It’s well researched and reported that sewing and other crafts are good for one’s mental health and general well-being (for example, this study: The Relationship Between Quilting and Wellbeing). The simple (or not so simple!) act of making the time, dedicating a bit of space in your life to doing something creative and satisfying of itself, something completely different from the often mundane tasks of daily life…it all contributes to a balanced, healthy life perspective. Simply being engrossed in the task of creating something with no distractions is a Mindful process, and Mindfulness – the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment, and accepting it without judgment – increases both mental and physical health, as outlined here.
I got my first sewing machine in April of last year and for about 8 months I taught myself and blogged my sewing antics here. Then I found I was still enjoying the sewing very much but I just couldn’t find the time to blog about it any more, so I wound up the blog and just kept going with the sewing. About six months ago, however, I found that without really realising it, the demands of my growing toddler and second pregnancy little by little encroached on my sewing time more and more, and it dwindled into nothing. I have missed it though – missed the time just spent doing something different, just for me, the whole process of pottering about with my sewing books and patterns and fabrics.
So, in a spirit of positivity and best intentions, I am creating a whole new “Sewing” blog category here and hope that come the new year I will be regularly posting something sewing-related. For this first post I am able to share a mug rug (pattern source here) that I started last Christmas and have finally finished this week (I’m choosing to call it early Christmas project completion rather than late 🙂 ); and a doll (pattern source here) that I’ve made in the last week or so as a present for my new baby girl who arrives on Friday. Time will be even shorter soon enough as there will be two little people to care for but I’m promising myself that I’ll somehow make the time to sew again. I know from experience that it’s so good for my mental health and general well-being to have that creative outlet and time out. I just need to perhaps get a little more creative about how I make that time!
I’ve been on this journey to banish resentment and cultivate an attitude of gratitude for a little over two months now. So I’m thinking it’s time for a review of how things are going in my quest to become a mindful mum.
The resentment is GONE! Ever since I came back from my brief solo trip to the city for the happiness conference I am, well, happy! Of course I still have moments when I think I can’t endure another second of the toddler world I inhabit, and I still have a slight tendency to go mental when I can’t find my keys – I am only human, and I am a SAHM with an 18 month old child! My husband still bugs me now and then, but it is possible that I might bug him a little sometimes too (but surely not? Ha!). Most importantly, I no longer feel resentful toward him. That resentment was eating me up. I had reached a point where I feared deeply for my marriage and for our little family unit. I am so very relieved that I am rid of those destructive feelings.
Nor do I have that underlying feeling of general discontentment that was weighing me down so heavily by the end of last year. Where has it gone??! The fact of the matter is that not much in my life has actually changed. Only my attitude towards it. My husband is the same man he always was, my toddler is still just as demanding as well as a source of great joy, my lifestyle is exactly what it was at the end of last year – I am still a SAHM in a small coastal town, on the mummy circuit. I do a bit of party plan now, which is fun, but that alone would not have been enough of a catalyst for this amount of change.
Going to Sydney allowed me to take a step back and reevaluate my life from a healthy distance, as well as being such a fantastic learning opportunity. When I looked at my life from a completely different perspective, I found that there is so very much to be grateful for and appreciative of. I cannot get the Buddha’s words out of my head: You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy. I find I remember them over and over again. It is so true and it is often all the kick up the ass I need to get myself back into the right mindset!
I believe the resentment and discontent are gone because I am learning to be a mindful mum. I also know it’s an ongoing process, in fact, an everlasting one. I am excited about the new concepts I’m exploring, such as reincarnation. I’m grateful that I have found these new paths to go down as I simultaneously travel through motherhood, because the responsibility of a mother is so great. I want to give my little girl the firmest and most wonderful foundations in life. I want to be the happiest, most mindful mum I can be, for her. She deserves nothing less than that and I just feel so grateful that my headspace is healthy and open at this precious, vitally important time in the life of my little family.
One day at a time – this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.
~Ida Scott Taylor~
I am not a mindful mum, I’m a bloody grumpy mum. I love my one year old daughter and I love my husband and I know I have a lovely life, when I take the time to sit and think about it. But I have a blinding temper in the drama of the moment during “discussions” with my other half, with pretty unpleasant consequences. I often feel over-worked and under-appreciated, and I’m not good at hiding that fact from him. I wasn’t always a stay at home mum, I was once a corporate slave, and while I’m delighted to have left all that behind, I’m still a lover of the Performance Culture – I want feedback! I want praise! I want recognition for my work! Over a year after giving birth to the fabulous Miss M, I still haven’t made peace with my new role. I want to be a SAHM, so why in the hell can’t I just do it for the sheer love of it? Why do I need the acknowledgement?? Why can’t I stop feeling taken for granted, even when I know I have a fantastic husband who does think I’m fabulous, he just doesn’t feel the need to shower me with compliments day and night? I’m beginning to have an inkling that I need to start looking inside myself rather than seeking fulfillment from outside praise and pandering. It occurs to me that I need to trust a little more, worry a whole lot less and start having a heap more respect for my marriage. I’ve been playing martyr on the Alter of Motherhood and it doesn’t suit me, that much is for sure. I made this choice, I want this life, but something doesn’t quite fit, and I don’t think that the niggling yet constant sense of dissatisfaction really does stem from the fact that I hate bloody housework and my husband sometimes doesn’t put his breakfast dishes in the machine…
So, I intend to start over. I will stop feeling resentful and start feeling grateful. I will count my farking blessings and remember every day that I only have one shot at this life, and it is time to make it count. Tough years taught me hard lessons that I appear to have forgotten. Wide travels taught me perspective and I’ve lost that too. I am not my best self, and my family deserves my best self. My goal is to find out what is missing, one post per day. I will become a Mindful Mum!