Time

_MG_7986Sometimes I wish I had less interests, which sounds like an odd thing to say I’m sure.  The problem is that there is SO much I want to do everyday and there’s limited time to do it.  I want to work on sewing and knitting project, as well as home projects.  I want to visit my garden and spend time watering, harvesting and weeding.  I want to sneak in a work out (I am currently obsessed with boxing!). I long to catch up with friends over coffee.  I enjoy being in the kitchen trying new recipes along with old favorites.  I love reading.  I yearn to wander around town with my camera.  And that doesn’t even touch on larger interests that I’d love to pursue with abandon, such as travel. But most of my time at home goes into mothering and running a household- and I feel privileged to spend my days doing this, don’t get me wrong.  But you know how it goes….  Sometimes I even wonder if I should try to shift my mindset: less hobbies, less doing and more being.  Yet these things bring me great joy, and each one brings a different sort of joy.  Gardening invigorates me, knitting relaxes me, photography engages me…  This has all been on my mind lately as the busyness of fall begins and I find myself trying to carve out a minute here or there.  It has also been on my mind ever since I read Felicia’s post on “Craft in the Middle of Motherhood.”  There are weeks, and months, and even years where these “hobbies” have been my lifeline, drawing me back to my whole self when I was lost in the fog of new motherhood.

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_MG_7964As mother’s we are hardwired to feel guilt, I suppose.  Are we doing enough?  Are we giving enough?  Are we providing enough?  There are times when my guilt wells up- when I lose my patience and snap at the boys for something silly, or when I’m knitting on the couch and they ask me to play.  Often it is evening time, and I’ve been caring for them all day, cooking for them, swimming with them, reading to them, and I just need a minute to unwind.  But I feel guilty because I know they would love for me to play, and I know this time is fleeting and there will be a day when they want nothing to do with me.  But where is that line between preserving one’s sanity, and cherishing every moment with your children?  I don’t know the answer to this question, though it is one that I frequently ask myself.  For now all I know is this- the vines were heavy with tomatoes, and the kale was overgrown, and the garden called for my attention, and I spent the evening hours there and it felt so good.  That will have to be enough for now.

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14 thoughts on “Time

  1. Anna

    This really resonates with me. I have so many things I want to do and the wish to carve out some sort of creative career but I often wonder if I should just put it all aside until I get past the early years of being a mother. But giving up the creative work that means so much to me is not the right way, either. I’ve been enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast Magic Lessons (I listen to it while sewing or cooking) and there are a couple of episodes where she touches on these things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I often struggle to express these challenges to other people so it is good to know that I am not alone!

    Reply
  2. Nina

    I can COMPLETELY relate to this. First off, I do think that women are hard-wired to heap personal guilt on ourselves. Your first paragraph is me completely. I have soooo many interests, but don’t actually know how to do many of them (gardening, photography, cooking, sewing, crocheting, drawing, many other forms of creating, etc.), so I have to actually find the time to learn them before I can really get into doing them. Additionally, I too would love to find time to read (I have a huge stack of books waiting to be read) and sight see, etc. I work 2-3 jobs so it’s hard to find time for any of it. I’m trying to find peace with just doing a 1-3 of these things at a time. Otherwise, I end up becoming paralyzed when I do have a free moment because there are so many different directions in which I could/want to go and I end up doing none of them.

    Reply
    1. cchitnis Post author

      I hear you Caitlin- I’m guilty of that thinking as well. I think it is so important not to label ourselves, but instead to let our interests and hobbies just be a part of our greater whole. I often kick myself for going to school for Environmental Science and Biology. “I’m a photographer and writer, not a scientist. What was I thinking?” But I’ve come to understand that that part of my education informs everything that I do, and it is a part of my story, and I wouldn’t change it because it set me on this life path that I love so dearly.

      Reply
  3. Maureen

    Ditto to all of the above! I read blogs, scour the internet, and browse Pinterest…far too many wonderful ideas…passionate about far too many hobbies! I’ve learned there is no better time than today – I’m retired and am still overwhelmed with commitments and not enough time to make all the wonderful things I want to make. We all fill up our days in so many wonderful ways – and it truly doesn’t change all that much once your children are grown. Steal snippets of time here and there for your passions, and enjoy every minute you can with your young family…our children grow and leave us at an alarmingly fast pace!

