The dark winter days always make me turn inward. I'd love nothing more than to sit by the fire, knitting, with a glass of wine from late December until the snow thaws, thinking and creating. With little ones at home, that isn't exactly a reality. But I do find that the darkness brings about a natural period of introspection. (With a bit of added New Year's hype.)
It seems tempting to reflect on my personal/parenting journey over the past year separately from my business/designer journey. But the fact is, that as a work at home mom the two are so intertwined they cannot be sussed out from one another. My days are spent trying to juggle clothing, bathing, feeding and generally keeping two little people safe and happy. While I go about these all-consuming tasks my mind wanders, my anxiety and stress creeps in about what else I need to be doing but will have to wait for when my children sleep. Working on independent patterns gives me flexibility, and when I need to put something on the back burner in order to be more present for my children I can. But opportunities have come my way that are tied with hard fast deadlines, and these are not so easy to put down when my children are grumpy or tired, or come down with strep throat, or when I come down with their case of strep throat.
Being a work at home/stay at home mom is incredibly difficult. It is a societal role totally overlooked and undervalued. Cutting and ignorant comments about how my days are spent haunt me. (There seems to be an assumption by some that I am doing nothing all day while home with my children.) Our cultural norms surrounding work and parenting values could use some serious improvement. Living in a society that values working long, hard hours but does not value the same effort on the parenting front can do serious damage to a stay at home mother's self worth. EVERY moment not spent on my children (which is very, very little) is spent on my design work.
Which I love.
But it is an uphill battle. I have a constant inner dialogue. Is this a healthy balance? No, absolutely not. I stay up way too late, work on my designs instead of exercising, sleeping or socializing and cause myself unneeded stress. Maybe I should give it up? NO. I've turned it over in my head many times. Seriously considered it. Amongst the mundane tasks that comprise my days (cook, feed, clean, repeat) this is the thing that makes me feel creatively fulfilled. Should I keep going? How can I stop? I find so much fulfillment in it.
But I certainly could use a little more balance. Exercise. Social time. Time to reflect, think, write, and remember why all of the things in my life are so, so good. Yes to all of that.
As my design work has grown, this space has become more and more quiet. I've become torn over what this blog's purpose is; a personal journal or a marketing tool? When I first began blogging it was a space to share my thoughts, record our days and find joy in my everyday. As my audience has grown beyond just family and friends and a few like minded folk I've found myself feeling more and more private. With child number two I've also found/made less time for the things that aren't top priority (like knitting deadlines) and less time for things that are simply enjoyable (like blogging). I've come to realize how much I miss writing and recording my thoughts and how therapeutic writing is for me. It helps me clear my head, helps me see love and find gratitude in the midst of a busy life. Which is why I'm determined to give myself time to be in this space more in the coming year.
I welcome your feedback. I want to know why you come here, what you enjoy. What could you use more of? I welcome the return of conversation in this space, which has been pretty quiet of late.
In 2015 I published 19 patterns, independently and through publications. That's something to be proud of. And I am. But make no mistake, it wasn't easy.
2016 is going to be a big year. Already I have just as many projects slated for 2016, including a book project that I am so, so excited to share with you soon. I will certainly need your help to make it happen.
Amongst it all, I'll be trying to find a little balance and self care in this busy, wonderful life. The close of 2015 has found me tired (and recovering from a case of strep throat) but, so, so grateful. Thank you for your support. I can't wait to share what's in store.