Well friends, the world has gone a little bit mad in the last little while. The extent of the madness is probably dictated somewhat by where you are – but it would seem that nowhere is untouched. Here in the great white north (aka Ottawa, Ontario) we are currently on “please oh please stay at home good people” status. (I actually don’t know what they are calling it today – Lockdown? Isolation? – we are not supposed to go out, except for essential groceries. Stay home. Try not to go bonkers. The end.)
I am now suddenly somehow in charge of schooling these four punks…..as well as working and doing “regular” life (without going outside), and I am not going to lie, I feel spectacularly ill-equipped for this. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure I could ACE fourth-grade science. But trying to read with the six-year-olds, and talk the 13-year-old off of a geography-in-french related ledge AND do fourth-grade science (also in french – did I mention I don’t speak french?)….this is not easy.
But…what about sewing?
If you are reading this, chances are good that you like to sew. But sewing in this new normal has proved to be a little like juggling chainsaws…while they are running. I don’t know about you but I am struggling HARD with a lot of guilt – guilt because there is suddenly so much ELSE to handle emotionally and physically and it doesn’t feel like something I “should” be doing. Guilt over WHAT I’m sewing – I have this great idea for t-shirts for the twins but if I’m going to carve out minutes at my machines, I SHOULD be working on masks or scrub caps with buttons or something else that a front line worker might possibly need. I’m stressed. I’m unfocused. There are kids and a husband in my space. My sewing area has turned into a dance area for the kid who needs to stay in shape and my husband’s desk is next to our treadmill – so even assuming I could FIND a minute to do it, letting off steam with a run is also out.
You know what though? I’ve decided that for me – I need to sew anyway. For me – and I expect for lots of people – sewing imposes order and brings sanity. It gets my hands busy so my brain can be still and I can actually begin to process the madness that’s going on right now. It makes me feel accomplished even if the rest of my life feels like a constant loop of things that I can’t finish. I think that there is serious value in those things….and that’s worth remembering, even when the guilt voices are loud.
Well that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? I’ve tried a lot of things, and some have been more successful than others. So far I’ve managed to get creative with space to accommodate the rest of my family and I’m just…trying to get creative with space for me too. I cart my computer, machines, etc. to whatever part of the house I might be able to work in – usually the kitchen table. Is it awesome? Well, no. Definitely not. But it works. And like I keep reminding my kids….it’s not forever. Sometimes I think we get stuck feeling like we CAN’T try something because if we do it will never change. But that’s just not true – this is an exceptional time. May as well try some exceptionally creative solutions, and change it up if they don’t work.
The other thing I have to get creative with is time. There are zero hours mid-day to work while kids are doing school….but I had a talk with my husband and he suggested delegating twin bedtime to himself and the older two kids a few nights a week to buy me a few hours to do things then. I have to put some process into place and I have to go back to doing things in little pieces, but it’s DEFINITELY better than not sewing at all. I think I’ve learned that I need to remember that other people in my world can STEP UP also.
Last weekend I finished a Sherry dress.
I took a shower and took thirty minutes to fix my hair and makeup so I could take pictures of my dress. It felt a little ridiculous because obviously I wasn’t going anywhere. But it’s the most normal I have felt in quite a few days.
And I think, given the current state of things, finding reasons to feel normal is a good thing. (And yes, once this was over I climbed back into my sweatpants and t-shirt and put my hair in a ponytail but it was a good few minutes.)
What are you doing to feel normal these days? Any brilliant suggestions for carving out sewing time for yourselves?
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Guilt over what I’m sewing… I feel this so much. I don’t find sewing masks creatively stimulating. It’s the kind of sewing that I don’t love- sewing with wovens, tacking things down, working with elastic or ties… all things I find slightly maddening.
I would much rather make pretty clothes. And I have felt like I can’t do that unless I’ve cranked out some masks. Thanks for putting that feeling so clearly into words!
But it might help me to reconsider why I’m sewing. If I’m doing it to help my sanity during this crazy time… it’s an outlet! And I can sew whatever I want. If it’s for utility… maybe those masks need to be on the frontline.
We aren’t chastising people for using their time to color instead of writing important letters or for crafting instead of creating their own cleaning solution. So I think we should give ourselves some grace to use some of our sewing time on projects that bring joy!
Love this post so much! You really capture the struggle so many of us are having. Beautiful pic of your dancing girl too!
My kids are pretty content to have lots of free play with each other. We do school first thing and to get it over with. I also have felt somewhat guilty about not doing housework but I made a schedule and I have 1 thing to clean really well each day. Like on Mondays, I clean the bathroom. That way if I am questioned about why I’m sewing, I can say well I cleaned the bathroom and did breakfast dishes. I also bought paper plates to use for lunches as our dishwasher doesn’t work. I’m not sewing any masks though. There’s too many parameters and I would feel awful if someone got Coronavirus because they felt safe enough wearing a mask that I had made. So I’m sewing for fun and making all the things.