This post is a part of the Thankful Sewing Blog Tour sponsored by Sewing by Ti, Petite Stitchery, and Sewing by Pattern Pieces. More details about the tour (including a giveaway!) are at the end of the post.
Shortly after I had my daughter three years ago, I quit my full-time job as a product designer, moved with my family from Utah to Italy and started a new life as a full-time mom. A year after that, my family moved back to the United States so my husband could start a PhD program at the University of Michigan. It was difficult to learn how to be a mom, let alone maintain a sense of my own identity.
When I quit my job, I knew I didn’t want to stop being creative. As a designer, I created new things every day. I loved seeing my ideas move from sketches to prototypes to store shelves. It made me feel accomplished! As a mom, however, I could sometimes be busy all day, but hardly be able to articulate any tangible project I had completed. I felt simultaneously overwhelmed by all of the work I was doing, but also like all that work was unimportant. Intellectually, I knew that taking care of a child was significant, but it didn’t feel significant—at least not in the same way my work outside of the home had felt. And at the end of the day, I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that trying to create sounded more like a burden than an outlet.
It took a lot of time and a lot of help (from supportive family, friends, doctors and mental health care professionals), but things started to get better. I began to feel more in control of my life and less drained by the everyday tasks of managing my home and supporting my husband and daughter. As I adjusted to the demands of my new life, I started to consider how I could find more personal fulfillment. My husband encouraged me to find ways to be creative. He knows how much I love making things and I think he could see that it was important for me to find space to do that again.
At night, after I got my daughter to sleep and while my husband was still diligently studying, I began to knit and sew. I have enjoyed fiber crafts for a long time, but I hadn’t found the space to do them for a few years. I found my way to the online sewing community on Facebook and I applied for my first pattern test. It was scary to apply because I wasn’t sure I could consistently find the time or the energy to sew. I discovered that instead of wearing me out, sewing was actually a rejuvenating activity. It gave me some of the same feelings of accomplishment I had experienced in my job years before.
I continued to make more time for sewing and earlier this year I decided to launch this blog. Feeling apprehensive, I hoped I could make room to post once a week. It hasn’t always worked out—there have been weeks where I have had to give myself the grace to skip a post that isn’t fitting into my schedule—but for the most part, I’ve been able to pull it off! It feels so good to be creative and to share the things I’m doing on this blog.
I am grateful to have time to sew. As a symbol of my gratitude, I decided to use some of my newfound time to complete a very old unfinished project. It represents the many projects that I am finally making time in my life to complete.
I started making a collared shirt for my husband over six years ago, but I didn’t finish until this week. I kept the fabric in a box for six years, moving it all over the country with me. Luckily I was able to keep track of all the pieces! I know it’s not the right season for a short-sleeved collared shirt, but it was the right time to finish it. I told my husband that he can wear a sweater over it until the weather is warm enough to wear it alone!
I’m thankful for the balance I have found in my life at home between mothering, sewing, blogging and generally adulting. I don’t know what life will look for me in the next few years, but right now I’m thankful for creativity and having the time to exercise it. Thank you for joining me and encouraging me along the way!
Blog Tour and Giveaway
This post is part of the Thankful Sewing blog tour hosted by Sarah Connell and Melissa Evans. Our Thankful Sewing Bloggers have created something special to share with you each day during this month of Thanksgivings! Check out their posts when you have a moment (links become live on the day listed). We also have a couple giveaways during each week of the tour. Special thanks to our sponsors Petite Stitchery (giving away a new pattern), Sew by Pattern Pieces (giving away a pattern), and Simply by Ti (giving away a $20 shop credit each week).
Intro | mahlicadesigns and Sewing with Sarah | Nov 1 | Tenille’s Thread | Nov 2 | Candace Ayala | Nov 3 | Hazelnut Handmade | Nov 4 | Musing of a Seamstress | Nov 5 | Sewing Portfolios | Nov 6 | mahlicadesigns | Nov 7 | Seams Sew Lo |
Nov 22 | Back 40 Life | Nov 23 | Lovemade Handmade | Nov 24 | Sewing by Ti | Nov 25 | On Wednesdays We Sew | Nov 26 | Paisley Roots | Nov 27 | Mermaid Mama Designs | Nov 28 | Sew Haute Blog | Nov 29 | Ma Moose Handmade | Nov 30 | Everything Your Mama Made & More |
And finally…our giveaway!