Why do I sew? Why do I paint? Why do I decorate? Because I know full well that when we have kids I will NOT HAVE TIME. And this scares me, a little bit. It's the apprehensive fear. The slow, creeping stalk of inevitability. I will have kids and they will consume my very existence. I can't wait to immerse myself in little toes and wet kisses and bath-time giggles, but I'm also terrified that they will take every ounce of me. Of who I am, of what I want and how I do the things I love to do. Is this silly? Sure. Ideas of "who I am" and "what I want" will most assuredly shift.
These things may change, but the apprehension still remains. I have a love/hate relationship with kids. Sound dramatic? In eighth grade I wrote a paper about raising kids, but instead of referring to them as "he" or "she" I thought I would be incredibly clever and call them "it". Because I would never have them, therefore I wouldn't even deign to call them by a pronoun. In high school I briefly entertained the idea of having children- in a theoretical, far-away-futuristic sort of way. It wasn't tangible, I didn't worry about it and I certainly didn't think about it in any real time frame. Then I babysat four hellions next door (for VERY good money) and re-evaluated. Kids were much further away than I initially thought.
I think some of my ambivalence towards tiny tots comes from the advice of my mother- one of the strongest and smartest women I know. She raised me much younger than other mothers. At a time when girls her age were taking high school exit exams, she was battling morning sickness, overcoming the fear and prejudice against teen mothers and endeavoring to give me the best start she could. She did it because she had to, because she wanted to, because she's amazing. But she told me she would never wish that struggle upon me because she worked so hard to alleviate any short-comings I may have faced due to her decisions. So I was raised with the firm belief that kids should come later. Plan your life. Live your life. Enjoy what you have and then add kids, because, while not easy it will likely be easier. So kids were never something I immediately looked forward to.
Marrying Mr. E didn't change my outlook, but suddenly I was surrounded by kids. Nieces, nephews, cousins. Well-behaved, whiny, independent, feisty, quiet, all of them adorable. You marry the family, not just the man. I inherited 12+ kids in my life, all under 12. I can barely remember when my OWN siblings were that age, much less as babies. Children became a shockingly close and intimate thought. Would my children look like this? Behave like this? Will they be shy or outspoken? Will they cry or be clingy? I was thinking of my own kids (all unborn) as quickly-becoming-realities. They were real. They were thought-provoking. And on some glacially inching level, they were coming.
"Five years" we told everyone. We want time to enjoy each other's company. We want time to spend with each other, blissfully alone and together after four years of dating "long-distance". We want to connect and come together in ways that only those selfish lovebirds can. Five years. The more we thought about it, five years became....five years again. And again.
The times we softened, holding a newborn, snuggling with toddlers, listening to "I can write my name"s and "I can count to 100"s. Then I'd think about the pregnancies I'd witnessed and envision (as only a never-pregnant woman can) the pains of labor and shudder and think "Not yet. I'm not ready. We're not ready."
But it's there. It's always there. It's like a weight hanging over me, a slight pressure on the back of my mind. Work now, before you have kids. Go out now, before children. Have single friends and parties and breakables at knee level before sticky fingers and lovely coos and crying tired eyes.
So I create, to alleviate that pressure. I sew, because it takes my mind off of it. I paint because I still have the creative capacity (and the energy) to do so. I read for the sheer pleasure of turning pages. This is my time for me, without expectations, without anticipation, without lovely little distractions. I am not a mother, but I need time to myself to grow, to learn, to experience precisely because I will be a mother. But more than that, because I want to use that time to find myself, all by myself, after the hustle and the bustle. I want to be a better version of ME.
In all honesty, I create because I work at an incredibly left-brain job, I graduated from a college with a reputation for being stuffy and research-y and for a long time I felt very at-odds with my "old-fashioned" creativity. How many microbiology majors crochet and dream of picking up knitting needles? How many mathematicians would rather spend afternoons painting sweet nothings for their spouses? What clinical scientists take weekends to make shirts and pajamas and duvets?
I had (erm, still have) a very hard time allowing myself to be both of these things: the scientist and the artist. I felt self-conscious that one would ruin the other- like I couldn't really be a scientist if I read chick-lit or romance novels and I couldn't very well like learning about microorganisms when I'm trying to learn the ukelele, now could I?
But I can. Because that's me. All of this is me. I am intelligent and studied enough to discuss growth stages of bacteria, I can troubleshoot a medical device reprocessor but I can also bake my little heart out and I enjoy craft projects with kids. I am mercurial, multi-faceted and adaptable.
I like to think that my creativity now will pay off in the long run. That all of my blog-following and Pinterest-inspired endeavors will pass down to my kids. Not only that, I hope I instill a sense of wonder and curiosity in my babes-to-be. I want them to ask why and what for, to figure it out because they can, because they want to. I want them to love painting and scissors and reading out loud but also looking through microscopes, and learning about tiny creatures in our ecosystem, just like their mom. So I craft to stay relevant. I craft to release my worries. I craft to enjoy time to myself. I craft for my kids, who, someday, will enjoy every minute of it.
Link Up! Titus Tuesday, Not Just a Housewife