Having come out of ten years of working at home as a published cross stitch designer freelancing for the likes of DMC (Paris), Jeanette Crews Designs, The Cross Stitcher (UK) magazine and Quick And Easy Cross Stitch (UK) magazine, I knew I had to find another avenue for my creative energy when the cross stitch market tanked a few years back and designers across the globe found themselves out of work as magazines closed down and manufacturers pulled back on their design budgets.
My website The Craft Boutique was to be it. A place where I could showcase (and hopefully sell) the various items I make using the different crafts I enjoy turning my hand to. Sadly, sales just never matched hosting fees and so reluctantly I came to realize that I was simply throwing good money after bad.
It’s hard to walk away from such a venture and not feel like you have somehow failed both yourself and your family by not having earned the extra bit of income you’d hoped to. I’m trying very hard to view it rather as having been an ‘experience’ as my husband so kindly put it last night.
One thing that very few people seem to understand of the stay-at-home woman slash housewife, is that we find ourselves needing to self validate in a way those that have careers outside of the home, are not called upon to do.
The very first place someone with a career outside of the home earns validation, is with their pay cheque – Monetary example of their supposed ‘worth’. Yes, I know, the abysmal salaries some find themselves working for are enough to have a person feeling worse rather than better. But it’s better than earning what a housewife does and that is essentially, nothing.
The second place a career woman/man will find validation is by the praise given by a boss or colleague for a job or task well done, making what they do seem worthwhile, giving them a sense of meaning and purpose in this world that we live in. Very few will notice the way the tiles on the floor shine, or that all four dogs have been bathed and are smelling good. How about the carpets? Does anyone aside from the housewife notice that it’s been freshly scrubbed down and is looking almost new again? Or even the toilets? Who takes a moment to stop and think that the housewife has the unpleasant task of keeping those clean and fresh? A task that can quite literally live up to the cliché of it being a shit job, but someone has to do it’?
Yes, yes, yes, a stay-at-home mom certainly has a sense of purpose and meaning, especially when she’s still in the process of raising her children and helping to mould the ethics and values of tomorrow’s adults.
However, this falls into the category of self-validation doesn’t it? For it is she that will tell herself that despite the enormous pile of laundry that seems to self-propagate in the dark, the sticky handprints on the sofa she’s just cleaned, the mud across the floor she’s just washed and having to rush her son to the doctor because he was experimenting with how many beans he could fit up his nose that…it’s worth it because that self same son gave his favourite toy truck to another little boy standing begging with his father at the traffic lights on the way home from the doctor’s office.
And it is worth it, I do not deny this. But, holding onto a sense of self as one becomes immersed in household chores, bills, errands, doctor’s appointments, after-school activities and just basically managing the schedule of four other individuals, is no easy task.
And so it is that a lot of women gravitate toward crafting in a bid to try to hold onto who they are through self-expression. Along with this comes external validation when you proudly gift a lovingly crafted scrapbook album to a friend on the birth of her new baby and you see the joy on her face, or spend hours painstakingly teaching yourself how to knit with four double-pointed needles from a clip on YouTube so as to present your husband with a pair of socks to keep his toes all toasty in winter when he rides his motorcycle.
There is really no way to explain the sense of accomplishment and joy one derives from crafting even more so when the end results are being gifted or…someone is actually prepared to hand over their hard-earned cash, for something you’ve made.
And so it is, that instead of making my first ‘official’ post yesterday, I took some personal time to mourn the closing of my website knowing full well that when one door in the hallway of life closes, another opens. What that door is likely to have behind it, I do not know but this much I do know, I will never stop trying to express my creative side for to do so, would be to deny a large part of who I am.
For now, I’ll focus on the beadwoven necklace I’m making a friend for her birthday using the leafed spiral rope technique and the blanket I’m crocheting for my pup, Molly (a Scottish terrier) to cuddle on when winter hits. As far as writing goes…I aim to get back into that again too. In the meantime, I’ll post a few pieces that I wrote a while ago, under the ‘Writing’ tab.
Anastacia – Paid My Dues