The number one greatest challenge I’ve faced in my journey into motherhood is taking time for self care. Even the words self care sound like the antithesis of motherhood. To me, being a mother means your job is to give. Not only do you give life to amazing human beings, literally birthing them into this wild world, but you also then provide the nurturing, sustenance, protection, guidance, direction, support that they need to grow and develop into independent creatures. You’re needed literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for years without any breaks, vacation time, or even sick days. Unless you make a point to create, make, steal, demand–whatever it takes!–some time for yourself, it is so easy for self care to fall completely by the wayside. (Ask me how I know!)
My self care of choice these days is taking time to sew. It took me about 5 years and 2 1/2 kids before I realized that I absolutely needed to make time to sew and create, and that making time to do something I love wasn’t selfish; it was a necessary part of this beautiful dance called life, and without it, my dance steps were more of a heavy trod than a light leap. When we’re all lightly skipping and twirling, everyone is much happier than when mommy is stomping and dragging her exhausted, grumpy self around.
Even since coming to this realization, I still struggle some weeks to set aside time for me time and self care, especially when there are deadlines looming. A while back, I was in the thick of a few looming deadlines when I received an email from Andy at Plum Organics Tea Company asking if I’d like to try some of their tea and review it on my blog. In perusing their site to see if it seemed like something I would enjoy, and more importantly, something relevant to this space, I discovered their Self Care blend. I also found myself immersed in a world of inspirational quotes, encouraging mantras, and soothing encouragements to take time for oneself. Relevant? I think yes. Full disclosure: Plum Organics provided two packets of tea in exchange for my honest review on my blog. All opinions are always my own. My gratitude for Andy’s timely email and the resulting realization that I needed more focus on self care is also fully my own, and huge.
As a result, I’ve created this short list of three tips (or ideas) for self care for (mommy) quilters. I include “mommy” in parentheses since the tips apply to any busy quilter, mother or otherwise. I hope it will inspire you to take a moment for yourself amidst your busy day:
1 – Create just for the fun of it. No purpose. No end goal. Just make.
Especially with an endless stream of quilty requests, whether for the next baby quilt for a family member or friend, a graduation quilt for a cousin, teacher gifts for your children’s teachers, or business related quilting, the list of quilting “needs” rarely, if ever, ends. Despite this–or because of this!–it is so important to create for the sake of creating.
I’ve recently joined in with the Girt by Sea sew along led by the Modern Makers Retreat and have been hand stitching the center medallion with some fabrics I won from Bari J a month or so ago (Sage fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics). They are outside of my usual style and color scheme, it is a project with no end purpose or need, and it’s fun! Meticulous cutting, hand stitching, no stress or deadlines. That’s chicken soup for the quilter’s soul.
2 – Slow down and take time to sit. Drink tea. Hand stitch. Read.
When it feels like there’s no way you’ll ever accomplish everything on your daily to-do list day after day, it seems like leisure is impossible. Yet, truly, what’s 10-20 minutes? Take the time to sit, relax, drink some tea, hand stitch, read… whatever helps you fully relax.
I’m a huge fan of English Paper Piecing (EPP) and the tiny meticulous hand stitching is meditative for me. Sitting down with a mini pot of the Self Care tea from Plum Deluxe with a sweet snack and my hand stitching, even if only for a few moments, can help rejuvenate and reset my patience level so that I’m better able to tackle the rest of the day. Try it!
3 – Take time for yoga, or simply stretch, move, and breathe mindfully for a few moments each day.
Breathing is something that you do all day and night, but mostly likely rarely think about. Yet taking a few moments to be more mindful of your breath, notice the way you are sitting, and then sit a little bit taller, relax your shoulders, and take a few deep easy breaths can make such a difference in mood and how you feel physically. Especially when quilting or sewing, remember to take a break every so often, sit tall, breathe deeply, and gently stretch your arms, shoulders and back. Your mind and body will feel so much better!
Even on the busiest day, I hope that this list will inspire you to take a bit more time for self care. Your mind, body, and family and friends will thank you! Now I just need to help myself take my own advice more often!
More about Plum Deluxe Tea
The first thing I noticed about Plum Deluxe when I visited their site was that their tea is organic, non-GMO, hand-blended, and fair-trade, all by a small independently run company out of Oregon. The focus of the company is community and inspiring people to live their best lives. Even their motto is: Making moments matter. I encourage you to read their About page; they are not your everyday tea company! Everything associated with the tea is packed full of positivity–even the ingredients list on the tea states that the tea includes love and gratitude. That’s my kind of tea!
The Self Care tea is fruity and delicious, and smells divine as soon as you open the package. I love loose tea, since seeing the actual components makes me feel like I’m enjoying tea straight from nature.
