And so begins the discussion I feel like I have had a hundred times. How does a mother of three boys find any time to knit, sew clothes, make a quilt? My short answers are the usual: I ignore my housework. I don't watch much TV. I like to stay up late. I have awesome parents who live in town and love to babysit. But it never explains the actual process a mother of three boys goes through trying to get a quilt finished.
So today I'll let everyone into my world and document my attempt to finish a baby quilt for my three week old niece on Christmas Day.
- Knowing my brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first baby, a girl, around Christmas I decide to be really on top of things and make a baby quilt now.
- Find the perfect pack of charm squares and buy backing fabric.
- Complain about the heat and the exhaustion of taking three boys out the beach nearly every day. Say it's too hot to sew and spend hours lazily looking on Pinterest at the baby quilts everyone else has made.
- Back to school! Decide it's time to get organized since I actually have a few quiet hours in the day. Reorganize sewing room, bury baby quilt fabric in a pile and forget all about it.
- Exhausted from getting up at 5:30am five days a week, shuffling the boys off to school, teaching 20 hours a week and trying to organize my entire house, I pretty much stop making anything. I spend the month reading blogs and pinning everything on Pinterest, feeling crabby about my lack of quilting productivity.
- Seeing some great baby quilts online, I remember I have a baby quilt due in less that three months. Pat myself on the back for at least having the fabric ready.
- No one in the house seems to be going to bed at a reasonable hour. By the time they are all asleep I am too tired to, iron, cut, or sew. Remind myself to make sure I tell my husband I need a Saturday to sew.
- Realize that pretty much every single weekend in October my husband is working. Walk into my sewing room at least once a day and stare longingly at fabric.
- Decide to try to sew during the day. Work for ten minutes before boys come in and want to help. Somehow I end up back in the dining room with lots of paint and glitter.
- Declare Saturday a movie day and plan to sew. Put on the first movie and spend the entire time catching up with laundry. Movie ends and I realize I need to sew. Put on the second movie, head into sewing room and spend next 45 minutes cleaning off the sewing table, which was hijacked by the boys for art projects and legos. I get out fabric and realize I have no idea what kind of baby quilt I am going to make. Arrange charm squares for an hour, throw fabric back in a pile and go make dinner.
- My husband has two weekends off from work, I can quilt! No, I can't, as he reminds me he needs to finish repairing the garage. Oddly, he consideres this a more important job than a baby quilt.
- Sign up for a quilting retreat. In the piece and quiet of the weekend I piece two quilts together. I also get the baby quilt sandwiched and pinned. I tell my friends how I just have to quilt it and throw on the binding, so easy. I'm sure I will be done in a few days.
- Make a list of what I think I can actually knit and sew for gifts in time for Christmas. Plan a schedule out by the hour. Decide to get started on the knitting and plan to save the quilting and binding of the baby quilt, which according to my schedule will actually be done on December 23rd.
- I fall asleep every night with knitting in hand. I also notice I am quite behind in my gift making schedule.
- Notice that my four year old has taken out all the pins in the baby quilt. Put the whole thing back together and re-pin.
- Spend a few free hours cutting pajama pants. Take another day to sew them together and realize I cut them all wrong. Further behind schedule
- I notice that the pins are out of the baby quilt again. I re-pin and hide the quilt this time.
- It's the 23rd. I have three pairs of pajamas to hem, two e-reader covers to cut and sew, and the baby quilt to quilt and bind. And a hat to knit. I hand the boys a stack of Christmas movies and feel invincible. I know this will be no problem.
- 5pm and my husband is home from work. While we chat, I realize that I just spent the last three hours making the pattern for an iPad case rather than an eReader. I can now choose from:
- Making the correct eReader pattern and then staying up until three in the morning quilting and binding the baby quilt for my niece while I completely ignore my husband and kids the rest of the evening....
- Whip up a quick eReader cover, save the quilt for another day and go enjoy an evening of Christmas movies with my family.
My choice? Number two.
Despite how much I wanted my sister-in-law to open up a beautiful baby quilt on Christmas morning, the truth is I already had finished up a sweater for my niece a few weeks ago; if the baby quilt shows up in January my niece will be none-the-wiser.
Balance is a difficult trick, especially when you have a busy family life along with a strong creative drive. I'll admit it can be rough when the house is a mess, the boys are fighting and dinner hasn't even crossed my mind yet. That's when I go into my sewing room, let myself be mad for a minute, take a couple of breaths and let my mind wander. I pick up some fabric, make a few piles, get and idea or two. Usually, thinking of what I'd like to make clears my head enough, and I am able to remind myself that these moments really are fleeting and I want to be present. There will be time, there will always be time, just not right then. Maybe a late night burst of energy, a weekend away at a quilt-in, an afternoon alone while the boys head out to a movie with Dad. And that is how eventually, I will finish up this baby quilt.
Becca typically blogs at Knittymama, if she can actually find the time.