Monday, May 31, 2010
portrait by the Wee Guy on our day out
So, May 2010. What did I learn?
Well, I took a week off work and suprisingly, it wasn't all about shoes though they did figure large in in my end-of-week summary!
So what did I learn?
Well, I learned that I have to schedule my time off and be firm with boundaries. It's a nebulous enough existence being the at-home parent so it's so easy to just drift .... a little sock needs picking up here, oh and 'I'll just prep these for tonight' there or 'while I'm in the mall I might as well look for x, y, z for the family too'. Boundaries!
I learned that there are certain things that cannot be abandoned, like childcare, parenting and matters of hygiene around the house!
I also learned that I needed to write a list of what I wanted to do with my leisure time and that this list did in fact work out OK.
I learned that I can have fun on a small budget, and that daily treats needn't be big, huge, lavish occasions. Small treat moments have the same impact. The important thing is to learn what these treats are and reward yourself regularly! V motivational.
I learned that not everyone has the ability to reward themselves with time off even though it's there right under their noses.
Since my week off I've been back into the swing of things fulltime. The housework was there waiting for me when I 'returned', my craft business was still on the go, and volunteer duties needed to be filled. I've carried over some of that wonderful 'vacation' feeling into regular life by getting out and about every day rather than sitting cooped up (which is the main problem with an 'out of the home' worklife) so the Wee Guy and I have managed to fill his playdate void with some cool trips/activities. Taking some 'time off' has also let me focus on the bigger picture - I had headspace to ask (and answer) some tricky questions, and also to develop some streamlining techniques for 'in real life'.
I've looked more into what I value most, what I like/dislike about life right now, and where do I want to go. I've also faced the egocentricity of what I'm doing/thinking, realising that in fact everything I do/have done is in, around and in spite of the family anyway. Decisions made for me, myself, I are taken in total consideration of the Wee Guy anyway.
"We give our children life. How, then, can we expect to keep our own intact afterward? But we do. We haven't yet recognized our new position in the natural order of things, and we keep trying to return to where we were before. At first, out of innocence: let me get back my looks. let me get back my energy. let me get back into the swing of things. Then with ferocious will: Let me get back into my life!" - Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Miller
"I find that there are many gifts in this space of quiet pausing between who I was, and who I will become." - Buddhism for Mothers, Joanne
"A mother best serves her child who serves herself." - Buddha
with thanks to Mama Renew for the quotes above
Sunday, May 30, 2010
"starfruit limeburst": wire and fibre flower brooch
If anyone local is looking for a fun night out in Coquitlam take note! The City is formally opening its very own Spirit Square on Thursday, 3rd June with festivities taking place between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
Planned events include entertainments in a summer festival atmosphere and an artisan craft market showcasing local talent is planned.
er ... that's where I come in .... and I'd love some company under my tent. I'll have my wares out on show and plan to be finishing off some projects.
So if you'd like to see how it's all done or just want to see the fingers behind the crochet hook - come on down!
Come on down to here!
Friday, May 28, 2010
family portrait by the Wee Guy
.... were all that were needed.
I was berating myself for going off at the deep end over being let down over some childcare arrangements, being annoyed with myself for reacting so badly when in fact it was such a small matter. I felt I should be coping with more grace but in fact, I was deeply hurt. It was The End of The World!
When I had finished being annoyed with myself my husband paused, then filled in a silence, saying, "But for you it was the last straw which broke the camel's back."
That little sentence, those few words ... and I realised he had been listening and had understood what I was saying.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
It's SPT day (I'll get round to taking and posting my portrait later - I'll be the one posing with the Gordons).
It has now been over three weeks since the Wee Guy had a playdate with one of his peers ..... and I haven't been able to arrange another one since then.
This is a major crisis in his life, and a depressing failure in mine since I am his de facto social secretary as he cannot drive, operate a telephone (for social reasons) or go out alone.
It's a heavy burden (and a loss of some valuable after-schoolcare resources).
He has some great younger playdates with whom he has awesome and spontaneous times (waves to O and X, waves to O and X's mums - you rock BTW!) but he also needs to interact with children his own age .... and that's where my sense of failure comes in.
yes, we even went to a shoe exhibition together
He and I have had some great excursions by ourselves, we can be good companions and will find something of interest for each of us to share. He needs the rough and tumble of social cues, the admiration and scorn of those his own age, and the ability to reach group decisions by discussion rather than by age advantage.
