Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where's My Inbox?

One of the hardest things for me to adjust to when I quit my well paying job and decided to stay home with my then 4 & 2 year olds was the lack of tangible evidence for a full days work. Sure there was always diapers, laundry, meals, and cleaning... but those were never actually done. We played games, went to Bible Study, and took trips to the park... and that was all nice. But something was missing.

I missed my high stress job with the overflowing inbox, endless to-do lists, and ridiculous demands on my time. Okay... not the stress so much... but the inbox and the lists... those I really missed. Being a very task oriented person, completing projects and checking them off my list was very important to my sense of accomplishment. The stacks of outgoing papers and records of completed phone calls were tangible evidence of my hard days work.

Tangibility. That is what I was really missing at home. Dirty diapers went in the trash, clothes rotated through the laundry cycle, and sweeping, mopping and dishwashing were endless, thankless tasks.

Initially I thought I'd found a perfect outlet in homeschooling... lesson planning, list making and, most of all, worksheets. What could possibly be more tangible than a stack of worksheets completed by enthusiastically obediently painstakingly completed by a 5 year old boy. Turns out that I didn't have "worksheet kids". (Which blows my mind because what's not to love about worksheets?) So I ended up with stacks of unfinished worksheets which basically amounted to tangible evidence of doing nothing. (The good news is that I'm learning that the tangibility of these years invested in the child is more of a long term payoff.)

I think this is why knitting has become such a huge part of me. I almost always have knitting out and somedays it barely gets more than a glance but most days it gets at least a bit of my time and most of my evenings. It feeds my need to create and accomplish tangible work. Some days I may only knit one round on a sock. On those days I realize that I was so busy with my children and chores that I didn't even have time to knit. Then there are the days that I knit several inches on a sweater or sock giving me that boost of tangible work that I thrive on.

Then there are the days when I get inspired by a combination of yarns in my stash and become caught up in the grips of creativity. In between lessons, I firm up the plans that have been brewing in my head for a cardigan... and not just any cardigan... no, the perfect cardigan. School work continues while I spend every spare moment getting started and quickly adding inches to my piece of art.

However, just as tangible is the act of ripping all those inches out at 10:00 PM when you realize (what you had suspected since 10:00 AM) your sizing is all wrong and you're left with the same pile of yarn you started with. Lets just say that I'm not so much a "process" knitter and this, to me, is the most painful sort of tangible. And, yes, I know one of you gets to say "I told you so," so go right ahead.

To end on a more positive note though... it was House night... and he never disappoints.


sophanne said...

What's Not to love about worksheets? I so agree.

i couldn't get enough of them as a kid.

km said...

That about sums up why I knit too. That and it's something my Gram left with me. Otherwise, the only tangible thing at the end of our day is that our house looks like a small tornado ran through the place...EVERY DAY! And at the end of a project at my job...there was a building standing somewhere.

Sheila said...

I'm the opposite on knitting. I like the process. The finished project is just a bonus. I'll rip stuff out in a heartbeat because a messed up stitch annoys me terribly.

However, I love some worksheets. However, I have stockpiled more worksheets than my kids can ever hope to complete. (sigh)
Now I don't even bother.

When I'm feeling especially unproductive I vent to ZD and he builds me back up.
He has a good way of reminding me of what all I do each day.

Julie said...

I wanted an inbox sooo much that I got one: All the kids finished work ends up there and it even got so big that we couldn't fit any more into it.
For the record, I would never say "I told you so!" It would be unkind and I hate to frog myself! So instead, I'll just say, "One should always be happy at having to knit a smaller size"

Donna Boucher said...

Julie, I like your inbox idea :o)

And your happiness at getting to knit a smaller size.

Have your children put their Christmas lists in your inbox!

Can't wait to watch House.

uberstrickenfrau said...

Having something done and it stays done is why I love knitting- nobody comes in my wake undoing what I just did! Worksheet didn't go over so big with my kids, the novelity wore off pretty quick .

Donna Boucher said...

"Is he seizing or dancing?"

janet said...

There are two in-boxes in my house; the kitchen sink and the washing machine.
They're both terribly overloaded and rarely emptied for more than a few hours.

5elementknitr said...

Whenever I rip (which is a LOT), I always begrudgingly joke to myself, "Good thing I love knitting. Because now I get to do it again." sigh.