Figuring it out

When it comes to how I handle big things in my life, my attitude has mostly been to trust my gut, jump in and figure it out as I go along and when I get there. While I do consider myself a planner, with new challenges and roles I have taken on, I have never sat around to try and determine my expectations or philosophies prior to moving forward. I would much rather have a taste of what my new adventure will be like and then work on processing how I feel about it. I have found this to be especially true when it came to how I would be as a mother.

I suppose I had the idea that once I had children, I would still want to work outside the home and try to "do it all". I didn't spend much time thinking about what our (myself and my husband's) day-to-day life would be like once we expanded beyond the two of us. How could I really have known until we had kids?

Well now I know. As it turns out, I am happier than I've ever been having left the outside working world and chosing to stay home with our babe. When we made that decision, I don't think I had any idea what was in store for me. I thought I was giving up a huge part of myself in order to allow Addie to grow up and be nurtured my her mother in her home environment. What I didn't know is that I embarked on a road to self-discovery that has brought me to this point: asking questions, thirsting for knowledge and wondering where it all will lead.

In looking at what we feel is really important and where our priorities lie, I'm left with trying to figure out what that means, how it fits into our lives and how we raise a family. Some things came very naturally, such as passing on our faith. We go to mass, we pray as a family, we have books that help to teach Addie what we belive. So far, so good. In other areas, I feel like I am light years behind in determing how to put ideas into action. Here are just a few examples of my mind-wanderings...

I want to encourage Addie to be creative and explore her environment. How do I do that? What craft supplies do I need to begin? Where do I find instructions for age-appropriate activities that we can do together?

I want us to have healthy meals and eat foods that are as pure as possible. Where is the best place to find these foods and how in the hell can I grow some of them? Can I really make bread and spend enough time in the kitchen and garden to reach these goals with a 22-month-old on the loose and a twelve-week-old baby inside me?

I want to make the most of the space we live in and surround us with meaningful objects that aren't new, but new to us. Does this mean thrifting? Where do I do that? How do I do that?

I am someone who feels so very new to the world of handmades, living organically, repurposing objects and incorporating these things into our home. It feels like the right path to be on. I have so much to learn and some bad habits to break. I am incredibly grateful for the world of blogging moms, who without even knowing it are encouraging me and teaching me every day. (If you haven't yet taken the opportunity to check out the blogs I link to on the right, spend just a few minutes exploring. I do every day and love what I find!)

While I am searching for the answers to these questions, I don't think it's helpful to remain frozen in my fear and lack of understanding. I am going to take a deep breath, start small, build from what we have and learn as I go.

Attacking the crafting dilemma...
Step 1: buy some felt, card stock and glue sticks.
Step 2: sit down with Addie and make stuff with it.


Anne (Fox) Brand said...

Omigoodness where do I begin?? First thing I thought of were puzzles!!! Kids of all ages LOVE puzzles, and you can never start too soon. They’re great for hand-eye, fine motor and problem solving. You can also make your own!! Also, felt boards!! Get a big piece of cardboard and attach a big piece of felt/flannel to it. Now, with additional felt, cut out people, animals, flowers, cars, airplanes, etc. These little pieces that you create will stick to the big piece of felt on the cardboard. You can create scenes, game, felt board stories, things like that. If you have trouble getting your creations to stick to the felt board, just stick a piece of Velcro (the rough side… available at craft stores), to the backs of them. We have many “felt board stories” at my preschool. With craft sticks you can make puppets, picture frames… don’t be afraid to go to the internet for ideas!! Also, incorporate holidays into your crafts and games, like make personalized Valentines for friends and family. You can even make felt hearts for your felt board! Another fun thing to do is have a “sensory” bin. Get a shallow but sturdy storage container, the bigger the better, and shallow enough for her to kneel beside it and reach in. Fill it with wet spaghetti noodles and spoons and let her go to town! You can fill it with anything! At my preschool we fill ours with dry oatmeal and farm animal toys, colored sand and beach toys, fruit loops and rubber duckies…. Sometimes we put water and dish soap with some toy dishes and let them “wash” dishes! They love it!!
Please if you have any questions or need ideas let me know!!
~ Anne

sara said...

Thank you so much for your comments, Anne! I went to Michaels last night and got a huge piece of felt to make a felt board. Love your ideas!!!