I’m not crafty by nature. I’ve always been a little envious of people who could make beautiful things. They really seemed to enjoy having homemade things in their house. I don’t/can’t/won’t, whatever you want to name it, do crafts. I’m the anti-craft. My projects never turn out properly. I’ve made some truly terrible things in an attempt to use a glue gun. So I gave up more than a decade ago. I really was never all that into it. It just seemed like the thing to try.
And then I became a mother. Now I know why women craft.
My life feels more out of control every year that Monkey Boy lives here. This is problematic because I am a woman who needs to feel in control. I like my laundry folded a certain way, which is to say, if it’s not that way, I literally can’t sleep. The bed has to made in a particular way. I like the pantry shelves lined up in nice rows. A former Realtor was stunned by our closets and cabinets. She’d never seen psychosis played out in quite this way. This is not to say my house is always tidy. This is the paradox. I don’t feel like it has to be to picked up all the time, but if you’re going to pick it up, it must be done to my specifications. Poor Baby Daddy. Even after 12 years, he really is flummoxed by all this.
So recently, when I can’t control my child, my work, my family, my clients, my world, my emotions, or even my thoughts, I have taken to craftish projects. These provide me with a real sense of accomplishment and give me something to do. A friend once said the worst thing a pediatrician could tell you was, “It’s a virus,” because there’s nothing to DO for your kid. If she said, “Run around the dining room table a half dozen times twice a day,” you’d do it because it’s action. That’s what we all crave.
These craftish projects take a multitude of forms. Mostly, they are to prove I am a good mother. Or at least, not a terrible one. I make holiday goody bags for my kid’s class at school. I’ve made commemorative lamps from kits at Hobby Lobby out of wine bottles. I knit scarves for relatives who thing it’s grand. (It’s actually really bad work, but my mother, for example, still suffers from the delusion that everything my sister or I do is FABULOUS!) I’m knitting a baby blanket for my oldest friend’s first child. I plan and coordinate and organize events for friends because I have to DO something.
Now I get it. This is why my mother was cross stitching all those years. This is why my mother-in-law refinished large pieces of furniture. We all need to feel like we’re not going to lose our minds.