However, arranging these peer playdates means mum-to-mum interaction and his mum is failing big time. I may be old fashioned but this social secretary thing is supposed to be reciprocal, right? I arrange one play date then you get back to me with an invite? Well sister, it's not happening. What is it all about now he's of school-age - do I just give up - which is the in-crowd I should belong to so my child has friends to play with? I do wish someone would tell me.
I never felt a pressing need to be in the right crowd when I was at school but now I'm feeling the pressure to keep in there for my son. Whoa!
So I am a failure not for myself, but for the Wee Guy.
And this is making me sad.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
exotic bloom wire and fibre ring
chunky white agate and blackstone wire crochet cuff
simply pearls: swarovski pearl wire crochet cuff
NB: ranting/making/parenting/blogging do go together FYI
PS: see you at Fab Fair in Vancouver 5th/6th June
Saturday, May 22, 2010
So today has been mostly lost to a sick migraine bleh!
But I did manage to 'make stuff' and 'finish stuff off' yesterday in and around running the household, and volunteering at school. Not sure how I manage it but somehow it does come together :)
Boo migraine though! :(
handcrocheted silver wire beads on elongated surgical steel earwires
Friday, May 21, 2010
items featured in the Blackberry Artist's cooperative gift shop during May
This is the 'blowing my own trumpet' edition of friday forte cos everyone needs a little pride in themselves once in a while.
Achievements (in no particular order);
- successfully took a week off work ;)
- solo trip to my first blogging conference (and I even spoke to people!)
- successful and enjoyable family day out
- Mother's Day and there were no tears (well, a few from me at gift giving)
- my husband understood what I was talking about/getting upset over (big thing this one)
- featured artist at my local artist cooperative (see above)
- have blogged every weekday in May so far on my other blog and scheduled enough posts to cover May in the other blog
- didn't have a melt down at yet another failure in childcare arrangements :(
- had a date with myself
- Wee Guy lost one of his troublesome teeth (with my help) (hopefully avoiding a trip to the dentist)
- spinach, sunflower and kale seedlings coming up!!!!
- had lunch with a couple of friends; totally unexpected, spontaneous and great fun - new playdate planned as a result
Thursday, May 20, 2010
So I took a week off. It happened last week, kicking off with a day out to the Northern Voice blogging conference last Saturday, ran thru Mother's Day, and ended with a family excursion to Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Northern Voice was incredible fun. I got to put faces to a lot of online avatars and listen to helpful advice re: blogging, podcasting and managing social media. Meeting IRL was strange but delightful - I waved at fellow tweeters in the seminars as I twittered my way thru the seminars.
But a whole week off? How can that be? and why?
Well, April was Incredibly Busy for me and close to the end of the month I was feeling the burn so I decided to make a little vacation time for myself. With some planning I cleared my schedule of all the tedium and priority stuff then populated my planner (aka scrap of paper) with fun things to do. Since I'm such a clutterhead these days I started a writing down Good Ideas for free time a week ahead and had a list to keep me busy in my leisure. OK, the list ran a little odd; knickers, sunglasses and Hat Shop were entries. I cleared my housework duties, made sure the freezer was stocked and put my feet up for hedonism.
Did I manage it? Despite a setback regarding playdates (a mum 'forgot' the tell me her son was now in after school care!) at the beginning of the week yes, I think it went well. I feel that I had "time off" though it was difficult to demarcate what "time off" would look like. It was a great reminder that, when I'm working at or from home all the time, I forget to reward myself with treats. And that these treats don't have to be large and expensive; something as simple as coffee out will do. In fact it became apparent to me that the simple act of leaving the house to relax was a and should be a vital part of each day for me, or at least something to be planned once per week! I shopped till I dropped, I had coffee in regular coffee shops every day, I had lunch with my husband (and he was v sweet re: the playdate fiasco). I did a lot of the things I had forgotten how to do since becoming a SAHM. It took planning but it felt good. I even managed to ignore housework on the whole.....
