Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tangled up.

I walk past this tangled mess of yarn about 50 times a day. It sits on top of the filing cabinet that is just outside our sewing room/office.

Sometimes I walk past it and think if only I had the time...sometimes I think I should chuck it out with the rest of the clutter, sometimes I think what a waste of something so gorgeous, sometimes I remember the day I bought it many years ago at the Daylesford market and the dreams of crocheting a vest, sometimes I ignore it and sometimes I pull it down and try to find an end and then get distracted by something more pressing and give up on it.

Would you think I were a bit mad if I told you I feel a lot like this tangled skein of wool right now?

That I feel a bit tangled and messy and pulled in every direction.

My house is a mess and by brain is a mess right now.

Today I should take the washing off the line before it rains, fold and put away yesterday's laundry, bake some bread, make the pizza dough for dinner and something delicious for afternoon tea, plant out the gazillion onion seedlings, strip and make some beds, mow the back garden, paint the caravan cupboard doors, pick berries and make jam, find Jazzy's ballet gear, clean up my house, sort and move Pepper's clothes into her shelves, reply to my emails, weed the kitchen garden, do a food shop, return some calls...the list is endless.

The list is all confused because I am a work from home-stay at home Mum.

Work jobs versus home jobs. Its a never ending battle that fills my head.

And then just to complicate things further, there are the Mother issues.

Miss Pepper, my third child, my baby. I want to indulge her and breathe her in and savour her because our time alone together will fly away. But there is so much I need to get done before the big girls get home from school and my working day ends. Sometimes we play but most often I find myself making a game out of something that needs to be crossed off my list.

And lastly there is the stuff I want to do. I want to sew and knit and print and crochet and draw. I want to fill all our wardrobes with Mama made sundresses and pants and pyjamas and make some for my shop and the present drawer. I want to give in to the itch to create. I want to feel inspired.

I am so consumed with questions and recipes and solutions and possibilities and my hands have blackberry splinters in them from days ago and I wonder if there is any such thing as a woman who watches daytime television without any guilt and I've written this all out to see if it helps and makes sense of it but I'm not sure if it does and its time to go and do something and I wonder if you can relate or if you think its all a bit crazy...a bit messy...I'm not sure if I'd have it any other way though...would I?

See ya.


  1. You are pulled in every way. i don't know what to say other than I hope the yukky feeling leaves soon.
    Hugs xx

  2. F@&k yer, I can relate... I have the same thing going on, my house is in chaOs and when I look at it I get depressed and try to do something about it only to create more mess, I need to do all the boring things before I pick up and the after school madness starts. But then again I prob won't!
    Do what you can and the rest can wait.

  3. I know exactly how you feel, Kate - that's pretty much my state of being too... I just try to plod my way through. Often, the thing that yells the loudest gets done first but then I take a secret joy in giving the quiet things priority ;) Good luck sorting your tangle... or learning to accept it :) Kx

  4. snap snap snap on everything! (cept my tangled ball is red and hiding in one of my stash tubs) Hope your (our) head clears soon and things are up again not down.

  5. JUst prioritise each day as you need to Kate. Some days it will be the chores, some days it will be to have an all day tea party with Pepper and some days you will just say "bugger it" and sneak off to sew. Heck, one day you might just aim to untangle that yarn. There is always something that is needing to be done. I have come to terms with the fact that my list will never clear but that some days I can just ignore it for the sake of my sanity and peace of mind. Hope you feel more settled soon.

  6. I totally relate to what you are saying.
    I think as mothers we already get pulled in different directions. Then if we try to work from home the balance is near impossible.

