Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What Have You Lost?

As a mother I've had some realizations lately about the state of things over 8 years into this parenting process.  I often have a hard time recalling what life was like before having kids.  Jason and I often have discussions about what in the world we did with all of our free time pre-children.  We just can't remember!  And while I know how much I have gained in these 8 years and how much I love being a mother to my children there are things that I know that I've lost too.

I remember before I had kids, I considered myself quite crafty.  Over the winter break, Jason and I were doing some cleaning out of the basement I came upon my HUGE craft bin.  I had forgotten how much stuff I had.  I was quite skilled in the arts of making lip balm, soap, bath salts and candles.  This was before Pinterest, people.  I had mad skillz.  Every year in the fall, I would start planning what my home made gift would be that year for my female family members.  I remember my delight at receiving the Martha Stewart Alphabet Soap Molds one year - I made initial soaps for everyone infused with lavender, chamomile, and other delightful fragrant herbs.  I had so many bottles of essential oils and fragrances.  When I opened up that bin in December, I was kind of grossed out at how things just didn't look so good anymore and I had to get rid of a lot of it.

Photoshop fun - Angel Caroline, fall 2004
But aside from not having time to do that kind of crafty stuff, I also feel like I lost the spark to even want to be crafty.  I used to seek out new things to try and create - now those things don't even cross my mind.  I remember when Caroline was a baby and I still had a little free time, I would spend hours learning how to use Photoshop and learning little tutorials online to do creative things to my photos.  I loved it!  I loved mixing my creative interests with my techie know how - I could turn my baby into an angel...cool!  That was also the year that I started making calendars for the grandmothers.  I even assembled them myself that year - good gracious!  (Thanks to Winkflash.com for taking that time consuming part over for me.)

But then I had another kid and my free time became virtually non-existent.  I still hunker down each November and get the calendars done for the grandmothers because I know how much they love them and quite honestly, I do enjoy doing them.  I can't just upload my photos into a calendar layout - I use digital scrapping elements and create my own designs and layouts because I just can't let go of that, for goodness sake!  It takes a lot more time but I'm always happy with the finished product.

Other than that though, I feel like that's all that I do anymore that's creative.  My head is always filled with all the different things I'm juggling between the kids, work, the house, oh yeah and I have a husband too who is often neglected (but that's a whole other post).  But I AM trying to find some time for myself.  I've recently resumed reading again and thanks to my Kindle (and Jason), I now read at bedtime.  I've also gotten back into my 5:30am workouts that I had been so religious about for a year and then slacked off for a few months - I feel so much better as a result even if dragging my butt out of bed at 5:30am SUCKS.  (But when I'm done at 6:15, I feel like I've already accomplished something.)

Although reading and exercising aren't exactly creative.  I just feel like I've lost my mojo on some level.  That my desire to be creative and express myself are gone.  Or maybe it's just that my energy/spark is lost but I keep telling myself it will return.  I look at my mom who goes to the gym, takes pottery classes and keeps herself looking great.  I know she certainly wasn't able to do much of that when she was my age with three kids.  I know that I'd like to become a better photographer, although who will I take photos of if my kids are grown up?   Will I even want to take photos of anyone other than my kids?  Not so much.  Ha!

I don't say these things with any kind of lament for the way my life is.  I'm happy with all that I have on my plate and love my children even for all the energy they require, it's just that I'm realizing that sometimes when I feel a longing for part of the person I used to be.  In some way it's a lightheartedness and whimsy that was only possible (for me) before having kids.  I know it will change as the children get older and I'll long for these days but I guess that is when I will fill the void with more things for myself.

It's funny how life works sometimes.

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