Getting off a Merry-go-Round

Its Sunday evening and if this had been the weekend that I had planned right at this moment Joey and I would be playing catch up today with chores, spending time with the kids and sleeping late.

If this had been the Saturday I had planned, we would have been coming back from Blowing Rock right after the show with about a 2 hour drive, grabbing a fast food meal, exhausted and feeling drained only to pick up our kids from my parents at about 9:00pm. My parents would be concerned that we were both to tired and did we make enough money to warrant all the effort. I'd re-assure them that it was a good day and that we are fine. The kids would be wired up and hard to get to sleep and even though all we would want to do is basically collapse into our bed, we'd still need to read to everyone, get them settled down and to bed later than usual. Sunday would be followed with a similar feeling one gets after drinking a tad to much. Ours brain are hazy, ( mine tends to be a bit worse then Joey since I worry a whole week before a show) and all we want to do is lay around all day and do nothing because our bodies sort of hurt from all the hauling of gear. Well at least mine always does. We'd be sort of grumpy with the kids and try our best to get everyone to bed early so we could crash early Sunday evening ourselves. Not a very restful weekend to say the least, but at least I would have once again sold some pots!

Well, this was not the way we spent our weekend. Joey and I slept in on Saturday morning, enjoyed the paper together and a good cup of coffee. We did some chores around the house, went to the gym and welcomed our kids back around mid-afternoon and spent the evening with friends cooking out and watching all our kids play together while enjoying some good conversation, laughter and a few good beers. The previous night we even got to enjoy just one on one time with dinner and a movie - something we only do an occasion. Today we did clean the house, Joey and the kids spent some time outdoors and got some ice cream at a local produce stand while I finished up the kids school shopping list.

The reason my weekend was different was because for the first time ever I called an canceled my spot at a show. I've never done this before ever and I have to admit, although it felt good the over-achiever in me and work horse ethic felt ashamed for bugging out.

On Thursday evening after a week of trying to do to many things at once I just gave up and said to myself that I just couldn't do it. I was to tired and needed a break from this merry-go-round I've been on for awhile. Truth be told I just felt like I didn't have enough work to make my booth fill up and I couldn't see one more day of running around. The thought of what I had to do Friday morning just loomed over my head thinking about trying to re-fire and salvage the few left over pots, packing up the truck that night, getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and all the energy it takes to set-up, sell your work and than break it all down again. On top of it all, I have the kids to consider and school starting next week. So....I just told Joey I didn't have it in me and he agreed and Friday morning after waking up with migraine I called and canceled. I than called my folks who in turn told me to bring the kids over anyways so we could have some free time and by 6 o'clock Friday evening my migraine was gone and I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulder.

Its really hard sometimes to say NO and realize you just can not do it all. I am finding this out slowly the hard way which is a hard lesson for me to learn. When your a working parent and you want to still be part of the crowd ( the pottery crowd that is) you just can not do it all. You can try but you have to be so wise about your work time and family time.

I learned some good lessons this summer about working and trying to make the summertime enjoyable for the kids. Guess I found I can't do both! Next summer I won't be doing so many shows. The Fall I won't be doing so many shows either. Sometimes you just need to look at the reality of things and except them.

Next week my priority is getting everyone settled into their new environment and than I'll get back to focusing on what I love to do and see, once again how to re-invent being a studio potter/teacher, parent and partner all at once.


Tracey Broome said...

When Wesley was very small I was on a plane every week and working so hard, trying to keep up with the corporate men I worked with and prove I was superwoman. Well I wasn't and the best lesson I ever learned was saying no and getting off the merry go round before my child grew up. Being a mom is the most important thing you will ever do in your life. My kid is seventeen and will go off to college this time next year. Enjoy those babies now and make pots later or make them when you can grab a few hours. Pots will wait, kid won't!!!
I love that photo, so peaceful, just like you must have felt this weekend. Learn when to say enough is enough, you will be better and healthier for it. Good for you for staying home, big step!!!!!

cookingwithgas said...

no is not a bad word.
I think you know how I fell about this kids and family first.
This year is a year I step past even that in dealing with a brother who might not be with me -us- in the next year. I have to put pots on hold-spending time with him has to come first.
Like I said- no is not a bad word.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you!! Just think, the next show you will have a booth full of pots and hopefully wine goblets!! Glad you had a great date night, too!!

Tracy Shea said...

I have been choosing my shows and growing my business very carefully as my kids grow (4&13.) I loaded a kiln today and then went out to run in the rain and jump in puddles with my boy- Part of the reason I make pots is to have the flexibility to be a mom too- it won't make me a millionaire, but it sure makes me happy..and I'm there for my kids!

Leah Bearce Guerin said...

As a mom and a potter it is nice to see people getting the work out to the public. I am still trying to find studio time. You made me feel better about saying no to the clay for awhile even though I miss it.

Kari Weaver said...

You should be proud of yourself for having the courage to say "no".

I blogged about the Mom/Potter balancing act a while back, and just writing about it made me feel better. My kids still suffered this summer as I was trying to work too much for the one show I planned.

The shows and sales and promise of income are tempting and quite validating for anyone trying to make a living making art. At times, my kids are excited for me the artist, but just as often simply want me the Mom. Both are fulfilling, but the kids will win out any day.

Vicki said...

Good job. It does feel like "quitting" sometimes when you turn down or back out of an opportunity, but it's not-- it's a necessary part of protecting your happiness. There will always be more shows, but there won't always be another chance to see a smile on a loved one's face.

andrea gardiner freeman said...

that was a beautiful testament to the power life holds and self expectations and determined spirits.
You have proven your self a million times over and need to remember that sometimes our bodies and minds are telling us to slow down, rest and soak in family.

Judi Tavill said...

Good girl.
You needed the break!
Sounds like it was your sanity or the clay.
Thank goodness YOU won out.
Your work will be ALL THE BETTER FOR IT!

Quietly Otaku said...

Sounds like you really needed a break, when you come back I'm sure you'll feel better than ever. Sometimes you need to say 'no' in a positive way!

Jen Mecca said...

Thanks everyone..I'm working on getting rested!