    I am sorry I dont have an answer but I understand and am there with you in the mess

  7. I think you need to find Jazzy's ballet things first if it is for today that they are needed.

    I don't think you are crazy, just completely overwhelmed. I know it is useless to say, because no one listens till it is too late, but please find that special me time. There are some really important things on your list like the food shopping and making and planting out the seedlings but other things could be dropped off the radar like the caravan painting and the emails.
    Dare I say, unless they are visibly dirty or smelly the sheets will wait for another week and so will the folding. Pepper's clothes will wait a few days too. As a working Mum who is exhaustipated some things need to slide.
    Hugs to you. Cherrie

  8. I once read that a messy house is helpful for your children to learn to problem solve (how do I get from the door to that toy in the corner without treading on any other stuff on the way?), and also helps recreate the outdoor environment that most children lack these days (rather than rock-hopping they're clutter-hopping)! Anyway, this is what I tell myself when my house looks like chaos.

    I think it's an admirable thing that you include Pepper in undertaking the tasks that need doing - because it takes time but she is learning and one day soon will be doing these things for herself. One on one time with mum is great - no matter how they get it!

    Just like a tangled ball of wool - you tug at one thread, which tugs on another thread and eventually, with time, it will be rolled into seperate balls and order is returned.

    Good luck with it - you do an amazing amount of stuff with your time, and every mother has a list of things to do that is longer than the hours available to do it!

  9. Morning Mrs Foxy Lane - shit morning has gone!
    I think you should find a rustic old frame and put that lovely pic of your tangle in it and pop it on the wall - not sure it will help, but I find a little bit of creativity helps :)The other stuff will still be there, but you might be in a happier frame of mind to tackle them.

  10. I love untangling yarn. Send it to me, and I'll send it back neatly wound. One less thing to do in your busy busy life.

  11. I know exactly how you feel Kate. Sometimes I finish a job and then walk into the kitchen, see all the dishes still to be done on top of everything else and for a moment I can't breath right. Just one more thing to do. I read a lovely book a while ago about just doing little bits at a time and trying to have some sort of routine so nothing gets out of control and so that's what I do now. I fold a bit of the laundry (which is what I hate to do most) and reward myself by replying to a few emails. I pick stuff up as I go around the house and I'm trying to be a lot more organised with my cupboards etc. I hear you with the wanting to create instead of doing the stuff that has to be done. Break it down into little bits. It's the only way to go. xxx

  12. Gee Kate I feel overwhelmed just reading your post! I agree with Cotton Kiwi, doing a bit here and there does help make it more manageable. I try and get my chores done whilst Isabelle is at school, although sometimes she comes home and after an hour it looks as though nothing was achieved at all. Dont you dare throw that yarn away either, if your feeling lost you can post it to me to untangle and I will do it for you. I know it is very hard to get things done while you work and have children at home. I used to always struggle with that when Lachlan was small so I stayed home to enjoy Isabelle but in the next week or two I will be working again so I will need to get organised so I dont get overwhelmed too. Just remember to do small things as you go and sometimes getting the girls to help with things is good for them too!

  13. i feel exactly like this all the time... (i even have splinters in my fingers as well, but from picking up nuts :) i am a constant list maker... i put all my things on a list and work on the most urgent ones first... which means a lot of stuff (for me usually) has to wait :(
    i try not to feel too guilty about making games out of chores... my little one is actually usually happiest when we do that...

  14. Hey Kate, when I am torn between creating and cleaning, I allow myself the creative time, if I can say at the end of the day, that I have crossed, several small or one large job off the 'to do' list.

    Doesn't always work, but I feel i have been able to have a little bit of cake and eat it too.

    Hope you manage to untangle your thoughts and thread,

    Claire :}

  15. I get to this point to (often) I have started doing what cotton kiwi suggested this year and am finding that it is working. I thought that a would have mire time to do things this year with Amelia at school, but I seem to spend my days watching the clock so I am not late to get her (we have to walk in and get her for the first year)
    Just start somewhere and the rest will slowly get done, although I find that I do one thing and a 1000 more things need doing then:(. Being a mother is a never ending juggle and one that I would not change. x kylie

  16. Yes, I can relate.

    And now I have Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue" stuck in my head.

