After much reflection, I think I've got a pretty clear handle on the direction I want my parenting - and my life - to take. I feel like I've been one of those girls who is constantly comparing herself to others and not measuring up for a long time, and that 2012 is the year to stop doing that - to embrace who I am and get out of my own way (and my head)...stop spending so much energy thinking about others and start thinking about how to live MY best life.
...so I've been doing some experiments, and have been starting small, doing things that moms I admire do, hoping that it will somehow lead me to the life I want (gotta start somewhere). And you know what? I think it's kind of working.
I've realized that if I'm really honest with myself, I want as simple a life as possible. I moved back to this little island in Penobscot Bay for a reason, and it's just recently that I've been able to start defining it, even to myself.
First, I've been drinking a lot of tea. I don't know why, but that seems important.
OK, so here's my basic thesis: I want to make things. I want to be surrounded by things that I (or those I know and love) have created in one way or another. I've been a BIG consumer in my life, and I think now is the time to start producing. It's been so satisfying to be working on projects and to be in the kitchen. I've been baking bread and making granola for the past few weeks, and have recently pinned recipes for things we eat regularly but that I normally buy - tortillas, English muffins, and graham crackers.
I'd also like to eat more mindfully and eat more whole foods and less gluten and dairy (says the girl who just talked about pinning gluten-fests). So I'm registering for this course with a friend in a couple of days and hoping to follow the Bon Appetit Food Lover's Cleanse, probably after Valentine's Day. I LOVE food. I don't think I can talk about how much I love food in a way that really conveys it, so I'm so excited to be spending time dedicated to learning about food and exploring new recipes, ingredients, and ideas. Yay!
Also, after YEARS of wanting to learn to sew, I signed up for this course and am proud to say I finished my first project last weekend! Next up: cloth napkins!
I'm in the process of making myself this hat with yarn I got at the Common Ground Fair years and years ago and have been saving for the right project, and I'm anxiously awaiting yarn to make myself a sweater!! (Confession: I've only ever knitted one adult size sweater, and it was for an ex-boyfriend, so I'll never see it again).
When I think of things that I "need" now, I wonder if maybe I can make them instead. I've made ice cream for the past two weeks, and I even used my new meat grinder for the first time yesterday(that's how you know your husband really loves you - he gets you a meat grinder :)
All this has had a distinct effect on the way I'm living life - I feel like it's had a noticeable transformation in the way I think about commodities, how I think about money and where and when I spend it. It's made me more frugal in one way, but allowed me to place a higher value on what I surround myself with. It's particularly had a huge effect on thinking about how I spend my time - I value time spent with my family above all else, but often I find myself doing other things rather than really living in the moment. It's led to a really honest talk between me and Chad about our relationship and how we can nurture it (can I just say we've decided to go on a date tomorrow night to the new wine bar in town and I could not be more excited). We both come from divorced families and it's important for ours to be one of the marriages that last.
All in all, it's been a pretty radical mind-shift and I'm really digging it.
What's the point of all of this? Good question.
I sort of think that by doing this, I'm changing my mindset and hopefully beginning to instill values in my son that will last a lifetime. I want Finn to know that being in the kitchen is a very important part of my life (and hope to pass that along to him), and that making things for oneself is a valuable skill to have. There are things I want to make and traditions that I want to keep that I hope will be a part of his life for, well...forever, and that's a big deal. I'm just trying to do it right, whatever that is.
I'm just so grateful that for now, I have the time, energy, and space to take this project on - I don't have to work full time and when I do work, for the most part, I can make my own schedule - today, while I'm nursing a sick kiddo, I can bake a loaf of bread and a batch of granola while he naps (not to mention write a super ramble-y blog). Later this afternoon, I'll work on a grant, and tonight, there's Annie Get Your Gun rehearsal.
I've got a lot on my plate, but it's a full life and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Thanks for listening to me ramble. I know I'm not alone out there.
For those of you who came looking for a little eye candy, here's the latest in the photographic documentary of Finnley James: