I started quilting when my oldest son was about one. I had been an elementary teacher for seven years before we had our first child. Once he was born, I decided to stay home. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, and it certainly wasn’t an easy transition. I really liked being a teacher. I felt successful. I felt challenged. Most importantly, I felt like I was good at something. For the first year, I tried to stay busy and engaged in motherhood, but instead I just kept looking at the clock. 9:30? Math time. 11:45? Go pick up the kids from PE. I worried all the time about everything. Was I being a good enough mom? How could I tell? At school, it was easy to assess success. At home? Not so much.
I wish I could remember exactly how I ended up in front of my cheap Wal-Mart Brother. Desperation, probably. :-) I do remember that I was pretty terrible. I was drawing on my only experience, which was a semi-successful sweatshirt in 8th grade. I kept a pillow that I made during that time and I looked at it the other day. It would be easy to say that it really was embarrassingly awful, but I won’t. I won’t because it was the very best that I was capable of at the time. I recently replaced it with a pillow I had just made. The new pillow represents the very best I am capable of now. What a difference!
I have three kids. I have quite a few quilts under my belt, too. None of my quilts are perfect, and I’ve learned to accept that as part of the learning curve. I feel great when I sew and create my ideas out of fabric. That feeling is my gauge for success. I’ve applied that lesson to motherhood too, and I’ve learned to relax. I smile at my kids a lot….and, they smile back. We laugh and learn together. That feels like success to me.