Create, Live, Write, Yours Truly

It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

November 6, 2013

One Thursday night, around a month ago, after I had been putting pictures of my work from my printing evening course on Instagram and sharing them on Twitter I came home to see this tweet in my @ column.


I tried to just ignore it but in the end I tweeted the person a few times saying that well, some of those things are what I do for a living, my house is never clean, I am quite disorganised etc. Then I was mad at myself for justifying myself. So then I added that it is always possible to make time for something if you love it enough. The person felt that if you work then this isn’t as easy as all that and I do accept that, but even when I was working outside of the home I still managed to make time to sew, just like I made time to be with my children.

I don’t want to discuss working vs stay at home mums. I have tried to inore this tweet and how it made me feel for a whole month but you know when something is just there, on the edge of your consciousness, niggling at you? Yep, it is that tweet.

And then I was reading All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and in the first essay ‘This isn’t working’ she tells the story of sitting waiting for an appointment in an office with another woman. The author is knitting as she waits and the other person is simply waiting. After chatting a while they start talking and the woman says “I wish I had the time to knit, but I am just too busy”.

And the author has this to say (amongst many other things!)

“She must have understood the concept of waiting or sitting idly for hours on end, but having something productive to fill that idle time? She couldn’t understand that…….How did doing something productive become a symbol of having idle time, while being idle is seen as having no time”

That really struck a note with me. Yes, I have time to sew and to blog because that is how I earn my money and contribute to this household. I go to an evening class once a week to learn something new. I crochet when I am traveling and waiting, I crochet when I am waiting for a napping child in the car, when I watch televison at night. I don’t have time to read until the evenings and I find it too tiring so I have discovered audiobooks. Now I listen to books all day long, as I cook, clean, drive people from here to there. I iron and fold laundry in the evening as I watch my favourite TV programs.

I never watch a TV program when it is aired, we record everything and watch it back, which means we skip the adverts. I don’t watch reality TV.I don’t read magazines (well maybe the odd quilting one). I couldn’t pick a member of One Direction or Towie out of a line up and I cannot name a single Xfactor contestant. I read blogs on my phone when I have a five minute sit down or as I am waiting for my children to go to sleep. I use technology to make my life easier, everything is done on my phone as much as possible. Just because I spend my life making things it doesn’t mean that I have more free time than everyone else.

Yes I have a creative life filled with making and sharing things. But that isn’t all. I just don’t post pictures on Instagram or Twitter of the state my front room is in, or how many times my kids get me up each night. I don’t share the pictures of the last minute rush to get the lunches made in the morning when I should have done them the night before. I also don’t have the fulfillment I got from my career before children and my confidence has really suffered as a result. I am still depressed two and a half years after having Kate and there are certain things I know I need in my life to get through this day, this week, to next month.

I don’t know if writing this will make me feel better but it has helped me realised that the problem with that tweet is that they were compaing their life to a snapshot of mine and that will always give you the wrong impression. I have had this picture on my phone (screen shot of the wise words posted by Lottie) for ages after someone pointed it out to me and this just sums up how I now feel about the whole subject.

Words to live by

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  • Reply Jen aka The Mad House November 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    You shouldnt have to justify how you spend your time. Blogging is how I pay the bills. it doesn’t mean I am a bad mum.

    I sew when I sit down with my husband and watch something we have recorded. I made time to go to a sewing lesson once a week.

    “Comparison is the thief of joy” and the person that send you that tweet sounds rather joyless at the moment.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

      I like that, Comparison is the thief of joy. One to remember.

  • Reply caroljs November 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I am so with you on this. I blog, tweet etc for a living. I crochet at night when the children are in bed and we are watching TV.

    I find you can always find time for the things you love if you want to. xx

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Yes you really do. I don’t like cleaning so I always seem too busy to do that 😉

  • Reply Cally November 6, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Kelly, that person’s tweet says more about them than it does about you. It’s them feeling insecure, like they’re not doing enough, like they’re somehow failing. People ask me all the time how I find the time to write and say they would too if they ‘had the time’. But I don’t really watch tele, I don’t get enough sleep because I stay up late, my house is messy and my partner is great at taking our son out at the weekends so I can write. If you want something enough you will pull out all the stops to do it and fit it into your life. Be proud of what you produce and keep sharing them. For every tweeter that feels bad that they’re not doing crafts you’re inspiring 99 others. X

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Thank you Cally for saying that I inspire others. I am just happily doing what I do but thinking of it that way makes me feel very happy indeed.

  • Reply Catherine November 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    It’s such a shame that some people feel need to belittle what other’s enjoy to do. Think some mothers who go back to work after children think stay at home mums have tons of time on their hands, have no motivation, no focus etc and sit around watching mind numbing day time TV all day.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Thank you Catherine. It is a shame isn’t it? Motivation can be hard in all circumstances too can’t it? I know when I was working I would have days where I found it hard to get going, it doesn’t matter what we are doing.

  • Reply Shevvy November 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I do wish sometimes people remembered the old adages on social media. Never talk religion and politics and if you haven’t anything nice to say, say nothing.
    Just because someone is jealous or unhappy or whatever it is at the root of them comparing themselves with you, it is no excuse. It’s just bad manners. And such thoughtless words can clearly hurt.
    I hope writing this post can help you come to terms with it.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Yes exactly. Really rude and just plain bad manners. Thank you for commenting.

  • Reply Helen Lay November 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I know exactly what you mean – I get it because I work full time & have 2 big voluntary commitments as well as doing crafts. But I say to people that we all have different thresholds of what we can manage and how bad we can let our homes get!

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Yes indeed. And we have different personalities and different needs. If I didn’t have tme to be creative I would be very unhappy, so I make sure that is part of my life.

  • Reply liveotherwise November 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I let a tweet about home education as a vanity project get under my skin a week ago, and eventually blogged it. Found most people didn’t think of it that way, but one person described it as a luxury because we can afford to do it. We afford it because it’s the priority we’ve chosen. That doesn’t make it s luxury.

    Your way of life is what you’ve chosen. It’s not a luxury, it’s your priority. My way of saying that quote is don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides. But it’s hard.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:59 am

      It is hard with everything being so open and shared these days with Twitter and Facebook, Instagram and everything else. I also think that what some people might see as a lighthearted comment as they write it can come across as criticism when it was not necessarily meant that way. It is hard to understand some comments without facial expressions and tone as well.

  • Reply (Mostly) Yummy Mummy November 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Others have already said this but I do think that this says a lot about their insecurities. Just a terribly thoughtless thing to tweet. You shouldn’t ever feel that you have to justify your time – your life! I’m so sorry that this has been preying on your mind though and hope that writing it down has helped. Much love x

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Thank you lovely. It was just one of those niggly things. Partly I was wondering if I was just being too sensitive. Onwards and upwards 🙂

  • Reply Karen November 6, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    It still amazes me every time I see someone put out such negative energy on Twitter or on Facebook for that matter, infact on any social platform about something or someone else, why do people think it’s OK to step on other people’s good intentions. It would be lovely to see more support and acknowledgement towards fellow bloggers and tweeters, ultimately if they don’t like what they see they can just can just un follow, silly comments are not necessary!
    I’m glad that writing this down has helped, I love that you are passionate and find the time to do what you enjoy and what makes you happy, I can see it’s not always easy for you but ultimately you are doing something for you that gives you a warm glow and that’s fab, I wish I could be more of a multitasker like you – I feel inspired by you to more creative with my time rather than feeling the need to compare or put you down, right I think my comment is getting a bit rambly now, great post, lovely blog, glad I found it! X

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Thank you for your kind comment Karen and welcome! The reason I love the internet, twitter and blogging so much is the support and the fact I feel there is a load of people out there somewhere on my side, helping me deal with all of the stuff each day brings. I think everyone should just be nice.

  • Reply Liz Burton November 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Everything you’ve written here so perfectly strikes a chord. I just wish you didn’t have to feel you need to justify your life. x

    • Reply Kelly November 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      I wish I hadn’t! It is very easy with hindsight to see I should have left well alone!

  • Reply Helenw71 November 7, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I’m glad that you’ve written this post as I hope it’s helped you more than making those justifications you initially replied with. Whilst I’m sure the author intended to be humorous, it was a little thoughtless. What gets me is how people think they can judge anyone else’s lives without knowing the circumstances. I’m chronically fatigued & I’m sure people think I’m nuts up late every night when I suffer fatigue as an illness. However insomnia & sleep disruption is one of the main symptoms. I would be awake anyway, I’ve found twitter & reading blogs helps me relax. It’s back to the old “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” – I guess we’re all guilty of it to some degree. Anyway, for the record, I’ve enjoyed seeing pics of the courses you do & the work you produce – please don’t feel self-conscious about posting them.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Thank you Helen. You are one of the best tweeters I know, you really get the community aspect of it and support loads of people and are very kind and thoughtful.

