Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sacrifice and Opportunity, or how the fubar do working mom's do this?

As I have briefly, and randomly mentioned I have an Etsy shop where I sell my knit goods. I love being able to make cool schtuff, and sell it to people all over the world. I love knitting. I love yarn. I love the concept of Etsy- that handmade or vintage finds from my very home can be sold anywhere at anytime. Pretty much safe to say, I'd rather be knitting and creating for Etsy than just about anything else- if I had 10 sets of hands, I would have a thousand things in my shop, or in gift bags on their way to your doorstep.

That being said, I have been given a great chance to knit some bulk orders, and have real deadlines for the first time, in like, 10 years. I think my last deadline was my comps defense in graduate school. Other than maybe get the kids outta diapers before college type-a dealines. I have anxiety. Legit anxiety. The kind I take pills for. And I don't do well under pressure of any sort.

I have always had some sort of anxiety. I used to get all pukey at every birthday party thrown for me (now I get all pukey getting my kids parties ready). Travelling, I overprepare and make a hundred lists and basically lose sleep over silliness and totally do not enjoy myself the entire time until I am back home-even then I freak because the unpacking sucks, etc.. Having to be somewhere at any given certain time dressed and presentable sends me into panic. Slippers, sweater, and school drop off are about all I can handle, and that is only two days a week. I have hardly told anyone, but I used to get hives or intense anxiety before performing- and I have done A LOT of performing. By college I figured out how to use my anxiety to win/exceed, but then in graduate school I lost that all again. Perfhaps 2 years where my only audience was college freshmen did a permanent number on my self-esteem. Or maybe no longer getting trophies for my accomplishments psychologically messed me up forever. In fact, if I never spoke in front of a crowd again, I'd be cool.

No, I've nurtured other creative habits instead. Like my garden- where it's just me and the hummingbirds and butterflies (and snakes here in Minnesota! Ack!). And other handicrfafts like knitting. So here I am with a chance to financially contribute to the household income a tinge, and my life is falling apart.

Dramatic much?

I can't seem to make it all work. I knit over 8 hours a day, give or take breaks to browse the internet (the key to Etsy success lies heavily no how active you are on the site, so I try and spend at least an hour a day there). I clean up. I clean myself. And around me the house seems to be crumbling.

My husband is pretty darn awesome. He cooks alot, cleans up in his own way. He's starting doing all the grocery shopping, and he takes all responsibility off of me in the mornings when my fibromyalgia stiffness and brain fog seem to peak. He does Ben's lunch, and makes the kids a quick breakfast. My kids are pretty great most of the time, too. Cleaning up their messes- but also duping me (How many times in recent weeks have I opened a closet, locker, drawer, tub, etc. to find a smattering of misplaced items they "cleaned" up?)

I feel like I am losing total control, control I never really had. The scholar in me remembers all those stories about women who sacrificed their own wants and desires for their families. The fact is, the gender roles in this house are pretty great. I do some manly stuff, he does some womanly stuff, so much so that I assume my kids will grow up with a very new and schewed view of traditional familial gender roles. My kids aren't freeloading little weasels, they do their part and then some. They really stepped up while my husband was on crutches for 3 months this summer, and have not stepped down yet. My fibromyalgia factors in here tenfold. If I want to do more, I have to do more. I simply can't. Between recently joining a gym (in an effort to lose the 100+ lbs I can't seem to get off), and having responsibilities to my garden, my family, my house, etc.

So what's gotta give? If I'm not willing or able to give myself?

I simply can't walk away from my work. I want to make my shop as successful as possible, within means. This is a great opportunity for me. In the meantime... I'm failing to strike a balance.


Sarah said...

I think your shop is so cool, and you are doing a great job! There's no such thing as balance, really, so don't stress about achieving it. I'm pretty sure it's an urban legend. The best way for me to keep my anxiety at bay is to focus on one day at a time-- don't worry about everything you have to do, just the one thing you're doing in the moment. You're awesome, Jamie-- hang in there.

Lynn Loew said...

I might be a bit behind in the comment, and hardly ever do this, but hey, you live across the street, I see your lights on every morning when I walk (should be running) the dog! So ,here goes. I try to keep one room in the house the way I like it, then if the rest is falling apart, I can stay in that one room. It helps to have a room that is close to the bathroom, so you don't have to see too much when you have to walk there. :) And I always try to remember (I have huge anxiety that life is falling apart around me also!) that there is an ebb and flow to everything, even a clean house. I absolutely HATE that saying that goes whatever about dustballs stay quiet cause I'm hanging out with my baby. Soo not true, they don't go anywhere unless you get the vacuum out! But if my one room is good, everyone can come see me in there!