Andy was kind enough to send me a package of the Self Care blend and a bonus package of Oregon Breakfast Black Tea, since I’ve been wanting to decrease the amount of coffee I drink and the Oregon Breakfast flavor is rich and robust. Not only does it have hazelnut essence, it includes love and gratitude. Mmmm.
I mentioned that a big focus of Plum Deluxe is community; they also have a fabulous tea of the month club – for only $10/month subscribers receive 1 oz of a custom seasonally-perfect artisan loose leaf tea made just for the club. Subscribers also enjoy access to a robust and supportive private tea lover’s community, tea-inspired recipes, discounts on extra teas and supplies, and other surprises. They even host member meet-ups throughout the year, and several of their members host self-organized group events year-round. Andy was kind enough to offer my readers a free tea of your choice in your first month when you join the Plum Deluxe tea community. Be sure to tell him Kitty from Night Quilter sent you, and enjoy!
I enjoy how drinking loose leaf tea forces me to slow the daily rush. The practice of getting out the loose tea and boiling the water allows me to slow down a bit, so that I can remind myself to breathe a bit more deeply, stand a bit taller, and chill out. With three kids under 8, I have to tell myself, insist to myself–chill out–quite often. In the grand scheme of things, this mess and chaos doesn’t matter. Everyone will be better off if I take a moment to breathe. Sip some tea. Have a snack. Stitch in a sunbeam. You know, that rare rainbow unicorn called self-care for (Mommy) quilters. I’m going to *try* to work the practice into my life a bit more often. I think we’ll all be better off for it.
13 thoughts on “3 Self Care Tips for (Mommy) Quilters”
I take a moment for me to read your kind post! my moment of self care! thanks!
I love your post. Every One of us needs to take time for ourselves. I feel like I’m being selfish if I do anything “fun” ,that’s just for me. I’m not being selfish though because when I take time for me I’m better in many ways around others!! Thanks again for your post. Have a great day!
Thanks for the great post – I think with our busy life everyone needs a quite break.
I am definitely a better Mama when I take care of myself. I’ve been making an effort to actually get enough sleep, and what I’ve realized is, I actually get more done now. I thought some things would have to fall by the wayside, but I have more energy and motivation to do them when I’m rested. I’m also way nicer and more patient with my kiddos. This post has made me think about how lovely a cup of tea sounds, so I’m off to brew myself one now, thanks!
I agree with the earlier comment – reading your blog post is one of my frequent acts of self-care. I love the gentle touch you have in expressing your thoughts and so appreciate the beautiful pictures of creative stitchiness during a hectic day work. Wishing you many moments of peace and refreshment.
sometimes it is easier to say YES, and help others, but we all need to know that looking after ourselves is the #1, for body, soul and mind. The early morning time alone, fire lit in winter, coffee made, is my time. What lovely tea,
Kitty, so many wise words. As a mom of two young adults, I commend you for this encouraging post. It is okay and right and good for moms to take time for themselves. I never felt like I could, but now I know that not only my family would have benefited, but I would have as well.
This really resonates with me, too, Kitty! Carving out time to sew or do any other form of self care is next to impossible right now (I’m counting down till the day the toddler stops making it his life mission to destroy the house if I so much as walk away to get a tissue), but it’s so important and I’m trying to make it happen. I’m actually reading this just after walking in the door from registering my kids for drop-off care so I can start scheduling some periodic mental health breaks for when my husband leaves. (And I love Plum Deluxe! I also joined recently and getting their cute – purple! – packages in my mailbox is a welcome treat. The perfect excuse to sit down and relax for five minutes and pretend I don’t hear them all wrestling upstairs ; )
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You’re absolutely right, we all need some time for self care! This year, I made it a goal to take better care of myself after neglecting myself for a couple of years. It was difficult to rewire my brain to treat myself with care, but so worth the effort. I’m so much happier and healthier now and I’m finding a balance that makes me happy most days. 😊
There should be no guilt doing things for yourself when you are a mom. Yet we all look at the loads of laundry, the unclean bathroom and put it ahead of ourselves. I remember the truest thing my father said when I had my first daughter – “look after yourself first Nancy; without you she has nothing.” It was a wonderful thing to say. I think I can honestly say that when I take time for myself – to create, read or exercise; then I am a better mother. When I don’t, I turn into a witch full of anger and frustration. I know which side I would rather be…
Well said. Tea, maybe music, a podcast or an audio book and some hand work is a great way to de-stress.
I’m not a tea drinker, even though I continually try! But all 3 of these tips?? YES. So good, thanks for sharing!!