  17. i'll just send you a big ol' hug because you definitely need one.

    be good to yourself, do the urgent things & enjoy Miss Pepper whilst she still is at home.

    yummm, pizza....

    thinking of you ♥

  18. You make me think of the song 'Tangled up in blue' by Bob Dylan (I like the Whitlams version better though)
    Life wouldn't be life without the ongoing battle between needs vs wants. A bit of both each day maybe?
    Ab x

  19. I dont watch daytime tv but if I do take time out for a movie once in a while totally guilt free, sorry. Otherwise id go nuts.
    Indulgence is inevitable/soothing and necessary for your sanity.
    Does Miss Pepper ever ask you to sit and watch something with her? My guys used to think it was the best thing EVER to have me stop and cuddle them til they fell asleep to their favourite movie.

    p.s. Youll still be able to breathe her in when shes sleeping, x

  20. um yep i have your same variety of madness... the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, the kitchen is full of dirty dishes, theres no milk in the fridge, im exhausted from being out all day (buying fabric to sew dresses that need to be sewed by sunday) i need to cook tea, but i want a coffee and the nearest shop is a 25 minute return drive which i cant be bothered doing. and my head is all tangled just like yours. i want to go into my room and lose myself there for a while but the kids need to eat and they cant even make themselves pancakes because theres no milk. and we live on a dairy farm!

  21. I feel like that most of the time, and I don't work (for money anyway!) - just parenting and trying to live a good, handmade, home grown, home cooked life - which is just the way I want it, but it takes so much TIME!

    My yarn often ends up tangled because the kids love to play with it. I just give it to my husband. Makes him feel useful :)

  22. Kate sometimes I think you live in my head! This is excactly how I feel - lots of these things anyway - wanting to savour the thrid child, being full of ideas of things to create and not having the time, being torn by what to dofirst and feeling like I get nothing done.
    On days when it gets really bad I make a list of the tings I have done - not what I want/plan.need to do.
    The list of what you have done, when it includes 'small' things like getting lunch made and packed and ready for everyone, will be surprisingly long - and you'll feel rewarded by what you have achieved.
    Give it a try.
    Hope you feel better soon.

  23. It is like you have just spilled the workings of my mind onto your blog page! Almost all the things you list are satisfying in some way, but not when they compete with all the others. I don't have any answers, but I love that you try and make it fun for your girl as you go along. And yes, breathe her in as much as you can.

  24. I think you sound like a normal Mum trying to find a balance. Try not to be too hard on yourself, your girls just started back at school and it takes time to get back in the groove. I think making chores fun like you do with Miss Pepper is a great way of getting things done and if she's happy then that's what matters and you are spending time together too. Take care, do what matters most to you. Hugs Catherine xo

  25. Without our routines and a to-do list each day I get very messy too. Ok, I still get tangled at times, but I find the routines and lists really help. I break things up over the week so the list doesn't seem too endless and daunting.

    I think I need to know what to expect to a certain degree, try not to expect too much of myself all the time and just stop every now and then to 'smell the roses' as they say. Or at least sit in the library for half an hour! Also, learning to say no to people.

    Some days I feel really productive and on top of the world and other days I can't wait for the day to end. And I only have one child!

    I'm also good at the 'if I do this then I can do that'. If I put the clothes away and make dinner, then I can sit on the couch and crochet.

    I hope you are feeling less tangled soon and that writing about it and getting feedback will help. xx

    PS. And if you are feeling lucky, why not enter my giveaway? Lets see if you can win twice?! :)

  26. Oh Kate, I wish I had great words of advice to give you, but I can't and only hope the feeling goes away soon.
    And well on a completely different topic, I'm so glad to see someone else with a huge tangle of yarn, because this happens to me all the time. I know what it means to feel you only want to do it.
    Sending you love xo

  27. I think that is what being a mum of young kids and working from home is like - constant tangles and muddles and it's hard to sort out the competing priorities. Be gentle with yourself!

    And hey, did you know that there is a whole group on Ravelry of people who like untangling yarn? And they have a list of people who are happy to untangle it for you - and some are Victoria based! Go on, outsource! It's beautifully coloured.

