Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why Knit & Crochet Communities Are SO Important



When I made the move from my home state of Ohio (Go Buckeyes!) to PA, I was so isolated.  In OH, I was a busy Medical Assisting Instructor and Externship Coordinator who also served on several OH. Department of Education Curriculum Panels.  Every day was working hands on with people. (Which is why I had loved being in patient care as well.)  When I moved to PA, I became a SAHM.  And although I've traded business cards for construction paper and my stethoscope for a broom, I love it!  The only thing that I didn't like was this feeling of no adult socialization.  It was my newly acquired hobby of knitting that allowed me to meet some amazing women, some of whom have become dear friends.

I sought out a local knitting group and a local yarn shop.  Between the two groups, I grew so much in my knitting and really found a terrific social network.  Unfortunately, I had to stop attending sit and knits on week day evenings since my hubby's job often required long days and I felt bad asking him to come home and try to work from home with 2 screaming kidlets so that I could go and knit.  And although he would do it for me, it was selfish of me to ask.  So I quit going.  Then, I had a grand mal seizure.  Everything changed.  I had to rely on rides everywhere because I couldn't drive for 7 months.  And although my friends (one in particular) were AWESOME about carting my bum everywhere, I felt so guilty asking.  Then we bought a new house, my littlest started Kindergarten, and I've had a few health problems.  So needless to say, I've not been to a knitting group in months and months.  And I miss it so very much.

I think the ladies I used to knit with probably think I've ditched them for another group, but I haven't.  I've just been hanging out in the house.  There's been a lot to do here and my husband works ridiculously long hours.  So, when he's home on the weekends, I hate to ask him to juggle the kids while he's trying to get stuff done at home that he couldn't do all week.  (Like mow the grass or work on projects in the house that I would have no clue how to do: electrical wiring, et cetera.)  But now, I'm missing my in-person socialization. I spend my mornings working for various companies performing PR (via my home computer) while my DD is in Kindergarten.When she gets home, we usually go to the library, craft, or do things together.  Then DS gets home and it's a flurry of homework, making dinner, and getting the kids' stuff ready for the next day.

Nothing makes me as happy as being a SAHM.  But I realized that knit & crochet communities are so vitally important in the lives of those who participate.  Many are women like myself who just need some time to socialize with other adult women.  Some are working women who need a little down time from their hectic jobs.  Some are looking for new friends or to learn new things.  And many are a combo of several.  Feeding that need to be a part of a community is nothing new.  Remember the quilting bees of old?  The sewing circles?  The bridge clubs?  The bowling leagues?  This was common place years ago - hobbies that brought people together to socialize.  And for some reason in 2011, SAHMs are made to feel like they could not possibly want to have socialization outside of PTO, soccer games, and church because that means they are putting their wants ahead of their families.  To that I say, BULLSHIT.

Let's face it, we want so badly to be the perfect mom or the perfect wife or the perfect employee, that most times it's at the expensive of all of our time.  We're told that in our leisure time we should only want to organize the class party, provide the snacks for the soccer game, attend parent groups, or cart little Janey or Johnny to their myriad of activities.  If we spend 1 hr a week at knitting group, we're selfish, horrible women who should atone by volunteering at the school the next week or agreeing to host a neighborhood BBQ.

What I've learned is, I'm a much happier and effective mommy, housekeeper, and wife when I allow myself a little time that is JUST for me.  I'm not talking 2 minutes on the cellphone on the way to dance class for DD.  I'm not talking sending a tweet about cooking dinner for the family.  I'm talking utterly selfish, ME time.  Time to regenerate my mind and soul.  In my case, time to indulge in a social and creative activity that does not involve balancing it with reviewing flashcards, dusting, or folding laundry.  {{GASP}}

Local knit & crochet communities provide a sense of belonging; a sense of contribution to our crafts; and a sense of self.  They promote fellowship, friendship, and love of craft.  They give your brain 1-2 hrs a wk to relax and stop thinking about carpool, taxes, grocery shopping, and remembering to buy spray starch.  So find one in your area.  GO!  Give yourself permission to regen once a week for 2 hours.  It will make all of the difference in your health, happiness, happiness of your family, and of course, your WIPs.  ;)

I'm going to give myself permission and start going back to knitting group.  Do the same for yourselves!


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12 comments:

  1. I say good for you! I'm not a mom but I understand the need for ME time. Everyone needs that. I'm also in PA. Wondering where in PA you are. Would be cool to get together and knit!

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  2. Amen to that. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

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  3. AH-HO! I couldn't agree more. Me time is essential to my sanity and knitting gives me both the mental calmness I need (like meditation) and the social interaction that I crave!

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  4. I run a weekly knitting group and although sometimes I feel like is just want to stay home. It's good for me to get out and the fact that I have to unlock the doors for the other ladies makes me go.

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  5. I loved your post. I hope you actually take that time for yourself.

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  6. I totally understand and I totally agree with you. Every woman needs to take time for herself regardless of if you are a mother, stay at home mom, employee, daughter, aunt, etc.... Women always put others first and in doing so lose a bit of themselves. I wish you luck and think it is great you are making the decision to make yourself important, too.
    Meredith

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  7. Thank you for expressing what I feel. After my stroke, when I was in my 40's, I was isolated at home with my 3 children and working on recovering. After 3 years I was finally able to knit and quilt and sought groups for socialization. These days I have an empty nest and my knitting and quilting friends are my social group.

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  8. I did my first knitting group a few weeks back. Haven't been again because I've been working nights. Hopefully, I can catch it next week. They seemed really nice. Glad you are feeling better. Get thee to a knitting group!

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  9. I couldn't agree more. I run a weekly knitting group in my studio and I have both SAHMs and Working moms and they cherish their "me" time. When I can't have class, sometimes they joke that the are going to come and sit on my steps and knit.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us.
    I must say I went to Stich 'n Bitch night a year ago and I quitted because they meet in the evenings. Sometimes I have thought about going back, but after a year it's too late?

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  11. I'm a SAHM and I wish I could get out of the house alone for an hour and a half a week! Unfortunately, because of health problems and medications I am on, I can't drive anymore, so I have to be carted around. Second, I have an extremely ADHD 4 year old son whom I love to death, but most people cannot handle, including his grandmothers. So, I stay home and get my knitting time in when everyone is tucked into bed and I rely on the internet for my socialization! We have a wonderful group of knitters and crocheters on Twitter, Ravelry and Facebook, and I thank God every day that I am a part of that group :)
    jwitt33

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