Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Intentions First Quarter Results: Self

Original Intention: So I will read and write. Whenever I get the chance...But I also want to keep trying new things.
Grade: B A

Before I get into the specifics of what I've been doing for "me" time, I'm going to rant a bit about our society's obsession with busyness and martyrdom. When asked how we are doing, when don't we answer "super busy!"? How often do we complain about "not having enough time" for XYZ or scoff snarkily about "who has time for that?" 

I really like the attitude expressed in this quote by Laura Vanderkamp in the Wall Street Journal (full article here):

          Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.

 Her blog is full of practical advice on money & time management, with a focus (as I see it) on abandoning this cultural narrative of the frazzled working mother with no time to herself. Some of the research on these topics is fascinating (especially fascinating is the fact that people do research on these topics!) One statistic that struck me was from a lame internet poll asking working moms "when was the last time you had "me" time?"---51% said they "couldn't remember". This was taken to mean that it's been so long that they can't remember (what a great mother! what a great worker! always on the job). I call BS on that. How many people go even 3 days without doing ANY of the following: watching TV, reading, surfing the internet, talking on the phone? The problem isn't that the "me time" is so infrequent, the problem is that the activity was so unsatisfying and un-energizing as to be unmemorable. I think most people do have free time, we just tend to fritter it away and then wonder where it went.

So I've been trying to make my limited leisure hours more meaningful. Less time on i-phone scrabble or random internet surfing and more intentional and restoring pursuits. Ironically, though I originally pegged reading as my go-to activity, I simply have not been able to get into any of the fiction I've got piled on my dresser right now.

But I've actually been sewing! I made a skirt for myself, and a pillowcase for B. My seams aren't quite straight, and the pillowcase is completely ridiculous because I forgot to plan for the 4th side.I decided to do buttons and brought a big bag of buttons (oh my, that could be a tongue-twister) online--oversized primary-color ones in "fun shapes" for kids. I tried using the "buttonhole foot" & it was a mangled mess so I just (oh the shame) CUT little slits for buttonholes & hand-sewed the buttons. Even 2-year-old B, while happy with the pillow overall, looked at the buttons and said "i don't like this mummy, fix it". I also have been doing something I have heretofore REFUSED to do, and that is bake complicated desserts for no particular reason.

Its actually been fun, and tremendously satisfying, to create things that can be enjoyed by  myself and others. I never considered myself the "crafty" sort, but I am starting to see the appeal. Yes, there are many evenings when I want to just veg out and be passively entertained, but I definitely plan to incorporate more sewing projects and dessert-making into the mix. I want to sew a skirt for my 2-year-old niece (I have no girl children to sew for, sigh) and try my hand at making a pie (no I have never made a pie).

"Who has time for that?"  I do.


  1. B's comment cracked me up. I can hardly wait until mine are old enough to reject my fine crafts! I am a big fan of passive entertainment--that's quality me-time, in my opinion, but I know I also feel better when I've accomplished something tangible. Problem is it turns out I suck at cooking and sewing until the third trimester. Everything I attempt is a failure, for some reason. I made mini eclairs this weekend and they were all sunken and hard to fill (but tasted great...), and my attempt at make your own maternity jeans? FAIL. Hmm, that was all about ME.

    Point is: GO YOU! I think you deserve an A!

    1. Maternity Jeans? That is fancy-pants stuff (pun not originally intended)! I have seen your sewing on your blog & I am extremely impressed. I just got my sewing machine & my "skills" are limited to: tote bags, pillow covers that do not close, utilitarian appearing curtains (for tiny basement windows), and now elastic waist crooked seam skirts.
      I am appreciating the METHODS in cooking that dessert-making involves: whipping egg whites to "stiff peaks", browning butter, etc... It's all very science-y.

      Also, I like your idea. I am going to give myself an A.

    2. You totally deserve an A on this one, Ana.

  2. This post resonates with me so much. Since starting med school 6 years ago, I've always played the martyr - too busy, not enough time, too many deadlines - and yet there's been lots of time for mindless pursuits like television and Facebook. I've been trying very deliberately to make time for activities like running and cooking lately, and it's amazing how much time you can find when you simply make things a priority.

    That being said, time to get back to my current priority of studying.