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October Carnival of Natural Parenting: A stitch in (quiet) time saves momma’s mind.

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Finding Balance

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. For parents who practice attachment parenting, it can be tempting to center our lives around our children – but it’s not healthy. This month we’re going to talk about taking time for ourselves.

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The idea of having “time to myself” is a relatively new one for me. Years ago when Hannah was small she would sleep through the night and was so easygoing and sweet-natured that by the time she hit two years old people were lining up around the block to take care of her. I had more babysitters than I knew what to do with. So finding some time to have fun or go on dates wasn’t a problem.

Then came Patrick. He did nothing but scream for two years straight. I never contemplated having any free time, and I was pretty sure I never would again. Just getting through my day with everyone alive was my goal. And then came Willow. By that point Patrick had calmed down… But now I had three and it was becoming a bit difficult to find someone willing to watch all three littles. And it was kind of a moot point anyway, because by that point I had become thoroughly entrenched in the attachment parenting lifestyle- between babywearing, cosleeping, and exclusive breastfeeding I had no interest in going out on the town. I was Momma. I wanted to be with my babies always.

Since Willow was born two major life changing things have happened. We’ve had another baby, and my husband started a new career. It took me a long time to figure out I still needed time off from mommyhood. It started to sink in when Hannah, Patrick, AND Willow were all asleep before nine o’clock. I didn’t know what to do with myself- I was so used to having to be “on” all the time. I soon realized that I needed that time to myself. It actually made me a better and more patient mother.

Now I get time to myself every night- Cooper falls asleep by eight-thirty or so, and he usually sleeps straight through the night. This has become my time to sew or blog, surf the internet or sometimes just sit and stare into space. The huz is a long haul trucker, so I get a ton of alone time. When he first went on the road I often felt lonely and I missed him so much it was a physical ache, but over the years I’ve learned to love it. Don’t get me wrong- I adore having him home with me… But being alone is cool too. Sometimes by the end of the day I am totally touched out… So vegging on the couch and watching dvr’d “House” or “Doctor Who” all by myself is a certain kind of bliss that only other mothers can understand.

The thing that helps me find my center is being creative. I love to draw and paint, to write, and especially to sew. It never fails to surprise me how good it feels to make something pretty. I always forget it when my sewing things are put away, but when I take them out and start picking through fabric for a new doll I remember all over again how much I enjoy the creative process, and how satisfying it is to create something from nothing.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Balance — Sheila at A Gift Universe has put her baby first — and has no regrets. (@agiftuniverse)
  • A Moment for Mama — Starr at Earth Mama has learned how to recharge on the run, so she doesn’t miss a moment with her children.
  • Take a 30-Minute or 5-Minute Me-Break — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now discusses the merits of taking small daily breaks to maintain balance. (@DebChitwood)
  • Achieving Balance — In a guest post at the new Natural Parents Network, Heather explains how yoga has helped her find balance in her personal and family life. (@NatParNet)
  • A Stitch in (Quiet) Time Saves Momma’s Mind — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma didn’t realize she needed “me” time — until she got it and had no idea what to do with herself. (@kitchenwitch)
  • Attachment Parenting and Balance — Michelle at The Parent Vortex believes that the last item on the “attachment parenting” list is both the most important and the most overlooked. (@TheParentVortex)
  • Little Breaks Bring a Little Balance — Jen at Grow with Graces finds balance – some days! (@growwithgraces)
  • Finding Balance — Are you a Type A mama? Dionna at Code Name: Mama is, and she needs your help to find balance. (@CodeNameMama)
  • (high)Centered — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has had a spa gift certificate sitting on her nightstand since last year, a symbol of her inability to take time for herself.
  • Taking Time for Me — Marita at Stuff With Thing takes refuge in the world of books, with her daughters immersed in reading beside her. (@leechbabe)
  • Writing as a parent: October Carnival of Natural Parenting — Lauren at Hobo Mama didn’t let parenting put her passions on hold. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • The Dance of Balance — Balance isn’t static. It is dynamic, it is a dance, it is about keeping in touch with you. Read this wonderful bit of wisdom from Seonaid at the Practical Dilettante. (@seonaid_lee)
  • Rest Hour – a Primer — Do you get 15 minutes to yourself each day? How about an hour?! Mrs. H. at Fleeting Moments shares her tips on how to incorporate a “rest hour” for adults and kids.
  • Separation Is Critical — Only through enforced separation with the end of her marriage did Jessica at This is Worthwhile realize she should have taken time apart all along. (@tisworthwhile)
  • Bread, Roses, and a Side of Guilt. — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy isn’t ashamed to admit that she enjoys a pint once in awhile, or that her daughter recreates it during pretend play.
  • The World from Within My Arms — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds balance despite her work and her husband’s commitment to art through attachment parenting. (@RachaelNevins)
  • Balancing the Teeter-Totter — Rebecca is rediscovering balance by exploring her interests and passions in several different categories. She shares in this guest post at The Connected Mom. (@theconnectedmom)
  • Balancing this Life — Danielle at born.in.japan is slowly learning the little tricks that make her family life more balanced. (@borninjp)
  • Uninterrupted Parenting — Amy at Innate Wholeness has learned that she does not need to interrupt parenting in order to find balance.
  • Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life, it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance.
  • Taking the Time — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker has all the time she needs, now her girls are just a bit older.
  • Please, Teach Me How — Amy at Anktangle needs your help: please share how you find time for yourself, because she is struggling. (@anktangle)
  • A Pendulum Swings Both Ways — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment found herself snapping with too little time for herself, and then veered toward too much.
  • Finding Balance Amidst Change — It took a season of big changes and added responsibility, but Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! now feels more balanced and organized as a mama than ever before. (@bfmom)
  • At Home with Three Young Children: The Search for Balance, Staying Sane — With three young kids, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings knows parents sometimes have to adjust their expectations of how much downtime they can reasonably have. (@sunfrog)
  • Attachment Parenting? And finding some “Me Time” — As a mother who works full time, Momma Jorje wants “me” time that includes her daughter.
  • A Balancing Act — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes has concrete ways to help keep centered with a little one and a new baby on the way, from exercise to early bedtimes to asking for help. (@sheryljesin)
  • Aspiring Towards Libra — Are your soul-filling activities the first to be pushed aside when life gets hectic? Kelly of KellyNaturally.com aspires to make time for those “non-necessities” this year. (@kellynaturally)
  • SARKisms for Sanity — Erica at ChildOrganics has found renewed inspiration to take baths and laugh often from a book she had on the shelf. (@childorganics)
  • 18 Responses to October Carnival of Natural Parenting: A stitch in (quiet) time saves momma’s mind.

