i could use a week

I could use a week alone in this house to get some things done - mostly boring stuff like cleaning and sorting and painting. The kitchen needs some serious reorganization. There is so much garden/yardwork to do, I am not sure where to start. I have some knitting projects that I need time without family interruption to finish, and I have a pile of sewing projects I haven't even started! Mostly, these are summer clothes for Anya because...well, I'll save you the long version of my seasonal tirade about kids' clothes, but DUDE, have you SEEN the stuff they make for little girls? Specifically the shorts. They are SHORT. Like, her diaper would show out the bottom.

I know I could spend time shopping around until I find more acceptable clothes for Anya, but I would still like to make her some things. This is mostly because I like to do things the hard way, but the romantic side of me loves the idea of dressing my children in things I have lovingly made to suit their styles and fit their growing bodies perfectly. The fact that they don't care where their clothes come from, and that they will outwear and outgrow these things in the space of a few months doesn't bother me for some reason.

Forgive me for saying this, but there is something especially appealing about making things for little girls. I am not so enthusiastic about ruffles and lace, but I love simple sundresses over capri pants and little cotton sweaters over tank tops.

I am obviously not a person who often chooses the convenient way of doing things. I make all of our bread from scratch, even tortillas. Heck, we make our own noodles most of the time (not as hard as you'd think, incidentally.) I hang laundry on the line outside (sometimes). I use cloth diapers on Anya, and I did on Daniel until he was 2 and just too skinny to wear them comfortably. I love to make things by hand; I knit socks and sweaters and blankets. Occasionally, I sew things, too.

This means I never have enough time to make and do everything I'd like. I've been promising Daniel hand knit socks for months and still haven't gotten around to making him any. Now that warm weather is upon us and the last thing he needs to wear outside is warm woolies on his feet, I suppose there's no rush. (Plus, he keeps changing his mind about the color.)

It occurs to me that I could just give all this up and do things the easy way. I could buy our bread and Smart Wool socks and suck it up and deal with the ugly kids' clothes (since they don't care anyway) and stop fantasizing about the vegetable gardens and apple trees I'd like to have someday. There are times when I know I make more work for myself than I need to. The thing is, I can't help it. The way I handle my domestic life is a part of me and my creativity, and without that I would be unhappy (though my house would probably be cleaner.) Not to wear out an old topic, but since I'm not playing piano a whole lot, it's especially important that I feel productive in other, tangible ways.


katie said…
I've been thinking about this topic lately. For me, the latest has been, "why exactly does it take me all week to clean, fold, and put away the laundry?" Projects hover in my psyche, waiting to be addressed. I've kinda set up a psychological system for myself. I let go of one task in order to give myself the luxury of another. For example, I tell myself that I will let go of having a clean bathroom this week, and in return, I will give myself whatever time I have on a project (most recent, I've enjoyed turning shirts into baby pants, because it is incredibly easy and cute!). Instead of buying an ugly something with money I don't have, I'm paying myself with the letting go part for a homemade something.
Pam said…
You are so cool. :-)
Caffeine Girl said…
You are singing my song! Although I can't say I make all our bread at home, I do make some. I rarely buy cookies; it so much cozier to make them. Sometimes I love making things for my family; other times I wonder if I'm out of my mind. I will say this, as my kids got older, I found myself doing less of that kind of stuff.
Animal said…
I've been having the same problem buying clothes for Roslyn. I went to buy her some new summer jammies the other day, and since she's into her 2T's, I've noticed that everything is WAY over-sexualized! Perhaps not in the "short-shorts" way (although I've seen that too), but things are definitely divided along gender lines. Time was I could get away with buying her pretty gender-neutral clothes, but now it's either pink/yellow/"Daddy's Little Princess" bullshit, or trucks & dinosaurs. Not that I'm AGAINST trucks or dinosaurs, per se, but I'd like her to look cute-ish. But not, you know, gaggingly so.

Your desire to do all those "homemade" things reverberates with me as well. I do buy most of our stuff - bread, noodles, socks - but I like to spend some time cooking every day if I can. It's my salve against a crazy world, and I can lose myself in the activity. Keep doing as much as you have the time for, and you'll stay some sort of sane!
Anonymous said…
All I can say is, you're your mother's daughter. Do what you can and enjoy it!

Claire said…
I want you to teach me how to make pasta sometime!
Don't give up. I know that you may think that another lifestyle is faster. But it is not near as healthy and is much more expensive. So the laundry may not be caught up and the dry things may hang on the clothes drying rack for an extra day until you get around to them. I don't think your kids care one iota about any of that. They love having you there providing for them and leading them by your great example.

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