  • Reply Heather November 7, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I actually think the title of your post sums it up perfectly. As someone who really struggles to find time for myself in amongst the mayhem of life with small children, I think you provide a brilliant role model and there’s a lot that we can all learn from you and your understanding of yourself and what you need to do to keep your head above water. We are each responsible for how we manage our time, and it’s up for us to find the time to do something we love, just as you have. I also have that quote that Lottie posted saved on my phone and I would do well to look at it more often, as I’m terrible at comparing my life to others and ending up feeling negative and disillusioned.

    Oh and please don’t stop sharing your creations on your blog/twitter/ig/fb because I find them inspiring.

    Big love. xx

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

      You are the someone that pointed out that quote to me and I really think about that quite a lot when I am sharing stuff. I do wonder if it would be better if I sharded the lows as well as the highs. I think I do that here on his blog, but not on Twitter & IG because I don’t think that is the place for it.

      I will keep sharing with you I promise x

  • Reply zooarcaheologist November 7, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Twitter can be a mean place sometimes! I often wonder how people have time to craft etc, but then I do myself (just very slowly). Life is all about priorities and doing what makes you happy and I think that sometimes these people who make direct comments to people are saying more about themselves than others. I find your craft stuff totally inspirational and I wish I could manage to do even half of it. Life is short, make the most of what makes you happy and dont worry about other people. Also I should say that you could read that comment two ways, I would have taken it as a sort of compliment nowadays and thought nothing of it because after intensive CBT for anxiety I think you need to think about things from the best perspective for you. Keep it all up you’re one of the few bloggers I read and I love the way your blog and life have evolved. xx

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I like the idea of looking at it from the best perspective for me. I think that if the person had tweeted me directly I wouldn’t have cared, it was just the way it was shared with everyone felt like a criticism oh and the way it was written upset me.

      Thank you for your kind words about my blog. It is really lovely to know you are still reading and enjoying it.

  • Reply Sarah Tilby November 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Sis your time is your own to do with as you choose. Dont let anyone make you feel guilty for what you choose to do. I know you are a loving caring mum who has all the time in the world for you children. You just make extra to do what you want to do! Love you xxx

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Love you too, thanks Sez x

  • Reply snafflesmummmy November 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    You wouldn’t be you without those things.
    I have far too many commitments yet I still find/make time to craft. It is what makes me me and without it I am not a happy person.
    I never just “sit” every second is filled with the people and things I love. Sitting doing things creatively does not come at the expense of work/family/friends etc. These things co-exist. My friends join me to craft, we teach each other things, they leaf through books and put their own requests in. My family take joy in helping me craft and join me in the planning and choosing of projects. My children are not sat abandoned in front of the TV just because I want to crochet.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:09 am

      I love this idea of coexisting. I need to find ways to make my hobbies more sociable I think, for my own benefit.

  • Reply Peggy November 7, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I am not sure what to add that hasn’t been said already so all I will say is that I can’t believe anyone has to justify how they use their time. You are doing something you love to keep your spirit up. Keep doing it! Ignore the cleaning chores and housework if you must. If this makes you happy, you are onto a winner because a happy mum is a happy family. Anyone saying anything negative about it, is really saying they haven’t found that thing that brightens up their day and that’s a shame xx

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:10 am

      A happy mum is a happy family – you are so right. Thank you for your kind words x

  • Reply Kat November 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I read a post by a guy who had visited every country in the world within a ten year period. He made the same point – he made travel his priority and was ruthless about his spending in other areas.

    Easy to think the grass is greener x

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

      You are so good at making the same point as I did in three paragraphs.

      You just did it in three sentences. Impressive.

  • Reply Carie November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I’d like to hope it was maybe meant to be a slightly jovial comment and it just didn’t come across in the text, but it’s hard to read it that way.

    What a bizarre thing to say to someone without knowing the minutiae of their life! Maybe you’ve discovered that you don’t need much sleep, maybe you have invented a time turner (in which case please to share!), or maybe you just have different priorities to the writer and find (like me and many others) that the creativity, the blogging, the knitting and all the rest of it is what anchors you to being you and helps you to be the very best parent and all round human being that you can be.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Yes it is just that. It anchors me to myself and makes me a happier and calmer, less anxious person. So we all win, I am happier and people get lovely gifts or things made by me.

  • Reply Mummylimited November 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Oh, so many things to say, so, so many. Firstly, that tweet has now made me cross twice before going to bed. Once when it happened and again when I read this last night and realised you were still bothered by it.

