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.