Monday, April 14, 2014

Surprised, Preapproved, and Getting Rid of Fluff

Mommy fashion! Let's talk about baby-commemorating jewelry. There are lots and lots of options - and many of them are expensive and/or impractical (I cannot believe that I am the only person whose child is bent on snapping the chain or putting tooth marks in the pendant of any necklace I try to wear). And if you do something that has a little charm or tag for each child, then what happens if you have another kid later and the matching addition is no longer available? (That's the sort of thing that would bug me.) So, my advice is: don't feel pressured. If it's not something that matters to you, then don't do it. Actually, let's just go ahead and apply that to all baby-related advice. For example, we don't have a "baby book" (I don't have time for that - my concession is a line-a-day journal, because there are admittedly moments that I will later appreciate having preserved) --- but because I love bracelets, I did choose to order one with Brooklyn's initial and birthstone from an Arkansas-local (actually, Little Rock-local) artist (Bella Vita, if you're interested - she's great to work with, and her pieces are lovely).

There's too much fluff in our lives. Between well-intentioned-but-impractical advice and unreasonable expectations, the already somewhat overwhelming quest to raise a Tiny Human in reasonable health and safety while also being concerned for their soul becomes depressingly impossible, and what's really important gets buried under a pile of Other Stuff. I crawled out of a tired haze to read Lisa-Jo Baker's new book Surprised By Motherhood last week, and it was a breath of fresh air. Not a how-to book (there are entirely too many of those, and none of the people writing them have my exact child so they end up being how-not-to books), but a me-too book. It was a refreshing, encouraging, and somewhat validating read - I think I've found my new go-to shower gift (along with a wee knitted hat, because every new babe needs a handknitted something).

The bit of knitting I began with the book ended yesterday in a jacket remake (just in time - two days ago, it was sunny and 75, but today it was 45 and raining sideways). I needed an End It Project-approved spring jacket for the cool rainy days (that was not my beloved white pleather moto jacket because Brooklyn tries to chew on it and her little teeth are sharp) so she and I went on a quest to Plato's Closet (see rule #5). I replaced the plastic "tortoise shell" buttons with stashed coconut shell ones (someone's flea marketed button jar would also hold lots of remake possibility), and the belt with simple netted-looking lace. It would have been nice to use actual vintage lace - however, the quickest way for me to achieve the same effect was to knit it myself. The finished piece is much more feminine and flattering than the original - overall, I'm pleased.

In the crafting category, as well, I also turned a printable into a sturdy bookmark. I roughly cut it out (because I have strong feelings about efficiency and it is not efficient to neatly cut something out twice - besides, doing it this way "seals" the edges better) and overlayed both sides, first with Washi tape, then with packaging tape, then cut it out along the actual edges.

Remember how I said that I was giving up staying up late for Lent? This is part of that (I've been sticking with that, by the way - going to bed when Adam goes to bed, and when he's not here going to bed before 11pm without having spent every minute prior frantically Doing Things), reading/journaling through Love Idol. Because we all have a God-sized hole in our hearts, but we industriously try to fill it with fluff - some other something that will give us the approval we crave, but is never quite enough... so as I read through the book, I'm working through my own "love idol" (that is, the specific area or areas in which I strive the most), giving it a name so that I can begin to conquer it. At this point, it's beginning to look like "being a Godly wife and mum" is my Scylla, and then "finding success in something-other-than-that" is my Charybdis, and I sink between the two. There are so many people and books and blogs who jump at the chance to explain (in long, detailed lists) what being a Wife and Mum should look like - except that (like those how-to books I mentioned earlier) none of them actually practically apply to my life but I end up feeling like I must be doing something wrong, then, if it doesn't apply (because if I don't take my list and coupons to the nearest budget grocery store on a scheduled day every week or two to gather supplies to stock our freezer with homemade casseroles, then I am failing at domesticity, stewardship, and, therefore, Christianity - oh, Scylla, your teeth are sharp!) I read through it once quickly, and now I'm going back through again, slowly - I'm just on chapter two this time, but I'll let you know if I make it through the strait once I get to the end.

Where is the fluff in your life, that buries you under unnecessary weight and hides what's really important? How do you battle it?

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