Oh yes :)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
We (the family, all together, all of us ...) had a good weekend. I worked Saturday in the artist's cooperative gift shop, made stuff and chatted with People Other Than Family Or Other Mums (NB: I generally have nothing against most other mums but sometimes it's good to break out of the loop for a while). On Sunday evening I got up to speed by scheduling blogging for the Blackberrry Artist's blog and continued "Telling Tales" over on my 'business' blog (it's a garden theme this week in case you're interested). In the middle of it all we managed a (successful) family outing to run around at Capilano Suspension bridge (long scary wobbly rope bridge over a big drop gorge!). It was fun.
Having a Good Weekend together was the bonus for Going Thru Some Family Angst caused by a certain wee person's aversion to Hard Work and Piano Practice. Shouty McShoutyperson was at home two evenings running and lots of Things Were Said Which Were Regretted By Both Sides. Sleeping heads were patted in the night, tears were shed and vows were made to Do Things Better etc etc etc according to all things New Parenty.
One of the best things we (DH and I) have ever done for Family Harmony has been showing the Wee Guy how to use the video player, tv and Wii totally by himself! This simple act has resulted in many a quiet weekend lie in (or bed bouncing, whatever) and tempers are restored.
However, this weekend, instead of rushing to the Wii to create another hundred Mii's or vanquish a duck or two or jam with a 100-piece orchestra the Wee Guy instead treated us to a concert of his piano pieces. Yes, the same piano pieces over which much wailing, teeth gnashing and shoutiness had occurred the preceding two evenings.
The it occurred to me, following a comment on another blog post, that he takes after me. If something bugs me I have to deal with it a most painful and foul-to-me manner with much (inward) shouting, ranting and wailing (OK not all of it inward). It's a very physical process and a very emotional process but in the end I'm usually pretty pleased with the solution I've arrived at. It's been my own work, not something imposed on me. And then I remembered - I was like this as a child. I never really took the easy road (and still don't) or conformed or ran with the crowd.
Poor Wee Guy! It's not going to be an easy life but it will be truly crafted by yourself to your eventual satisfaction. Hopefully you can learn some strategies to make things easier (pssst! if you find some, let me know too).
turmoil and a long drop
Saturday, May 15, 2010
my view from the gift shop desk out into the gallery
I was at work today.
Let me rephrase.
I was at work outside of the home, covering my shift at the Blackberry Gift Shop in the Port Moody Arts Centre. It's part of my membership obligations for belonging to the artist's cooperative and selling my work thru the gift shop. One shift per month - not too bad! I get to leave the house (on my own) and sit surrounded by amazing pieces of art and talk to people .....
..... about art .....
..... not about piano practice, meals and nutrition, playdates, scheduling, childcare, business travel, groceries, meal planning, laundry, toilets, bathtimes, why not's, when's, threats, discipline, hygiene, bedtime .....
..... and so on.
If it's quiet, I make stuff too.
wire and fibre brooch detail
Friday, May 14, 2010
Or do you?
I'm not totally and utterly convinced of their absolute necessity as I do possess serious hermit tendencies. Maybe I consider them a luxury item; nice to have but life will go on without them?
We've got a bit of a dilemma going on here. The Wee Guy's bestest friend (ever) went back to the UK a few weeks ago. They were in the same class and had regular playdates. The mum (the amazing G) was a great neighbour and friend but she missed dear old Blighty. Since they left well, playdates have gone down the toilet basically. Wee Guy's only other regular playdate has started afterschool care and I'm not sure where that leaves us for our own afterschool arrangements. Wee Guy has been haranguing me about organising more playdates.
Which is where my dilemma comes in. I can be a complete and utter hermit. Even more hermit-ish when I'm depressed. IMO friends are good for only one thing - letting you down, leaving or not being there (OK, three things - it's late and I can't count). And being let down is A Very Big Sin in my books so when I'm feeling completely down and lacking in ability, the last thing I want to do is let anybody down ..... which is easily solved when you don't have friends in the first place.
But, the Wee Guy is highly sociable, a bit of a handful emotionally and really needs his peer interactions aka playdates which requires me to interact with other mums to organise them. Which is why G was so great cos we had a regular playdate thing going on which needed nothing more than a "Next Thursday?" "Yes, fine!" interaction every few weeks. So far other playdates have been High Maintenance and since I've been a Right Moody Bitch for almost the whole school year, arranging two or three playmates has been the pinnacle of my achievement. Oh, and I have this thing about it always being me doing the running - is it some kind of working-outside-the-home mum thing that believes the SAHM has sooooo much time on her hands that doing all the social scheduling is her thang???
