December is a relatively quiet month for me in terms of creative projects. I manage to assist the kids in some Christmas crafts and get a handmade gift or two completed, but between three December birthdays, Christmas celebrations, and traveling I am not left with much energy to put toward creative projects.
What I have discovered though, its that after we detox from too much activity our creative energy comes back full force in January. Now I am sure that there are a lot of people who have disciplined themselves to choose one project, get it to completion and then begin something else, but that is not how we work. I am trying to change this and it is so hard. Once I get in my groove it is like I notice all kinds of things that I just need to do and I have a real hard time not diving into all of them at once. Right now I have five chairs I am actively working on, curtains I would like to make to replace our vertical blinds in the basement, a kitchen that needs painting, trim that still needs to be painted and I feel real challenged to prioritize one and then move on to the next.
My kids also seem to feel creative in January and have lots of requests to do craft projects that include me such as learning to make a pillow or wanting to make their own duvet cover (because their blanket is too small and why would we go to Target and buy one like normal people).
That brings me to the bad side of being a creative family…It is chaotic and messy at times. We feed off of each other and all get in our own little creative zones and it feels so good and then I look up at the end of a day and realize that my house looks like this.
Four busy hands (there are five of us in the family, but my husband gets to leave his mess at work) multiplies the joy and REALLY multiplies the mess. I’d like to say that we all pick up after ourselves at the end of each day, but that seems to sidetrack the progress of what we are doing. It is things like the fact that we have a birthday party at our home in 24 hours that actually motivate me to finish things and clean it all up.
The other bad thing is that we all like to teach ourselves, be it right or wrong. I spent the better part of yesterday morning pulling nails out of boards that my children had pounded in. If they are happy and no one is getting hurt I let them go with their little projects, but sometimes I forget that they don’t intuitively know that if you pound a nail all the way threw a board and leave a bunch of them on the tool shop floor someone is going to get hurt. Fortunately I found this mess before anyone did.
Alright on to the good of being a creative family. First it is so fulfilling to look around our home and see the work of our hands. Secondly, it is bonding to work on something together. Third, it brings joy to pass on life skills to another generation.
Our eldest is getting to the point where he is truly helpful. Although it is frustrating at times that he wants to be included in ALL home projects. It brings me such joy to see how he is developing in his skills and willingness to help. He attends a great little school that uses the Charlotte Mason method (a British model that is kind of a blend of classical education, Waldorf, and Montessori) and has an abbreviated schedule which allows him to be home two weekdays a week and gives ample time to develop life skills/learning. The other day he helped take apart a chair and ironed yards and yards of drop cloth (a skill he learned from his dad not me) and it made him so happy to help and truly did speed along the project.
So although this week has felt a little hectic on the outside and I know I will need to work my tail off in the next day to have a presentable house for a birthday party, it is worth it for the happiness and inner calm that it brings. It is who we are and I would rather this than the constant petitions for more media and general irritability that we experience by the end of December. We come back to ourselves in January and will start pacing ourselves by February.