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Crafting and sewing were big hobbies of mine. My favorite pastime hobby was finding old things at yard sales and turning them into something new. I really enjoyed it. Then, at the beginning of the little years, I just wanted to know everything about nurturing my boys. So, I read every book and took them to places they were probably too young to remember. But I wanted to get it all in before it was too late. I sewed here and there during nap times but over time it was pushed back for another day.
My oldest son started therapy to recover from his stroke when he was four. Eventually, I began focusing all my energy on making him well. And I started to believe that doing anything for myself was wrong. I had convinced myself that I needed to give everything I had to help my son. In addition to making sure my youngest was not left out in any way. Therefore, a hobby was a waste of time.
The years began to run together and pretty soon seven years had passed by. Then, one day I was brushing my teeth, and I looked in the mirror. I just stared at myself and hardly recognized who I was. Where did all that gray hair come from? Did I really have so many wrinkles around my eyes? Literally, I didn’t know who I was. I felt like I had just woken up from a dream and had no idea where I had been or where I was. It was the strangest feeling I have ever had.
I started to cry. Where had my life gone? What have I been doing all this time? I was utterly absorbed in my children’s lives and where they were headed, and I forgot to enjoy right now. I didn’t have a favorite book I was reading because they were all about homeschooling or special needs. The latest song I could recall was anything sung by Raffi. A date with my husband was unheard of. Similarly, I had not been out with a friend in maybe a year. When all of this came bubbling up in my mind I began to feel depressed.
When I feel depressed, I act like a turtle, go into a shell, and stay home. Then, I begin cleaning. This time I found some sewing projects in the back of my closet and decided to bring them out. I worked on them at night after the boys went to bed, and I felt happy inside. I was working on a tote bag and I finally finished it. It made me so happy that I found another project to work on, and this time the boys asked if they could help. So, I taught them how to sew.
Then one day my oldest Grayson says to me, “I like it when you sew”. I replied, “Why?” He said, “Because it makes you happy.” Wow. I finally saw that when I thought I was giving my all to the boys, I was really keeping something they needed away from them. They needed to see their mom happy. They needed to see me being productive in my own life, whether working a job, reading a book that wasn’t a picture book, or sewing.
I share this quick story with you because whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a homeschooling mom it is so easy to get caught up in all things kids. I am a recovering homeschool mama who drowned herself in curriculum searches, laminating, and filling my shelves with enough stuff to open my own school.
Yes, I can testify that the days may be long but boy howdy the years are short. My firstborn has graduated and I am sad about that. Yet putting ourselves aside for the sake of our children does everyone a disservice. Did you know that life choices and learning don’t just come from doing school? Yep, most of it comes from modeling a parent’s actions and behaviors.
I am an advocate for my boys to follow their passions. Finding what makes them happy and pursuing it. What am I teaching them if I don’t show them how?
Take a little time for yourself. Find a good book without parental advice, listen to music without food lyrics, and take in a nice breeze. Your older self with thank you.
Here are a few ideas to get you started: