Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why Sewing Makes Me a Better Mama

This year for the first time I made a serious New Year's resolution and actually kept it.  Three and a half months down and still going strong.  I resolved to spend at least 5 minutes a day in my craft room, all by myself, making.  I really think that choosing to craft over dishes, laundry, and all the other things I could be doing with naptime has made me a far better wife and mother. I'm nicer to Jon and Soph, less frustrated, and more centered.  

I should go back a bit.  I think I can legitimately claim that Sophie was a "difficult" baby.  We had serious nursing problems, and I spent ten weeks pumping 8 times a day without results before calling it quits.  She had a milk intolerance, which resulted in months of nonstop screaming before we got her on the right formula.  I used to walk her for hours, and when I went out on the deck I could hear her screams echoing off the other houses.  Then I would think, "I'd better go back inside before one of us goes sailing off this deck." We had a couple episodes of croup, landing us in the ER. And we still don't sleep through the night.  Combine that with me working nights and, as a result, Jon doing almost all of the nighttime parenting duties, and we were kind of a wreck by the end of the first year.

On a real date!

On New Year's eve, Soph's first birthday, Jon and I sat down to take stock and we realized we both felt really lost.  I didn't feel like myself.  I didn't even know who 'me' was.  So we resolved to take time for ourselves.  We were no good to each other or to Soph like this.  (the fact that the f-bomb was Sophie's third work might indicate to you that tempers were running a little short.) For me, this meant quiet crafting.  For Jon, it's prioritizing running and hockey.

Sewing has given me a center like nothing else could.  I feel quiet and peaceful when I'm sewing.  I usually don't even play music, and I thoughtfully take my time.  I enjoy all of the "boring" things I used to rush through: pressing, seam ripping, tracing and augmenting my patterns.  It makes me feel valued by myself and by Jon, who will take baby duty so I can sew if I didn't get the chance to during the day. I in turn try to value his workout time, and do extra Soph time so he can run, even though I've been with her all day and want to throw her at him when he walks in the door.

No way was she gonna touch that guy
Prioritizing ourselves is not selfish, it's just the opposite.  It's the best thing we can do for our baby.  Not only are we nicer to her when we're with her, but we're showing her that it's important to be a whole person. When Jon tells her as she gets older, "don't bother Mom right now, she's sewing," and when she sees us going out with friends and pursuing other interests, it will teach her how to be well-rounded, and how to value herself and pursue her interests.  When we prioritize our marriage over her every want and whim, it will help her to know what to look for when she is seeking a good relationship with a good man (or woman) who treats her with respect.  To help my daughter grow into a strong and independent woman, I have to BE a strong and independent woman.  Maybe sewing doesn't seem like it accomplishes that, but to me it means so much more than making clothes.  It means valuing myself, and not getting into the habit of putting myself last. I leave the dishes for later because I don't want to look back in twenty years and have the dishes define my life. It's a simple enough realization, but after spending the last year pretty unhappy and lost, this is a pretty big deal for me.

And that's why I think sewing makes me a better Mama: spending time away from my girl might just be the best thing I can do for her.  


  1. so awesome! i can totally relate.

  2. LOVE this. I can so relate. I told Jared before we had kids that I didn't want to be that couple who puts their kids first always. We have to put each other first. We do want what is best for our kids, and parents that are happily married are a benefit to them too. That being said, three little kids makes that a challenge some days...

    Kudos to you for figuring out the 5 minutes a day that make you truly happy. Plus your stuff turns out pretty damn cute!