    1. I’d love to know how you find time to paint. I only have ONE child and I haven’t painted in years! Granted, I’m a single mama of a special needs child. Still, I need to try to find a way to paint again.

        • By the time my son goes to sleep at night, I’m completely wiped out. ;-)

          I’d like to try to make time to paint while he’s at school. However, I’ll need to find a big study easel first. And buy new paints. And brushes. And…And…

    2. I wish that Tom and I could balance our alone v. us time better. Most of the time that we’re in the same vicinity and Kieran is asleep, we’re off doing our own things. We *should* use some of that time to connect – but you’re right – at the end of the day I am very touched out. And often, I just have no patience for light conversation (part of the reason I’m rarely on FB/Twitter too). I imagine that you and your hubby have learned to make the most of the time you do have together, since it is so much more precious. And as far as loving creativity/end results – you are so right! Even though I’m not the best seamstress, I love looking at what I’ve spent energy on creating. It’s like a physical piece of me.

      • YES! Exactly. This is one way that the huz’s job works for us. It will be better when we move and can see him MORE often, but I do enjoy my alone time too. At the end of a difficult day I really need it to decompress.

        Finding time to be crafty and creative has really helped me to relax. And? I really love that there are things I have spent time creating (little bits of me, really) all over the world :)

        <3

    3. I don’t know what I would do without alone time. I can totally wait for kids but knowing I have friends around with loads of advice I look forward to it, too. :)

    4. Yes! I totally agree! So nice to hear from another mama with a larger family –h aving more kids actually clarified my need for downtime even more. I, too, relish my kid-free evenings and am so thankful to have them — I think it really is key to feeling happy and healthy (mentally, anyway).

      I too have found doing something creative during this time REALLY helps. And I still forget this often, though! I love your dolls, those are great!

      We are still working on finding the balance between “me time” and “us time”, but we are doing a lot better, lately. Sounds like your situation actually works well for you guys!

    5. That quiet time after they are in bed has become so precious to me, too! With a new little one on the way, I wonder if I’ll miss that or if it will continue to work out.

    6. I really love your revelation that you needed to find a way to be alone with yourself. It sounds like you’ve filled the time admirably and have made it something really refreshing and enjoyable for you. Also, you’re inspiring me to take out my sewing! :)

    7. The word “bedtime” has sparkles and fairy dust on it for me, it’s such a magical moment in my day. I only have one child and I get extremely touched out. I try to balance it with doing something just for me whenever he’s asleep (that includes nap times) and when he wakes up I’m better able to be 100% present. I’m really impressed that you’ve managed to do this with 4x as many kiddos running around as me ;)

    8. I love it when the kids are tucked in. When number 3 arrived and was up till midnight and number 1 and 2 were getting up at 6 a.m. I missed that quiet time at night soooooooo much.

      And yeah, getting a sitter for 3 kids is a different ballpark then getting a sitter for 1, isn’t it? I use a sitter to babysit 1 or 2 kids while I spend time with or do errands with just one of them. Funny how you can adapt to thinking taking care of just one kid is a break!

    9. My husband is away for a whole week on a little man-adventure vacation. I have to have a friend stay the night for three nights to look after the kids while I am working in the mornings, but I am really looking forward to having more time to watch TV and be on the computer. Unless of course my helpful friend ends up being more draining than I am hoping for. Fingers crossed!!

    10. [...] A Stitch in (Quiet) Time Saves Momma’s Mind — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma didn’t realize she needed “me” time — until she got it and had no idea what to do with herself. (@kitchenwitch) [...]

    11. I so relate to your comment about being ‘touched out’, I really enjoy time just to sit and decompress.

      I’ve not sewed in a very long time and I really should get back to it.

    12. >> a certain kind of bliss that only other mothers can understand.

      Oh yes, this.

      Joni, I don’t know how I’ve never found your blog before now – I feel like I’ve been following you on Twitter forever. Glad to have connected with you! :)

      -kelly

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