Monday, July 17, 2006

Giving up -- gaining more

Monday, July 17:

I am giving up painting with pastels.

I am giving up making bead jewelry.

I am giving up creating Christmas ornaments.

Not that I really painted, made jewelry or created Christmas ornaments in the first place. But if I wanted to, I could have, because I had a couple drawers full of stuff to do it. Had.

The work table where I stored my craft-related items -- including my sewing tools and odds and ends -- is being kicked out of the future baby room. So the unused stuff had to go, too.

Now the sewing tools I can’t live without (along with a pocket folder of scrapbooking materials and an empty scrapbook) are stored in a 10-gallon tub.

My creative aspirations, stashed away in a plastic container.

This is what I was so afraid of ten, even seven, years ago: that a baby would come into my life and take away the me-ness of myself. That I would have to give up too much. The baby would be all-important, and I wouldn’t matter anymore. Having a baby seemed like an ultimate cruelty to myself, too sacrificial, too back seat. How could I allow another person to take myself out of my own life?

But as JP and I clean up the room of doom (yes, he’s allowing me to help him now, praise be) and as we uncover layers of stuff from our life together, I realize most of the stuff really isn’t so important.

There are other symptoms of this change of heart: I’ve turned away the chance to buy advance tickets to concerts I’d normally be crushed not to go to, just because they are taking place around the time the baby is due. I skipped free tickets to another concert last month because JP and I were going to our childbirth prep class. I declined a paid speaking engagement in a resort town because it’s taking place weeks after the due date.

The strange thing is that, rather than feeling oppressed by the needs and demands of this little person (who isn’t even here yet!), it’s almost a feeling of freedom to think about someone else instead of me, me, me all the time.

I blame it on falling in love with the baby. There may be no other kind of love in which you can be smitten with someone you haven’t met, seen or even had a conversation with than the love for your unborn baby.

And while I may be putting this child first, I have learned good mothers also take care of themselves and do things for themselves once in a while -- I’m not disappearing, as I once assumed motherhood was all about. Besides, what kind of role model would I be for my child if I had no personality of my own?

So I’m keeping my sewing and scrapbooking supplies.

I want to make some maternity clothes. A baby quilt. A handmade baptism outfit, when the time comes. A scrapbook of our family with all the wonderful new memories we’ll make.

And some spring ’07 couture for moi.


Anonymous Jenny said...

When Hailey was born I stored away all of my dollhouse making tools and thought I'd never sculpt again. Now that she's almost two though I'm finding that I do have time (if not the room) to start back up on a few hobbies of mine. Just think of it as a temporary delay while you do something far more intersting anyway.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Ann D said...

Wow, you sound like such an amazingly creative person. (Obviously you are in a writerly way and in a giving birth way, but also in an artistic way, too.) Thanks for dropping by my blog last week. Nice to "meet" you. Now be sure to tell me about your book. I'm intrigued!

7:10 PM  
Blogger h&b said...

I hate to say it, but I have almost enjoyed some of the times my toddler ( now 2 ) has ruined, broken, or eaten something I thought I loved, or needed.

Rather than getting angry, it can almost be a release.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I haven't sewn nearly as much as I used to since Cordy, but I still do find time to sew, although now it's generally baby clothes.

But I did take up knitting since she was born, and found it was a great way to keep my hands busy when I have free time.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Love the post!

I've aspiring dreams to scrapbook, but with a 26 and 6 month old, it just isn't happening. BUT SOMEDAY...someday...

As for now, I love watching and interacting/playing with them as live, learn and grow. Ain't nothing better!

6:25 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Here by way of Mommy Off the Record's linky love 100th post. This made me smile. I too have a creative penchant for sewing (cross stitch) and writing, which I did have to sacrifice somewhat after my son was born. I used to sit for hours with a needle and pattern in front of me, just listening to favorite movies or music. But I've found that as he grows, my hobbies have changed in nature. My sewing isn't so much the pretty landscape scenes as it is baby record type things and announcements. My writing is more sentimental, with topics closer to my heart. And while I love my son dearly and love the time we spend together, the times when I have a spare minute to stitch a few crosses or write a blog post mean something more to me. Not that I consider them time away from my son, but time spent on recharging my batteries, and I don't take them for granted like I used to. The trick is finding the balance.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Fidget said...

My kiddos are 4, 2 1/2, and one on the way

i am finally getting a room all my own for a studio

life flows and undulates and all that poetic crap. You'll find the time and the room when the time is right again

11:15 PM  
Blogger IMMomsDaughter said...

Most of us mommies have to give up something of which we love when kids come along. It's not too bad as long as we have no regrets. I know, I don't!

1:42 AM  

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