    You absolutely don’t need to justify yourself and in some ways I do feel you still are. You don’t have to roll your eyes and self-depricate, by saying your house is a mess or even that you do these things to make money. I know that you did them all before you made money out of them and just because you make the most of your time, doesn’t mean you therefore have to be lacking in other areas, such as housework. You are a creative person, who can clearly be bothered to do things and that is something you should be proud of.

    As for the person that wrote this tweet, the other commenters are correct it is about her insecurities, but also I believe she is just not really very nice. A bit of a school playground bully and what I would like to say to her and wish I had at the time is this: I do not believe that she spends 24 hours a day, either, mothering, sleeping or working. Therefore, she must have some time that is hers to do what she likes with. If that is chatting to friends, going out, watching rubbish tele or shoppping, then that is all find and totally acceptable. However, she could also choose to crochet, sew or take an evening class and she doesn’t. You may not be wanting to start a fight between working and stay at home mums (quite rightly), but I am afraid, I think that she was and frankly, lovely, you don’t need that shit. xx

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

      I was cross at myself for justifying it but I just couldn’t leave it alone! You are very right though, I don’t need this shit. Love that x

  • Reply Sarah Lou November 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

    The only person you have to justify your actions to is yourself, and you obviously get a lot out of what you do. I love looking at your creations, it gives me Hope as a mother of a newborn that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that some sort of normality will return. The tweet just smacks of jealousy.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Awww newborn baby. Having children was the start of my creative journey, I can’t imagine life without making these, yet just over 4 years ago I did nothing. Life will never be nor,al again but it is a lot of fun xxx

  • Reply Ben November 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Thought I’d add a male view to the comments, a friend said similar to me recently ‘I don’t know how you find the time to run’. Well it’s simple really I love running so I get up at 5.40am most days of the week rain or shine and do it. Right now that means running with a head torch.
    Everyone has some element of free time and also most likely ‘dead’ time when waiting or commuting. It’s your choice whether the make that time productive or not.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:15 am

      Thank you Ben. I think you are totally crazy for getting up when your kids are asleep but I still love your early morning tweets when you are off on or just back from a run. Everyone is different, and that is a wonderful thing.

  • Reply Katie Albury November 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Wow. This post has really made me think. Firstly I am annoyed for you that you feel you have to justify yourself to someone who clearly has issues with the way others conduct their lives in a positive and successful manner. These are the type of people who abuse celebrities and insult others out of pure jealousy. If she doesn’t like what you do- don’t follow or read about your achievements. If people don’t have anything nice or positive to say- don’t say anything at all.

    Don’t let someone like this put a dampener on all the great things you have achieved and the positive way you live your life.

    Katie x

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Thank you for your comment. If anything this person has made me feel more determined to fill my days with good things.

  • Reply @700words November 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I thought this was a very well-written post, and very insightful. The quote at the end is excellent, and I think most people are guilty of seeing the best in everyone else and the worst in themselves. You don’t have to defend yourself to someone else’s jealousy, but I can completely understand wanting to, particularly when it is tied up in much deeper things about your role within the home (and out of it), and within a society that often seems to place value on being stressed and busy as equivalent to important and meaningful. If you happen to be able to do something you enjoy, and make a living out of it, that to me is one of life’s ultimate goals.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:20 am

      “a society that often seems to place value on being stressed and busy as equivalent to important and meaningful.”

      Oh yes exactly. As if the more stressed you are the more important you are. So silly.
      People are funny things.

  • Reply Jay November 11, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I’m on twitter but I don’t really understand it! Why do people tweet negative things to people they don’t know?
    I’ve been mulling over a sharp email from a member of our book group all weekend – aimed at the rest of the group not just me. The general feeling was not to reply at all but I did, I was getting too wound up not to!
    I’ve decided that some people just like a moan and are never going to be happy!

    I hope you can forget it and have a good week.

    • Reply Kelly November 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

      I think the fact that it is through an annonymous computer makes people braver and also meaner. I never write or tweet anything I wouldn’t say to my mum. That rule keeps me safe 🙂

  • Reply Make do mum November 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I don’t know the context of that tweet but it comes across as pretty mean to single out one person. Like you say, you can make time if you really want to, and for most of us our sanity would hang in the balance if we didn’t have some kind of escape. I’d much rather have a messy house and be happy doing something creative x

    • Reply Kelly November 15, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Thank you lovely lady x

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