    Lara @ thornberry

  28. I think we all feel like that!

    The guilt of wanting space but trying to savour those little people before they get too big. Trying to make the time slow so you can keep them close but wanting to get to the bit where you have uninterrupted time too. The juggle of work, life, family, self that we woman go through.

    It gets a little easier when they get bigger, sort of ;-)

  29. Ditto, ditto, ditto - to you and most of the other comments above. Some days the pulling each way is torture and some days it's all fine and seems to flow. I wish there was an answer but there just isn't!

    Hope your day improved. Lou xx

  30. I thought it would get easier as mine got older and more independent, as a stay at home and work from home Mum of 4, but it seems worse now than when they were all little. I wouldn't change a thing, except to add a few more hours to my day, they need me now and I'm completely committed to them, I want them to look back on their childhood knowing I did everything possible to make it a happy one.

  31. :-D I can relate despite only having one child and no "work from home". There are so many great ideas and things to do and presents to make and people, who I should email, and endless lists on which everything seems to have the same high priority except the things I'd really love to do. Though I noticed that at some point I stopped getting worried/guilty/bad about making the tasks from my to do lists into games for both of us to do.

  32. I can completely relate, and today I have the most horrid headache (again) and I want to just run away from it all for a few hours, but I know once I was away - I'd miss it all, and want to be back in my hovel / chaos.
    I'm wondering if I'll ever be able to get a grip on it all, or if I will have this 'tangle' forever now?

  33. I am a list maker, and with four children, this always seemed to work for me. List one is jobs that need to be done that day, list two is jobs that could do with being tackled but won't hurt waiting, and list three is my reward I do a job on list one.....I get a reward on list two......a little sewing, blog reading, book reading etc. I find if I slot these little bits of me time throughout the day, some may only be 5-10 minutes, I seem to get quite a bit done, my little oasis of sewing, reading,knitting gets me through the sometimes overwhelming demands of a busy mothers day..........and the best advice I can give you is don't beat yourself up about the things you don't manage to get Scarlette O'Hara said, "tomorow's another day".

    Hope this helps in some small way,
    florrie x

  34. Well, you're talking to those in the know, alrighty. Head spaghetti is the norm around here and I've been an absolute grump because I don't seem to be able to do anything without being pulled in three different directions and then throwing in a pile of self-inflicted guilt for being unable to do anything well. If that sentence made any sense, it's a minor miracle. Told you, it's head spaghetti.

  35. hide the yarn.or ask miss pepper to.
    i always come to your blogs and feel in awe of what you make (in all areas of your life).
    i hope the heaviness of it all goes away and you see how much you do get done and how beautiful it is everything you create.

  36. I read your post and felt overwhelmed. I've actually been sensing a lot of that around blog-land for a few weeks. I know I feel it some days. I've recently stopped working and am now officially a stay at home mum, although my 3 year old goes to kindy 3 days a week because otherwise we'd both go mad. You love them to bits but as my aunt once said 'we wish their little lives away", waiting for them to have a nap, waiting for them to go to bed, waiting for the next day he's at kindy. At the end of the day I think we need balance in our lives (fun stuff for us and doing some house worky stuff). And I'm trying really hard to make the days he's at home as fun and productive as possible. And for him fun can mean baking muffins or making his pizza for tea, not anythig really elaborate.

    hope that helps.

    one step at a time

  37. I think you've sorted a lot out in your mind, just by writing it down and sharing it...

  38. Think you must be confused, that is actually my life you are describing. And really you are welcome to it. Its a bloody nightmare! I rocket between being exhilerated by the fantastic things that happen in my life and then 10 mins later find my self head in hands really down hearted because I can't find the kids swimming stuff in amongst all this mess. Its got so bad recently that I have stopped inviting my neat and tidy friends round because I'm sure they will think I'm such a slovernly slut. My house feels like a squat at the moment. Why can't Men and boys tidy up after them selves? Never do I have anytime to my self, except when I'm asleep. But then I do have a fantastic job, I am my own boss and I am booking a holiday this evening. So may be its time to take the head out of the hands and get on with it. Easier said than done though. Let us know if you find a solution.

