Week 23 | Make Space

Pic Frame Maker

That's it this week.  Just leave space.  Where would you like to make space in your life this week?

--Shawn @ AA/P52

I try really hard not to bog myself down with too many projects to complete.  For the sake of my own sanity, but also because I've noticed that unless I'm careful with planning my time, I get short-fused with my family.

There are plenty of projects that I've started that I haven't yet completed, many ideas and intentions that were down-sized to a more practical level.  

  • My photo wall was such a big deal…it took over a year to finish.  I celebrated it's completion quietly to myself for weeks.  
  • Maycee's teachers received gift cards to Great Harvest Bread Company because that is what she loves.  Nothing fancy,  nothing oober-pinterest-creative, but it's what May wanted to do for them.  It also happened that we thought of it while we were there one morning, so it was one less errand I had to run, one less thing I needed to figure out.  She gave them to each of them, excitedly, with a hug and cheerful explanation.  
  • My house is half-painted.  Being 5'3" I'd imagine you can figure out which half isn't painted yet.  I paint when I have time and motivation, but to paint while the girls are  awake has historically proven to be a bad idea.  They find 10 different ways to creatively ask if they can do the painting, and I get tired of hearing myself say "No, this is Mommy's project".  (The one time I said yes, trying hard to be Cool Mommy, I was such a nervous wreck that I ended up saying no anyway, tears ensued, Mean Mommy vibes all around, total backfire).  
  • The annual Valentine's cards that I sent to family and friends ambitiously in my first three years of parenthood, which included a picture of my girls (because I can't get it together in time for Christmas), was so belated this year that it didn't happen.

I've learned that if I don't have time in my life to complete a recreational task with a reasonable amount of joy or mindful concentration, particularly if it adds unnecessary stress, that I need to honor myself enough to know there is just no room for it.  There is just no space.


One morning this week I let the girls play upstairs while I started to measure out fabric for the remaining two curtains that I've finally mustered up the devotion to complete.  I learned very quickly that all they wanted to do was help and all I wanted to do was have a clear head to focus: one does not equal the other.  

So I made space.

I stopped measuring fabric.  We went to the park.  Under the spacious sky and watching the girls enjoy their playful stretch of bark dust, I decided I was going to take time with this project, no matter how desperately I wanted to take down the old-fake-peach-wood-with-green-fabric-trim shades.

I gave myself at least 2 weeks to finish them.

I planned on working on them when the girls were sleeping, or when hubbs had them entertained for a while.  

I made space in my heart, really.  Made room for it all to happen without collision. 

Making space requires planning for me.  It requires that I be more responsible and diligent with my time than my former me would have thought was necessary or cool.  

So in the evenings from 8-10PM I measured, cut, measured, sewed, freaked out, measured … and repeated. 

I found space in my day when our babysitter offered to bring the girls to me at home, to mount the headboards to the wall.  While the girls ate their snacks I decided to hang the curtains in their designated places, so they could watch the final reveal.  So they could partake in my quiet gleeful celebration.

So gratifying a project to complete.

"Wow, Mommy, good job!"

Only.  They didn't match.  

The cream battens on the larger, more complicated-to-make shade showed through as yellow.  The smaller curtain (which matched another set I made last year for the entry way) looked great with the clear battens not distorting the color of the oatmeal fabric.  

Why did I order two different battens (I'll never know)?  Was it a mistake on their end, processing my order (nope)?

I took a deep breath.  I put the girls down for naps.  I sat on the couch and looked up, the curtains looked too different from each other.  I promise I am not a perfectionist, and whether you notice it much in the picture or not, the satisfaction was not there.  All I saw was yellow lines in the fabric.  I did not make them to see yellow lines in the fabric. 

So I tried to pull off the cream battens: that permanent glue was true to its description.  I ripped the fabric.  Space where sunlight came through: an undeniable hole. 

I sat down on the couch again.  I took a deep breath.  I admit I started to cry. Thankfully, not because I had ignored my family to finish them, not because I was agitated with the girls hovering over my project.  Simply because that which I set out to complete did not match what I had envisioned.  It did not give me the peace I was looking for.

When May woke from her nap and came rosy-cheeked down the stairs, I explained to her that I was really bummed they didn't match, and that I ripped the fabric.  

"Oh, Mom, I am so sorry!  You have worked so hard on those!  Maybe your next fabric can be rainbow fabric instead".  Perfect response.  

And so, with a little practice under my belt already, I will be creating space in my days to make another, big, complicated (for me!) curtain.  

 © Houseman 2013