Mama/Maker

It's pouring down rain outside the windows in my tiny breakfast-nook-turned-studio today. It's always so cliche when it rains a whole bunch in Seattle--people have this impression of the city being consumed by constant downpour, but that just isn't the case. Plenty of times it's a constant drizzle, not a downpour. People in the PNW probably have more words to describe types of rain than there are flavors at Baskin Robins. Does it rain on a lot of days? Yes. But a lot of the time it rains for only a portion of the day with the rest of it being totally reasonable, so we plan our bike rides and playground time around the weather--there really are worse things than that. I'd rather be wet and surrounded by green things than be dry and live in a desert. 

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For me, the beauty of our rainforests, mountains, and temperate climate is balanced by the often rainy, overcast weather. I love that balance. I complain about how dark and damp it is all winter, I'm happy in the spring, I complain about being too hot in the summer, and then I'm happy in the fall--that's balance, right? Some people/families pick a "word of the year" to give them a focus on how to be and grow each year. I think my "word of the year" every single year is balance.

Let's talk a little bit about that work-life balance that everyone's always striving for. I'm definitely on that gravy train, even though I think it's slightly strange because our work, whatever it is that we do, is a huge part of life, but I get the point so I'll roll with it. 

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I'm a full-time stay-at-home-parent/home-organizer/chef. I have an awesome husband who works during the day in a tall building downtown. When he's home we split the parenting-cleaning duties equally because he's a bad-ass feminist who loves me and loves his kid. He realizes that whatever I'm doing with our son all day is often more difficult and exhausting than the demands of his 8-4, five days a week job, and that no parent in a two-parent household should have to do it all, all the time. That being said, parenting is hard, whether you stay home with your kids or not. It's the job that never ends, that you never really take time off from, etc. 

So, sometimes people ask me (let's be honest, sometimes I ask myself) why I choose to do this embroidery side-hustle, and how I do it while managing all of the other aspects of life. 

Well, if you've read my bio over on my "About" page, you'll know that I NEED a creative outlet. I love parenting. My kid is absolutely wonderful, he's my bff, and I want to be the best parent that I can be to him, and any other little Holtons that follow him. But as much as I love parenting, it just doesn't fulfill every aspect of what my brain and heart require to be happy and healthy. I am not the first, only, or last stay-at-home-parent that has searched for something outside their role as a parent to feel balanced. Honestly, I think that when we make our kids our entire world, that puts a lot of pressure on the kid, and on the parent-child relationship to be a perfect, all-fulfilling thing, which is pretty unrealistic. Someday my kids will grow up, move out, and lead lives of their very own. I really hope that they still want me to play an active roll in their lives, but I don't want to be left feeling empty just because my nest is empty. If I dedicate some of my time and energy to developing myself as an individual, I think I'll be better off when I'm no longer kissing boo-boos and going to playgrounds. 

Okay, but why embroidery? To quote myself...

My hands and heart require an outlet for creativity that is separate from my job as a mother, but that allows me the flexibility that parenthood requires...My brain feels relief when I transfer my ideas onto paper and the concentration I put into drawing designs pushes extraneous worries away. The methodical movements of pulling my needle and thread through fabric, the perfect tension of the fibers, and the measured control I have over the work stems the tide of anxiety that I so often struggle with.

Embroidery is the perfect combination of what I need and what I love. It gives me a purpose and sense of accomplishment outside of my role as a mother, spouse, and home-maker. It waits patiently for me when the other parts of my life take up my time. Through embroidery I can contribute a little bit of beauty to the world that gives me so much.
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I love embroidery. I love creating lovely things. I relish the tactile delight of touching fiber and using my hands constructively. I love connecting with other makers and the amazing people that enjoy my work. But my life is not perfect--nobody's is. Sometimes I set ridiculous, arbitrary deadlines for myself and then pull all-nighters trying to meet them (I am NOT 20 years old any more and I totally can't handle that). Sometimes we eat Costco pizza for dinner because I didn't make time to go to the grocery store or cook. Sometimes my work-life balance just gets completely off-kilter. It's really important to me that what you see from me on social media, and here on this blog is authentic and real. I want to give you (whoever you are that reads this) a depiction of my life as a mama and a maker that is both personal and accurate. And the reason for all of that is because I want other parents, other moms, women, artists, and makers to feel empowered. A balanced life does not have to be a picturesque life. A happy, healthy you does not have to look the same as a person on instagram that seems to have their shit together. If you want to make changes in your life, you CAN get crafty, go back to school, start your own business, etc. I want you to encourage you to take steps toward doing it. It doesn't always work out how you think it will and sometimes things get out of balance while you figure it out, but that doesn't mean that it isn't worth it. 

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I want to end this super-long post by introducing a new little Instagram series I'm going to try. Once or twice a month, I'm going to Insta-story my entire day--from the moment my kiddo climbs into my bed with 15 stuffed animals in the morning, to the last page of Outlander I read at night. I want to let you into my life and show you that it's sometimes messy, but that being a SAHM and running a crazy micro-business is both doable and worth-it. But also, who DOESN'T want to totally snoop into other people's lives, am I right?

xxxx

Lauren

PS-The first installment of my Mama/Maker Insta-story series will be Thursday, February 22nd. 

Lauren Holton1 Comment