Crafting & unhealthy comparison

 

Cotton Yarn

 

Over the last few weeks and months I’ve read quite a number of news stories and Facebook posts about how Pinterest and ‘Mommy blogs’ are making life hard for mothers. Most with an underlying theme that those of us who DIY and make are all A-type overachievers with nothing more to do than to compete at motherhood.

This one, was posted yesterday on the Facebook page of a Mommy blogger and clearly states in its title that Modern Moms are looking for perfection in all the wrong places.

I feel compelled to comment. Particularly as of late, I’ve had a number of people not so subtly hint that I’m creating problems for other mothers.

Yes I bake elaborate cakes, host themed parties, host dinner parties, create invites, paper art, sew, crochet, embroider, knit, letterpress, re-purpose, eat mostly organic and entirely gluten-free. Then I post the things I make, create and host on this blog. I share my creations and give most of them away for free. I’m starting a small business selling a few of them.

And I’m a Mum!

I do what I do because I love it. I relax and enjoy creating. I love the space I go to in my mind when I’m making. I enjoy the process of creating as much as the finished product. For me, putting together a party is as much fun as the actual event! I find inspiration and genuine pleasure when I see what others have made and so share what I do to feed into that inspirational pool.

I don’t do these things to make others feel bad.

I don’t feel like I’m entering a competition.

I did ALL of these things before I had Munchkin and now I do many of them for her.

Lately I’m starting to feel pressure to apologise continually for my creations. But I don’t need to apologise, nor do I want to.

I’m far from perfect. My house is often a mess. I never make it through my to-do lists. I often don’t get the exercise I need. My projects sometimes belong on Pinterest Fails or Cake Wrecks. My daughter watches more television than I’d like. Munchkin sometimes eats one pot, heat and serve meals when I’m seriously short on time. My friends know that it’s just as likely that they’ll arrive at my house for coffee to find it clean and tidy and be served freshly baked cake as it is that I’ll put out a box of chocolates and ask that they ignore the clutter. I often feel like I’m struggling to find a balance between being Mother/ Wife/ Self that is akin to finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. And a multitude of other stresses, private issues, disappointments and frustrations.

I don’t post these things on Facebook or my blog. There is no point. It’s not constructive, nor, I believe, healthy to do so. I wouldn’t walk down the street telling strangers my problems so why would I post it publicly?

Why can’t we all realise that very few of us post/ share the bad things, and recognise that we all have private, sometimes chaotic lives?

I don’t care how you choose to live your life. If you chose to buy a birthday cake from the grocery store or make one. If you chose to feed your children organic, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, or entirely from the frozen food aisle. Unless what you’re doing is exceedingly dangerous I would never consider commenting on it.

Munchkin won’t care if she’s at her own birthday party with home-made cake or at a friends eating store-bought ice-cream cake. She’ll adore both parties. And I’ll adore that your little one invited Munchkin, that you went to the effort to generously host a party, that she had a ball, ate ice-cream and played with her friends. I don’t think that any party, dinner party or other project is any less worthy because the host decided to buy a cake and hates crafting. And there is no reason anyone should feel pressure to do anything they don’t want to.

I’m a firm believer that everyone should prioritise the things that matter to them and let others make their own priorities. We all chose to do things differently. It’s what makes us wonderfully interesting human beings.

So please, mother or not, if reading my blog, looking at Pinterest or another Mum is making you feel badly or like a failure, stop reading it, delete your account, ignore them and live your life as you see fit. Because I fully intend to happily live mine as I choose. And I choose to bake my daughter’s birthday cakes, host themed parties, sew, knit, crochet and anything else creative I can think of and can find time to do.

Not because I’m expected to, but because I want to and thoroughly enjoy the process.

If you don’t enjoy it. It’s simple. Don’t do it!

When we all stop turning our mere existence into a competition and comparing ourselves to everyone else, we’ll all be so much happier!

8 Comments

  • Clare says:

    Yep. This. I hate the competition. And the implied competition.

    I craft because I love it. I craft because I love seeing the pleasure in people’s (but especially my kids’) faces when they receive something I’ve made, or choose to buy something of mine.

    But most of all, I craft because it keeps me sane. It enables me to do all the other things I do. Not to show off, compete or make others feel bad. Just to keep me, being me.

  • Bronwyn says:

    Someone once said to me in respect of my FaceBook feed “you look great in all the photos you post!” Well, der. I’m not going to post a bad photo of me; you aren’t going to post a cake fail. And that’s why I love looking. You make things that are a thing of beauty. We admire artists, photographers and other creative people, and don’t criticise them for their talent. Just because we see your art on the internet rather than a gallery wall doesn’t make it any less worthy. Keep doing the (beautiful) things you do, and continue to inspire us! And maybe read this: http://momastery.com/blog/2013/06/21/quit-pointing-your-avocado-at-me/

    I read it after going out to dinner and another Mum pointed her charitable foundation for Ethiopian street children at me. No, seriously. Anyway, the article helped.

  • Nikki says:

    Eloquently & intellectually said Nic. The words admiration, innovative, caring, creative, adaptable & quality spring to mind upon reading your posts. Those that envy carry an evil pen

  • Renee says:

    Mmm, I often wonder why people, women in particular, feel threatened when someone is doing well. As in: being the best person she can be – not by working her butt off, but by having tremendous amounts of fun doing what she’s good at. It’s a calvinistic streak the Dutch have been subjected to for ages now and something the world really doesn’t need. What example are we setting, what do we want for our kids? To carry the weight of being nothing but average, or being the best person they can be while having a blast doing so? I know. My dear, go and have fun, do what you rock at. Then I’ll do exactly the same 😉

  • Janice says:

    Hi! I just found your blog through your cute robot Advent calendar and decided to look around while I was here. These comparison issues are really such a pity. I can’t begin to compare myself with the many amazing crafters out there, so, fortunately for me, I don’t! I just consider myself super lucky to find so many cute, brilliant, stunning, beautiful, nifty, fantastic, etc. ideas on the internet, just waiting there for me to enjoy and simply be in awe of, whether it inspires me to make something or not. A good design is something to be super proud of and always a joy to see and that’s how I made it onto your website! Thanks for sharing.

  • Honest mum says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I’m so inspired by all the creativity I see in my feeds. I find it baffling people can’t enjoy and feel a failure from it. Love your advice x

  • megan says:

    I think you’re awesome! you’re an artist and you are a great person to hang out with (we were at the same birthday party once). I can’t stand the incessant intolerance of mums who happen to be doing things differently. In any way. As if a difference created an immediate judgment about the person’s mothering. look forward to seeing your art!

    • next to nicx says:

      Hi Megan,
      Thanks! I’m now wracking my brain to try and remember all the lovely people at recent birthday parties 😉 Give me a hint?
      I’m glad you’ve found the blog!
      xNic

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