, and this will have done some good.

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13 thoughts on “(Not doing it all.)

    1. Definately!

      Also, I have an idea – I’m going to make this post a link in a footer and try adding the footer to my posts – a sort of ‘hey look at this photo and these cool things… ps. Don’t forget, that it’s not all like that and that the person behind this blog isn’t at all perfect and that is ok.’ only – you know – succinctly. 😉

      That feels like a longer lasting revolutionary act. A reminder of sorts.

  1. I’m seriously impressed by all you do! I have one less child, no allotment, and no home business and I find life difficult. Also, I saw all that beautiful yarn hanging out in your living room!

    1. In many respects it’s A LOT easier now than it was two years ago when FB was B’s age – FB can play alone for periods of time, and LR currently has a decent length nap during the day, and goes down for a reasonable amount of sleep in the evening. plus i have more stamina now than i had when FB was 6 months old.

      Plus i have two more years of seeing that this is the life i have and the life i have chosen, and that makes it easier to juggle things around and around until they work. oh wait – i don’t mean easier – i mean I have no choice but to… 😉

  2. Before I left work to have children, only a couple of years ago, I remember my (female, childless) boss saying that she ‘couldn’t see me subsiding into motherhood’. People have no idea, really, do they? All the hard work and irritations of my old job seem positively restful compared with life caring for two toddlers. I’m about to read Rebecca Asher’s new book ‘Shattered’, which I’m expecting to be a bit irritated by – but I’m also hoping it’s got some good stuff too, about the whole ridiculous perfection thing.

    1. *sigh* I don’t much like talking about motherhood with people who aren’t parents (it’s hard enough with people who are parents given that i’m always nervous of making someone feel bad, or feeling the need to justify any of our parenting decisions… especially when i’m feeling emotionally raw), since it’s really easy to sprout off about what they think parenting is like. or what children are like. OR what children should be like!

      Shattered looks really interesting, though – like you – i’d be nervous about pissing myself off with ‘how things are’ compared to how I would like it to be. (I read Three Shoes, One Sock and No hairbrush after I had FB and though it was very interesting in part, and makes some important points, I felt it was too bleak, especially compared to my actual experiences. (Though i’m sure it really spoke to, and was a great comfort to other people.)

      One of the things I find hard, is the way I feel very judged by our parents – they think the kids are wonderful, but they wouldn’t/don’t approve of all these things we have ended up doing – co-sleeping, extended bfing, baby led weaning etc. Or rather they end up coming around but it’s a bit like pulling teeth explaining and defending your decisions all the time. And in the meantime there are the ‘jokes’ and clever things said. Which I find hurtful – especially since I’m usually so blindsided that i don’t say anything at the time…

      Plus they keep suggesting that I design things to sell and get them made up in China, when they ask me about OKY or my craft work.

      (this reply is turning into a rant isn’t it? sorry…)

      1. Parents and in-laws can be hopeless… We’re very lucky with ours, thankfully, but I’ve known some who seem to think their (often rather odd) opinion is crucial to the proper running of their son/daughter-in-law’s home and family…. I think if they think your kids are wonderful, then who are they to criticize the means by which they got that way?

        And the China thing…..oh dear…..sounds like a moment for ‘I’m sure they mean well’…..

        Ranting entirely justified!

  3. absolutely agree. we are being sold a lie when women are told they can ‘have it all’. i’ve not met one mother who didn’t feel a bit guilty about the choices she’s made, whether to work, ‘stay at home’, do both… etc. it’s impossible to feel like you’ve got the balance (or anything else for that matter) ‘right’. was it you who read and recommended the book ‘what mothers do’? i bought and read it and LOVED it. the best book about motherhood – i felt like someone had listened to all my internal thoughts and wrestlings and given them a voice and value. i too love being a mum and wouldn’t swap it for anything but i agree that it doesn’t mean life is easy or fun all the time.

    i also love what you wrote about typing one handed while fending off children as it’s the exact same picture here!!

    thanks for being real 🙂

    1. I’m SO GLAD you enjoyed What Mother’s Do! It is my comfort blanket when I need a dose of mothering reality! Every page basically tells me ‘you are not alone!’ I LOVE IT!

      thanks for being real 🙂

      It’s hard – it’s really hard even dipping my toes into the water, especially since I know my family read this blog, and I really don’t want to offend them. but it really helps to say have these conversations – thank you so much for being part of that. it has brought me a lot of peace.

  4. Some people have no idea, do they. I have my mum round the corner to help me and one child at nursery part of the week, and I still find I only just manage to keep us all fed, clothed, and in a broadly reasonable state of sanitation!

    1. What’s scary is *who* has no idea! Random people I don’t know I can handle – the stuff closer to home is so much harder!

      And yes, I totally agree – at the moment I’m finding the sanitation side of things tough since most things in the house are currently so worn and in need of redecoration that it’s almost impossible to keep it looking properly clean. this is freaking both W and I out quite a bit. but at the same time we can’t just go hell for leather doing up the house. so we have to be patient and try very hard not to care what everyone else thinks – we know it’s not dirty. it’s just harder to prove against yellowy paintwork and unfinished wood.

      1. Well, in general I think that people with perfect houses either have nothing else to do with their time, or are paying someone else to keep it looking pristine. The rest of the world, meanwhile, cleans to whatever level feels bearable, and then gets on with the more interesting stuff.

  5. A very wise person (whose name I can’t remember) once said, “You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.”

    That really helped me get through those early parenting years, when juggling the pressures of parenthood, a full-time job, aging parents, and my own enormous guilt complex seemed more than I could bear. Now my kids are 7 and 9, and I feel much more equilibrium. It’s true that you can’t give everything your all. You can’t be a 100% dedicated worker, a 100% dedicated parent, a 100% dedicated wife, and a 100% dedicated self, all at the same time. Some days you give more to your kids than to your husband. Some days you give more to your job than your family. And some days (if you allow yourself), you give more to yourself than to any of the others. And that’s normal and okay, and frankly, it’s pretty darn healthy.

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