Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I knit for a lot of reasons. I knit because I love the look and feel of wool. I knit because you can’t buy in stores the clothing that I want my children to have, without spending a small fortune. I knit because I love having an artistic outlet that is so functional. I knit because it allows me to create, to modify, to think my way logically through something. I knit because the steady rhythm and pattern relaxes me, relaxes my muscles, gives me something to focus on when things are really hard. I knit because it is something that I do because I love it, and no one else can demand it from me. And I knit to get away from my kids.
Four blessed hours a week, on Thursday nights, I go with a group of friends and knit. I go and I laugh. I talk. If I am interrupted, it is because someone told a joke at the other end of the table, or someone wants to come sit down by me – not because my children feel that they need my attention away from whatever it is I am doing. I talk about grown up things. Sometimes, I even crack a racy joke.
I live for Thursday nights. When the going gets rough on Tuesday, I just think about Thursday. When someone won’t stop yelling, I think about Thursday. When I’m just too tired to get up again, I think about Thursday. And just the thought – the knowing that I will get a break, that this will not go on forever – calms me. Helps me to regain my center. Helps me to be a better mom in the present.
I didn’t used to knit on Thursdays. When it was just me and the Bean, I didn’t need to knit on Thursdays. I told myself that I was happy being with her 24 hours a day, and I didn’t understand how people could leave their little babies. And then their toddlers. I was on duty 24 hours a day. I was usually attached at the nipple to my little girl. And I was perfectly happy. Granted, I looked forward to nap time, and bed time, every day. I looked forward to the time when Daddy would come home and make me a sandwich, because I couldn’t put the baby down. But I did NOT need a break.
And then, we were four. The children never napped at the same time. If the Bug was asleep, the Bean woke him up. If the Bean was asleep, the Bug woke her up. Neither of them could sleep through anything, and Daddy making me a sandwich didn’t give me any time with my hands empty. I had run out of resources and ideas. And I did NOT want to be with my children anymore. When things got hard on Tuesday, there was no hope. When someone wouldn’t stop screaming, there was no end. When I was just too tired to get up again, it seemed that I never would have the energy. I was at the end of my very attached rope, and I had nowhere else to go.
I knew I needed a break. I knew it needed to be weekly, for at least several hours. I knew that it had to be out of the house without the kids. But I stalled. I couldn’t bring myself to be ok with leaving the Bug. He was still under a year old. I had never left the Bean like that! What would my friends think if I just up and left my kids once a week? Would I still be a decent mom if I wasn’t with them every single minute of my life? So, I couldn’t find just the right thing. Every idea I had was too far away, not the right time, cost too much money, etc.
Finally, the abyss of never having a moment to think was too much. When the Bug was 9 months old, I took my knitting needles, the big blue rectangle (Papa’s scarf in progress at the time) and went to a coffee shop to knit. I wasn’t sure anyone else would show up, but they did! Eventually, we had a pretty good sized group. Then, I found out that the rest of the group also met with another group the following night and we merged. It was amazing what a difference it made for me!
Instead of being at the end of my rope, I got a chance to rest and miss my children. I got to have a break from putting them to bed one night a week. I got to be an adult, with no one depending on me, for a few hours every week. And I got a lot happier very quickly. Also, I learned a lot more about a hobby that I had toiled at alone for several years. I got to grow as a person. Not everyone I knit with is the same kind of parent as me. In fact, only a few of them are. I got to learn how to sit at a table with other people and take in different perspectives on things. I got to learn about how different people do different things. I got to make some amazing friends whom I never would have met otherwise. And through all of this I learned, and am still learning, to be a better mother, a better wife, a better person.
Thursday night knitting has lead, on a superficial level, to wool sweaters for my kids, wool hats and mittens for the whole family, wool socks, a wool scarf for my husband, reusable dust mop covers, dish rags, and many other projects. But on a deeper level, my Thursday night knitting has lead me to be a better, bigger, smarter person, and I am so grateful for it, every week.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)