The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Beauty and the Guilt

Mom is back in charge of the blog again today, at least temporarily, and after Barbara's addition to yesterday's post, I just have to post a picture of what she really looks like uncontorted.

So far I've been the only one infected with the bug Annie brought home from either school or work. But Maria called me today from the wilds of northern Arizona and told me that it was cold, it was snowing, and she was getting either the cold or the flu or whatever. Mom's advice? Stay warm, drink grapefruit juice, chicken broth, and wear the No Swatching hat she appropriated.

There are lots of posts around talking about Stephanie's Olympic Knitalong and the offshoots of the same. I particularly like Margene's response, with her theme of Eddie the Eagle and the enjoyment of the process. I'm certainly not going to drop out of the Olympic Knitting; I want to make the fingerless gloves (my personal challenge) and I want to see if I can finish in time. I've always been a fairly slow knitter, and I'd like to pick up some speed, but I don't want to lose sight of the enjoyment, either. The problem lies, I think, in a long-entrenched mindset which creates a nagging sense of guilt when I spend time knitting.

When I was younger, the rule was to finish my homework and chores before setting down to knit or read or embroider or whatever it was I was doing at the time. This wasn't a bad thing at the time. After all, there had to be some pressure to get me to do what I was supposed to do, otherwise I might not have gotten anything done. So on Saturdays I cleaned my room, on Mondays I did a basket of ironing, on Wednesday I started the dinner, etc. But it was simpler then. There were one or two chores to be done, and then the rest of the day was all mine, and I could enjoy it with a clear conscience. Things are different now. I'm a big person; I'm the mom. The days of only one or two chores are long gone. Nowadays there are far more chores than I could ever catch up with. And when I sit down to knit or sew, after a short time has passed the little voice of guilt starts up. The dishes could be dried and put away. The carpet needs vacuuming. The closet should be cleaned. The garage is a mess. (It has been for 11 years.) I know that the little voice of guilt is just a carryover, and that the world won't come to an end if I ignore it, but I can't quite totally get rid of it.

Am I the only person hearing the little voice? Obviously from all the blogreading I've done, there are plenty of unvacuumed carpets and messy garages out there. Why should I be different? Part of it is that I do function better in a neat home. When the kids are visiting and their stuff is everywhere, that's one thing -- a good thing, because it means they're home. But when it's just us here, I like it neat, and I can't relax until it is. So where do I draw the line? The other side of the coin is that I know life is short, and I don't want to spend all of it cleaning and doing chores. There are a lot of things I want to do, and knitting and quilting, etc., is right in there. I want to make time to make some really great, involved projects, and I know that I need to make that a priority. Fifty years from now, no one will particularly remember if the piano was dusty or there were dishes soaking in the sink, but I would hope my family would remember what I did creatively and treasure that memory. So whatever I can do each day, whether it's a little or a lot, needs to be a priority. And needs to be enjoyed without guilt. So I'm going to keep Eddie the Eagle in my sidebar, at least for a while, to remind me to just do what I love and enjoy it. With no apologies.

Susan has started a Homer Simpson Olympic Knitalong. Frankly, anything with the words Homer Simpson and Knitalong in the same sentence scares the freakin' daylights out of me.

Back to knitting the sock's instep.


Blogger Ann said...

I think fingerless gloves without guilt sounds like a fabulous idea. Cheers to you, Pat!

8:42 PM  
Blogger margene said...

We all have 'mom' in our heads. Does she ever go away? I've been good at ignoring her my whole life, however.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Ugh. I'm haunted by my mom and she isn't even dead. I have way too many "it should be just like this" things in my life including all the guilt associated with sitting down to do something that makes me happy when there are dishes undone, laundry to be hung and folded and washed, babies to bathe, dinner to start. We really must learn the fine art of being kind to ourselves and making time for doing nice things for ourselves, including needlework. :)

2:19 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Your daughter is beautiful in BOTH shots. Eddie the Eagle is appealing to me. I'm so undecided about the Olympic knitting venues. I haven't committed to anything yet....except a quick sock yarn exchange. I think I can manage putting some yarn in a post envelope and trading for some new stuff!

7:16 PM  

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