Posted in Writing Life

*Homework and Sewing

Yesterday I read the last 50 pages or so of the books you all recommended to me. I’ll post about that later. But today is about something else. It’s about wanting to skate and not skating because everyone had colds. It’s about doing homework with kids while sewing and not sewing very well. It’s about A being frantically busy and out of the picture all day of necessity on a day when both kids had a lot of homework that required supervision and explanation from a parent.

It’s about snapping at the girls because they (as kids do) gave me blank looks with hair hanging over eyes or fled the scene and got occupied with more pleasant tasks like decorating the science project rather than writing it up. And I couldn’t get the tension right on my sewing machines. And I was running up and downstairs reading the manual (on the computer), then looking over the sm.

It’s about intending to make cupcakes with the kids and make dinner, but instead M (my eldest) made the cupcakes on her own for the first time and A is whipping up a quick dinner. Because it is 7:36 now.

And in the end, the girls got their homework done and they learned something. I was the only parent only for a few hours, and I am so glad A is back with smiles and the good spirit that he usually has. I made a drawstring bag for M, though there were rough edges I forgot to turn under to finish them off because I wasn’t focusing on what I was doing any better than my kids were at times. Yet it’s a strong bag and serviceable.

Here it is:

It irks a part of me that the bag has so many mistakes on the inside, and yet another part knows that I don’t have time to unstitch and re-do it. I reserve that meticulousness for writing.

But should I? Where do you draw the line around artistic integrity and craftsmanship?


Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

14 thoughts on “*Homework and Sewing

  1. Advice from my older sister:
    Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    Kids can do their own laundry.

    Re The Bag: If you didn’t end up having to use duct tape on it, it’s art. If you did, it’s craft.

  2. Oh this sounds like my life. I feel all the time I never do anything properly. If I only knew what the answer was I promise I’d tell you straight off. But I do like SM’s comment – that made me laugh too!

    Incidentally, the bag looks lovely.

    1. Litlove, thanks, and my daughter used it today to carry her swim stuff to her lessons with no prompting from me! In fact when she called upstairs “Mom I’m taking your bag” I thought she meant the one I use for swimming that has the shampoo etc in it.

  3. It’s so hard to keep a proper perspective on the small things that go wrong! Everything does always work out, one way or another, but in the meantime, it’s so hard to keep one’s cool. The bag looks just great!

  4. I used to be a horrible perfectionist, but life is too short to rip out all the stitches when it works just fine and looks good from the outside. Yes, reserve the meticulousness for writing.

  5. Perfectionism: Mostly my available time changed it. My life is busy–probably busier than most–and I just don’t have time to worry about things that cannot make that much difference.

    The other thing was my hobby of rubber stamping. If one is a perfectionist at it, it loses its fun. It takes forever to finish something, and often it’s worse than if one had let it go imperfect. I had to learn to paint outside the lines and how to repair bad damage (cover it up with something cute) instead of start over. As it is, it’s a huge therapeutic endeavor. As it was, it might have made me institutionalizable.

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