The Romantic Mom Strikes (out) Again!!
We forget three-fourths of ourselves to be like other people
- Arthur Schopenhaur
Before I dive into this subject completely, let me back up by giving some insight into my first stumbling attempts at domestic creativity. I’ve always been creatively-inspired but very slow in the creatively-industrious part of the equation. Now, if you think that all of this creative stuff comes easily for me, well, it does. But let me explain in a bit more detail exactly how it comes so easily to me. I am a self-described “armchair artist” and I’m also a self-determined “project procrastinator.” What is an “armchair artist?” Well, it’s similar to an armchair sports fan who gets this big adrenaline rush by living vicariously through the guys out there who are really the ones doing all the running around. You see, I can get that same sort of adrenaline rush by reading about these super-industrious, wildly motivated, and extremely creative types who actually come up with all these magnificent ideas and then execute them right down to the most minute detail—all within a matter of minutes or hours. This has got to be how Martha Stewart has become so popular over the years. Seriously, how does that woman have the energy on such a consistent basis and who wouldn’t want to be like her? I see these people write in to her magazine, “Yes, I tried your recipe for the marble fudge triple imported chocolate layered upside-down cake with the hand-dipped white chocolate almond slivers and it was such a hit for my 2 year old son’s birthday party!” Are these people for real? I have to wonder. Perhaps secretly the ones who try these things are really professionally trained chefs just back from Europe. I am truly astounded and in awe of regular moms just like me who actually undertake these things I see on TV or read about in Martha’s newest book on the market.
The highest form of bliss is living with a certain degree of folly.
On the other hand, this is me: I’m great at pouring through magazines, catalogs, and coffee table books or browsing through cute-sie little shops and boutiques just to get ideas with which I end up doing absolutely nothing. I can spend hours doing this and I’m terribly good at it. And I garden the same way. I get these great books and wonderful little tools and, of course, the colorful clogs, boots, and aprons. I wander through all sorts of inviting garden shops with their eclectic plants, pots, and garden furniture. Then I rush home full of ideas, start with some nice potted plants on the patio and perhaps a hanging basket or two and that ends up being the extent of my gardening—not that I want to stop there but my gardening high rapidly begins to dwindle. After spending hours getting all inspired, I can then get really excited about some project that I begin in earnest, get somewhere between half-way through and not even close, and then never finish. It sits there waiting (usually for months) for me to get my next giant spurt of enthusiasm. If this hits a little too close to home for you, too, please take heart. There are advantages to being this type of “artist” and even this type of “procrastinator.”
If you get it right the first time, there is no need to change
—Eleanor McMillen Brown
I’ll begin by saying that I’m someone who likes to have things done the way I want them done the first time. Not that I’m this perfectionist because I’m not. I just don’t like to do things over and over again once I’ve taken all the time and effort to do whatever it is in the first place. I suppose rather than perfectionism it’s more like laziness. Perhaps if I had unlimited time and resources I might see the situation differently. And perhaps if I had lots of professionals at my disposal to handle it all for me, then I wouldn’t mind so much re-doing a project or two. However, that’s usually not the case for me and our household. The fact is that it’s generally me and/or my husband undertaking the projects in our lives and we just don’t have huge amounts of time or resources to dedicate to any particular project. So we very carefully try to choose the things we feel that we can realistically execute and attempt to get it done the way we want it done the first time around.
This is especially true if I’m enlisting the aid of my husband because just getting it done in the first place can at times become somewhat of a lengthy ordeal. This has actually worked to our benefit in many cases although it has been from the hindsight perspective that I’ve ultimately come to this conclusion. My present-time perspective has always been that we’re procrastinating or broke both of which are not comforting perspectives at the time. However, in retrospect, there have been numerous situations when we’ve been so relieved we didn’t do something the way we had originally planned or saved from adding or taking down something we wished we hadn’t. In God’s grace and timing, once we’ve had the motivation or means to tackle something, it’s always turned out precisely perfect for our needs at the time or even more creative than we ever imagined.
Moreover, my appreciation level for having the project completed skyrockets in proportion to how long I endured not having it done. So let this be some comfort and encouragement to you if you’re still putting up with that hideous old linoleum, or those awful cabinets in the kitchen, or the putrid pink tile in the bathroom, or the “what were they thinking?!” wallpaper that won’t end (and requires SO much work to get off). When the time is right, it will more than likely be really right. Waiting, forced or otherwise, is usually worth it. Now, what can be done in the meantime? Take a deep breath and just thank God that you’re not living in an earthen “soddy” in the middle of the prairie in 1832. In other words, we count our blessings, look at the positives, and then start figuring out how we can camouflage, re-do, re-purpose, or just sit and cogitate awhile until revelation strikes. “Want” is the birth-child of great genius, so just allow yourself to be innovative and let the creativity...in all its fits and spurts...begin!