Feminism, Frogging and My Colourwork Sweater

artist life business business owner careers colourwork equality family values feminisim fibre artist freeform life knitting as a metaphor life mompreneur mother motherhood partnership the working mom traditional roles

I am going to knit a colourwork sweater and it is going to be fabulous.

I don't really have any answers, just some ideas on motherhood and career and how the two go hand in hand.

This is my colourwork sweater.

There is no magic one size fits all formula, there is just the daily readjust. 

I spend a lot of time frogging and readjusting, starting again, especially in the beginning. I have a pattern.

As a female entrepreneur I am often confronted with the statement "I choose to put my family first". It comes in various forms and from various people. Sometimes it is the truth that having children and being a wife and mother comes first for them, sometimes it is a put down, sometimes it is just a statement floating out there in the cultural void. Whatever the thought process, or lack there of, behind the statement the implication is the same; that by choosing a career I am putting my family second. 

I pulled the wrong colour first according to the pattern.

I want to talk about that statement in relation to the lifestyle my husband and I chose when we decided that I would start my own business. Something that I now run full time from home while we raise our girls. 

I did not plan the colours I would pick for this sweater. I disregarded the pattern.

When I started my business I made no promise of who or what would came first. There is no line in my business plan that says I will put my family first, there is also no line stating I won't. This is important because it is not something I considered in that way. Starting my business was about taking a new career path, one that would take me beyond the serving position I had, that would fill me and would not bore me. One where I got to decide when and how I worked. 

The colours are all coming together, I have abandoned the pattern.

I create and sell because of and for my family. Who and what specifically gets prioritized depends very much on who and what needs something in that moment, that day or that week. My business does not stop because I have mummy things to do and my mothering does not stop because I have business things to do. 

Why is everyone so hung up on me following the pattern.

In my experience men receive the opposite message and are seen as putting their family first by choosing a career path, intense or otherwise. I am not disputing this to be the case, simply pointing out something that has very recently been thrown in my face, something I did not expect to have pointed out to me in an age of 'equality'. That although legally I may be entitled to equal rights and treatment that socially and culturally I am not entitled to the same line of congratulations around my role as provider and parent.

As a women I am left with the impression, through life events, conversation and multiple experiences that pursing my own career path is admirable, but that in doing so I will be putting my family second and sacrificing a more important role as mother.

 

Frog that!

Seriously. 

FROG THAT.

 

I am so glad I threw that pattern out.

 

I am a parent, a mother, it consumes my whole identity, my children subsume the time for long daily showers and regular hair brushing, they take up every inch of brain space, creative space and all of my 'free time'. 

Now, without the pattern, I am loving how this sweater is knitting up. 

My reaction; I reinvented the way I function, I do it with my hair in a messy unbrushed bun, I take quicker showers, and I create from that fullness. I spend focused time with my girls and focused time on my business. I often spend focused time doing both at once. 

The colours, the shapes, the sweater is coming alive as I knit.

The major benefit of my pursuing an intense career as an entrepreneur is it has allowed my husband a more full role as husband and equal partner in a relationship. I don't have time to make sure he does it my way, he gets to do it his way. Neither one of us 'runs the family' or the finances. We do it together. We share the roles of family life. 

I honour and respect my husband for his two careers, father and provider and he honours and respects me for my two careers, mother and provider. I also have great respect for my mother who stayed at home working to raise us until I was in my early teens and my father who went to an office everyday. I have in general great respect for whatever choice is made by the individual when it comes to career and family, because I value the freedom to make our own choices. 

I think I like this freeform way of knitting, everyone can make something that truly speaks to them and excites them.

I, however, am not interested in being put down for my choices or being told that I am choosing one thing over the other. I am not.

I am going to knit this sweater my way, I am going to enjoy all the mistakes the moments of uneven tension, because I am knitting it on my terms. 

So. I drag my children to shows and I create with them underfoot and I do it so I can build a better life for them. It subverts traditional roles that are still entrenched in our society. It flies in the face of the cultural hypocrisy I grew up with. It is the change I want to see for my girls future. One where no one will question their dedication to their role as mother if they choose to pursue a second career outside the home. 

I am going to wear this sweater everyday.

I am so beyond wanting to frog it.


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  • Maureen Kelly on

    The older I get, the more I feel confident in doing my own thing. I wish I had felt this way earlier, but it came in its own time and its own way, and it fits me well now. I have an awesome partner who always tells me my independenceis one of the things he love most about me. You and your husband are modelling for your kids what equality really means. Bravo!

  • Carole on

    I came across your website through FibreShare 2018, and I am so glad I did!
    It is a revelation to read about “knitting your sweater” of life. You are to be congratulated on your determination & tenacity to be your own person & do it your way! I love your attitude!
    I am sure you, your husband and your children will benefit greatly from working together as a unit!
    Continue knitting your sweater of life. Someday it hopefully will be huge, well shaped & colourful!!
    Kudos to you & your husband!

    ??

  • Lynne on

    Well written.

  • Kathy on

    Sarah – love this Blog post!! Congrats for following your path and enjoying your journey and for pursuing what works perfect for your family :)
    Kathy

  • dawn Van Hoogevest on

    Dear Sarah…YOU ROCK ! I have also been where you are and I never use a pattern in my free form mosaics and yes the artists that come by tell me " oh dear me..is it not a little out of balance..".I shrug because I really don’t care, I was so into it , the colors and textures..that I had a blast. We built our home the same way…free form. so much fun to live in. We believe in ripping apart straight lines. Is there anything straight in nature?. So rock on little family..I admire what you four are doing. Cheers Dawn Van Hoogevest



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