Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Chronology of (my) Knitting

Looking back on my Ravelry projects page it's clear I was a more prolific knitter when there was at least one pre-school child at home. Last September, our youngest child started school (where I was suddenly able to help out more frequently), and we got a dog. I had thought these were the main reasons for my reduced knitting, but over the last few weeks of the school holiday - the first time I've had both children back with me almost all the time, for an extended period - I've reconsidered this position. You see, I've been desperately itching to knit despite doing more with the children, and still taking care of the dog. 

The last year seems to have erased the memory of the extent to which a "full-time" parent's day is made up of seemingly endless repetitive tasks, with only a fleetingly visible benefit*. Here's a typical school-holiday-weekday as an example. Note that it is logistical, rather than covering all the ad hoc things like adjudicating sibling squabbles, soothing pains, giving encouragement, etc:
- get up (too early), 
- empty the dishwasher, 
- feed the kids, 
- feed the dog, 
- clear up (reload the dishwasher), 
- walk the dog,
- time for a snack, 
- do something or go somewhere,
- lunch, 
- clear up again, 
- walk the dog again, 
- do something or go somewhere, which will no doubt include an afternoon snack, 
- time to cook dinner, 
- fill the dishwasher again, 
- tidy up, 
- hoover, 
- walk the dog for the final time,
- bath/shower time for the kids,
- put them to bed/ story/ chat etc. 
- At some point amidst all that, the laundry needs to be done - the joy of washing, drying and ironing clothes that will be back in the dirty linen pile before the end of the week. At the end of the day, with the kids safely tucked up in bed and a minute of silence, my husband (who has be working hard all day and had a long commute) comes home hungry and ready for his dinner. He looks around at the (inevitable) mess and asks what I've been doing all day, maybe not in words, but in the unconscious twitch of an eyebrow. 
- A few (too few) hours later it all begins again. 

Thinking about it I'm pretty sure this is why I was knitting a lot more when the children were younger and this ceaseless monotony was my all day every day**. Almost everything else I did was fleeting - the kids got hungry again, there was more mess to clear away, always more laundry to do, nothing I did seemed to last. Except for the knitting. That was something tangible. Something to show for the passage of time, another day gone but some progress to show for it - maybe a few rows, another pattern repeat or a sleeve finished. Knitting became a way of validating the time that had passed.

Thinking about all this, I remembered a knitting clock - google told me it was Siren Elise Wilhelmsen's clock which was in the news a few years ago, so I looked it up again.  I can totally relate to what Siren says in this video about the knitting and yarn showing the time that has been, and the time that is yet to come... 

Can you relate to this too? 

*I'm not talking about the long-term benefit of spending time with my children, or cooking nutritious food etc for them. I'm talking about all the logistical stuff which comes with running the house while the kids are in it. 

**Lest you think I'm having a whinge, please be assured that I love being with my kids - they are funny and (to me) very cute. I also know this time is finite and I'm also really grateful to be able to do all this without having to work outside the home too... but it's still much more enjoyable for a six-week block than when it was my whole life.

Postscript: After writing and scheduling this post I came across an archive article from Glennon Melton which I just loved and could completely relate to - she talks about Chronos and Kairos time in relation to raising her kids. If you can relate to all this, you might like to give it a read.

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