Friday, November 19, 2010

slowin' it down

by Seb Lester,

Every couple of months or so I need to give myself a serious talking to about just how much measurable progress I should expect of myself with regard to production and running my business. What has felt like multiple grueling weeks back-to-back and the knowledge that both of the kids will be home full time all next week has been my latest kick in the butt to re-group and once again reconsider my priorities. Time to get back to a place of accepting the limitations of what I can accomplish over the course of a given day at this stage in my life. While I know the answer is not for me to simply do more, it always seems the easiest route to take.

As Mom to a highly spirited little one who is with me most of the time and room-parent at my older child's school, I often feel desperate for time to work on the business. I work very late at night and any spare moment I can find during the day and on weekends. At least for the short-term, I seem to have set aside my need for time that is just for me and not at all about work. It's not the healthiest long-term perspective, but it's where I am right now. I do need to have time with friends and with my husband, but I am of the sort who requires alone-time to truly re-energize. For now, alone-time to just think, read or otherwise wander is a rarity. I am great when it comes to the need to buckle down and work until 3:00am. I can be a work-horse if that's what I think is needed. But, as we all know, failure to take care of ourselves - and I mean that in the broadest sense - takes it's toll on the whole family.

As a crafter/sewer (still not sure what kind of label best suits my work), I am all for slow crafting. (I see much value in the little I know of the slow food movement as well, but I'm leaving that to my husband even if this attitude goes wholly against the tenets of the movement.) I embrace "the process"; that is, until I get overwhelmed by lack of product. I most value quality and sustainability in my work. And making connections with others is paramount. Yet, I continue to get caught up in that massive to do list, feelings of guilt about my lack of marketing effort and longer term planning to make my business truly viable. I think I need to take myself away for a long-term planning retreat.

Perhaps documenting this recurring challenge here, so that I might revisit it as needed, will be of some assistance next week or next month when I again get overtaken by the sense that am running as fast as I can to catch up. And just what is it that I am trying to catch up with? Is it really something I want to catch?! I do want to devote more time to blogging and allow myself the "scratching" time (thank you Twyla Tharp) that is so essential to my creative process.

Currently, I am preparing for my first big multi-day craft show. Although I might like to look to the advice of other Etsians and fellow craftspeople for tips to make for a successful holiday selling season, I can't go there. There are so many excellent resources, but I don't want to feel the frenzy. I don't want to feel the guilt of not doing everything perfectly. Perfect is not for me. Instead, I'm going to try to see if I might just slow it down a bit.

I know how important it is for the girls to see that Mom takes care of herself. I know they learn far more from watching me than they learn from my words. I'm thinking of a saying (sorry that I don't know who said it first but Thoreau comes to mind). Something like "I can't hear what you're saying because who you are screams so loudly". I like that one. But I best be aware just what I am screaming.

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