Back to square one now though. And I try to parent by example. I'd like to reinforce my Wee Guy's belief in friendship since, as a singleton, I think it will be important for him to develop close ties outside the family and be well socialised. SO I really should make an effort and develop some IRL friendships. This has been brutally underlined by some recent Mama Renew homework. I am meant to ask a close friend what he/she loves about me. I do not have close friends on this side of the pond; I could ask my husband but, for many reasons, I hate to count him a close friend (for the record, I think it's dangerous having a spouse as a close friend cos who do you rant to when he's the cause of the rantiness?). I also find that making friends gets harder the older I get - maybe I don't take the risks I used to or maybe there's less opportunity with not working outside the home. Being an incomer doesn't help and I'm still not used to coping with the deafness - it kills the conversation dead if I can't make social shit chat. I have had close friends here but they always seem to move away (!) - one even moved to Australia.
Is it me?
So I have no friends for my homework ........ which is where you come in, dear reader (I married him)(sorry, couldn't resist that literary pun) - what do you love about online me? Don't pull your punches - leave a comment (pls).
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This week's Mama Renew homework was to have a date with our pre-baby self. I spent mine at Cafe Divano reading my PhD thesis (1999, University of London) and drinking coffee(decaf).
Then I went home and got in touch the real pre-baby me!
That's her all right!
..... and on the left from oooh, about 24 years ago.
*SPT = self portrait Thursday
Sunday, May 09, 2010
...... and thus completes the annual cycle.
The Wee Guy's birthday and Mother's Day are so bound up in my memory.
Due to my own strange complications around labour etc. we stayed in hospital much longer than normal. In hindsight this was a Good Thing. By day 4 the Wee Guy was not doing so well - the medics thought one thing but I had my own worries which, unfortunately, I wasn't able to get across to someone who would listen.
Eventually, as always (!), the Wee Guy took matters into his own hands and had a massive seizure in front of our 'good' nurse.
As a result, we initially left hospital without our baby and 'commuted' as parents.
But for our Mother's Day present I got to bring home the best gift in the world!
... and thus endeth the annual cycle
Friday, May 07, 2010
(yup, that's me)
(no, the one on the left!)
After a looooooooong period of deep (and painful) introspection I think I'm heading off on a right-ish track. April was Hard Work but by getting my head down, organising my time and sitting hunched over my bench I managed to pull everything together in not too shabby a fashion. The last jewelry class finished yesterday (thank you ladies, I had great fun in your company!) and I don't have another craft fair for a month. Creatively I can settle down to making a custom necklace for a friend, finishing a custom wire and fibre pendant ordered at Got Craft? last weekend (thank you both) and some blogging. Over on my 'career' blog I'm telling tales about my jewelry featured in the Blackberry Giftshop for example.
On a personal level I'm experiencing a sense of calm (which is hopefully not before a storm!) with an increase in positive thinking. Don't worry Gillian, I'm still noticing the dark side in everyday life but with more humour and less doom/gloom. Could this be a side effect of the longer daylight hours and (ha ha) sunshine (we are in Lower Mainland BC so our sunshine is still the liquid variety)? Maybe but I'm not going to over-analyse. :)
So where am I headed now? I'm another month closer to 45, the Wee Guy has taken his seventh (!) birthday in his stride and I'm still the SAHM working out of the home with no definite career plans. What has changed?
All the introspection and soul searching, painful and unpleasant though it was, has pushed me a little ways onto a firmer life traack I think.
I know what I like/appreciate about my life just now.
I understand more of what frustrates me.
And I recognise now what I have control over and what I need to let go of.
I think part of the introspective agony was grieving over what I do have to let go of ...... and with me it's never painless letting go.
Although in the above pics I knew where I was heading I now know that in life your route map is constantly changing. Direction needs to be re-assessed, renegotiated with traveling companions and at times scrapped completely in favour of a safer/more exciting route/detour.
Maybe aging is learning how to accept these changes gracefully,
or maybe it's just saying "fuck, bollocks" and getting on with anyway.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Monday, May 03, 2010
Well, I had fun!
..... er, as you can see from the surreal photo my husband took of me at the PNE for the Wee Guy's birthday trip.
It's not photoshopped, honest!
This (and others like it) is how my son will remember me in his photo album in the future!