  39. love the colours in the yarn . don't bin it, it's beautiful.

    There are never enough hours in the day - I say this each and every day and I always think life is far too short I want to live,live,live. Love life and be free :) x

  40. Do Dads have the guilt that moms do?? I stopped my part-time return to school after having 3 kids after 2 semesters when my main class was only offered 4 morning a week and that meant putting kids into several hours of daycare a day and no other classes I needed taught close by the first class time, which meant even more daycare to make the trip to college worthwhile and taking forever to achieve the degree to teach --only to have someone else teaching my most important students - my own kids. Stopped that and got part time jobs, but it comes back to haunt my quite a bit more lately... Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing?? just gotta trust that God will take care of those details...

  41. I like Tania's definition of it, "head spaghetti". Got a rather large case of that myself at the moment, which is getting nothing done because I'm trying to do too many things and then forget what it was I started out on doing... sorry, what was I talking about again?

    Maybe something is in the air.

  42. Hope your week has improved since your post. I think we all have days of "head spaghetti"! Please post me down that mess of yarn, can't have you wasting it and I love untangling (find it relaxing for some reason!).

  43. Yes, sounds familiar. I want to enjoy my baby too, before she is all big, and so much sewing and making I want to do.....

  44. Oh! Kate sending a big hug
    I so remember feeling like this on many occasion in my earlier married life

    One consolation for getting older it does get better...a tip l learnt before l was totally swamped was to say NO sometimes and do take some me time or you will make yourself ill
    Believe me l know!
    Hugs Suz x

  45. I can SO relate Kate ... and regratbly have no answers.

    I try to be kind to myself and I try to limit what is on my list. I also try not to use the word 'should'. The word is too loaded. I try to use 'could' - personally I find it a little more empowering.

    Try, try, try away I go... slugging it out as I am pulled in so many different directions.

    You are smarter than a ten year old - you'll get it untangled in time.

  46. sounds like you sneaked into my house and my head for a little while! it's a very tough gig this SAHM deal. i try to manage it by doing the have to do and then if the need to do gets too hard sometimes i write each job on a slip of paper put it in a jar and fish them out 1 by 1. whatever i get, i do. don't forget to put yourself at the top of the priority list. if you are emotionally bankrupt you have nothing left to give. at the end of the day you really are ace

  47. Oh dear...your head sounds like mine of late! You are not alone Kate and I hope you find your way out of the "tangle" soon. I really think that some extra hours in the day would make the world of difference, but that is never going to happen, so take a breath and hopefully that balance you are seeking will show up...somewhere... Thanks for blogging so honestly, you seriously sound like the voice in my head! P.S If you want to send me your tangle I'll do it for you...cos I have lots of my own "tangles" and if someone offered to fix mine, well I think that would be neat! Plus I am breastfeeding and I think I could de-tangle whilst doing that!

  48. felt like this too this year...I have been calling it not getting into the flow of 2011!
    Just discovered your crochet Rick I am now inspired to make some...have just the unfinished quilt waiting for some added...thanks for the inspiration!

  49. Once again it is so refreshing to read your blog and not feel alone in the craziness of motherhood. It really is a tough gig and there aren't enough hours in the day, but it does help me to know after reading your post and all of the comments that I'm not the only one that doesn't have it all together and am struggling through the tangled day.
    Like you though, when I'm thinking more rationally, I wouldn't have it any other way either.

  50. And it will always be so!

    Love that lump of tangled yarn! That is one of my quirks- I LOVE to untangle things. Can't leave them alone. If you want to drop it in the mail to New Jersey, USA, I'd be glad to return to you a nicely rolled ball of yarn! (not even kidding; it's an obsession, really!!)

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