    Reply
    1. cchitnis Post author

      There is almost too much inspiration out there, I swear! When I spend too much time browsing blogs and Pinterest I become stifled- should I cook, sew, knit? Oooh- that recipe looks good. Ooh- I just have to drop everything and try that craft. I’m learning to slowly back away from the computer and remain calm in the face of all that inspiration!!! :0

      Reply
  4. Xan

    I read that post of Felicia’s back when she published it and I remember wanting to say so much (too much) that it silenced me altogether and I ended up not commenting at all. So many of your posts and her’s leave me longing to just sit and chat for hours with the two of you. I feel somewhat relieved and grateful that so many of us mother’s feel this same way… none of us are alone in this push and pull and passion and desire AND guilt. Urgh that guilt is a triple headed demon! I’m so glad your managing to get out into your garden… what a gorgeous bounty!!! And this bit…”Gardening invigorates me, knitting relaxes me, photography engages me…” Oh that is exactly how I describe the effect those things have of me. Just bliss aren’t they!?! My list of projects and passions is endless – just as yours is. It’s that self-care thing… such a tricky balance to practice. xo

    Reply
  5. Cynthia

    To you Christine and all the mothers of littles: you are doing a wonderful job and your children are thriving! Knit while they play on the floor in front of you, draw and paint with them and see your own skills improve, leave them with Papa whenever you can so he can experience the joy of managing on his own (it will be different than how you do it and let it be!). Learn to be a morning person and get up two hours before your earliest riser. A cup of something hot and your writing or reading will be well worth it. Engage the children in daily chores to help keep the home…even two year olds can help and by five, you will have able assistance. And when they’re all in school, you will have a nice chunk of time to further pursue your own interests. P.S. There will never be a time when your boys want “nothing to do with you”…they will become less demanding, yes, and be out of the house more, but they will always want to check back in with Mama and will always enjoy favorite meals, a fill fridge, and knowing that home is their rock and safety net.

    Reply
  6. Gina Foresta

    As a mother of two who considers herself a “multipotentialite” (to steal a word coined by Emilie Wapnick), I can relate on so many levels to your post. It is a daily struggle. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by all of the things I want to do or think I “should” be doing that I end up doing nothing and being not much fun to live with.

    I love to make the majority of my family’s food from scratch and this means our kitchen looks like an industrial kitchen much of the time. This is an ongoing paradoxical argument between my husband and myself. He hates all of the clean up but would also hate the money we would spend if we ate out or bought takeout. I look at all of the jars I have canned on my pantry shelf and while it makes me happy, it also stings a bit as I think of all of the time I spent in the kitchen instead of with my children. To them my time is much more valuable than the home-canned salsa. To me though, the value of knowing what is going into their bodies represents love.

    It is definitely a challenge. I often feel that my creative pursuits are only important to me and that the value of the products produced is seen only by me. But then I see my children choose the homemade pj pants over the store-bought, or snuggle up with the handmade lovey over the commercial stuffed animal and I know it means something to them.

    I feel like the most important element is how most of my creative ventures are done at home, which means that even when I am involved in them I am still with my children. And as we have grown together I realize that consistency is much more important in their lives than grand adventures and excursions. I am around and my attention is woven into their days and vice versa. I am a constant in their lives and they are learning the sacredness of caring for a home and for ourselves.

    Reply
    1. cchitnis Post author

      I so relate to what you’ve written here, Gina. I often wonder whether my family truly appreciates the things that I spend time making/ doing, whether it be a tidy home or homemade food, as much as they would appreciate me just playing with them all the time! But then I think back to my own childhood and I realize I don’t remember my mom “playing” with me, but rather sharing her interests with me- cooking, nature walks, sewing, crafting- she introduced me gently to the things that were important to her, while still giving me the space to pursue my own passions. As an adult I find myself circling back to all the things I learned from her. Sure, there were countless hours she spent playing with us, but as it turns out, that’s not what impacted me the most. It was the very nature of “home” and all the homemade, homespun goodness that it defined.

      Sending you lots of love on your path!

      Reply
  7. Dena

    Christine,

    Re: Divided Heart – I work in a metropolitan library and whenever our system does not carry a copy of a book requested by a customer, we usually try to do an ILL. Look into it! I’ve gotten my hands on a book that had only 3 copies available in the world and mine came from Korea!

    Reply

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