Crafters Union are putting out a call to action to inspire women to express and celebrate our individuality no matter what phase of life we are entering. Huh, I scoffed, I don’t need a brand to tell me how to live. But then I realised that I haven’t exactly been telling myself how to live.
I often marvel at the ability of some people to be able to lose all sense of responsibility and maturity. My husband is a perfect example of this. He has an incredible ability to be able to communicate with our 7-year daughter on the same emotional level. This often involves ridiculous jokes, crazy nonsensical banter and taking innocuous words like “Atoll” and morphing them into naughty words. Often this is done in the background as I try to organise a school lunch, pay a power bill or some other mundane thing I find on my to-do list. This is all the soundtrack of my reality in which I am the adult and the rest of the household are sugar-fuelled lunatics sharing made-up languages and immature jokes with each other. Actually, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly. The dog is actually pretty mature and sensible. My husband and my 7-year-old daughter on the other hand seem to have exactly the same emotional intelligence and maturity. I’ll often call my husband a “man-child” as it really does seem like the best description for him. Usually, when I use that term, I’ll mean it in a prerogative sense. But lately, I’ve been thinking that he might actually be onto something. Where is it written that being an adult means suppressing the things that excited and inspired us as kids?
I love being a mum and I love the work I do but I can’t help but feel like I’ve been so focused on being responsible and sensible that I’ve forgotten about my own airline mask a little. I don’t think it was a sudden switch either, it’s more like that old frog in hot water analogy, you know, you put a frog in super hot water and it will quickly jump out, but you put a frog in cold water and slowly heat it up and it will stay in there until it boils. That’s a really cruel experiment now that I think about it. Please don’t try and prove the analogy. Anyway, that’s what I think it’s kind of been like. You go through university with a world of fire and ambition before you. You start to get a feel for what the lecturers are looking for and you adapt your work a little bit for the best marks. The water turns up a notch. Then you go off on your OE and immerse yourself into a world of EasyJet flights and weekends clubbing your way through every member state of the European Union, including one with the family of a particularly handsome Italian boy which did have the distinct air of being involved with the mafia. That’s a whole other op ed though. At this point the water turns back a notch.
After a while though, the realisation that you’ve run out of money hits home, so you head back to New Zealand. You know how when you are looking at a university prospectus and they say that there are so many jobs in a particular industry if you just get this one qualification? Yeah, well they lied. So you just get something 9 to 5 to pay the bills. The hot water dial turns up two notches. It’s okay, though, you can still work on your dream projects in the evenings if you are not too tired. The water temp turns up another notch. You meet the love of your life, he’s funny and smart and at that point, there is no sign of any neurological need to collect things from the 80s and the dad bod which will present itself in a few years. The water temp turns down a notch. You soon enough decide that renting is making some landlord rich so you decide to make an overseas bank rich instead by taking out a mortgage. The water dial turns up 3 notches and is now hot to the touch. Speaking of steamy, one thing leads to another and now there is a little mini-you on the way. All of a sudden, the TradeMe watchlist switches from weekend getaway batches and indoor plants to breast pumps, cots and baby toys. The water is starting to simmer now. A few months down the track and you have been awake for 36 hours straight because your baby has colic. You are pretty sure the water is boiling now but you can’t remember what you were just thinking about.
So as you can see, it’s easy to let life get away on you. These are all really fulfilling things as I say, but it’s also important to stay true to the you before the responsibilities dulled the fire. My subconscious had obviously been sweeping this under the rug to try and keep the status quo because recently when I was reading a new call to action from Crafters Union, I realised that it echoed something that had been gnawing away at me for a while. In their new brand positioning, Crafters Union is putting out a call for women to live their life their way, so they can be themselves without society telling them what to do and how to act. I probably should have been talking more about Crafters Union within this article instead of standing back and looking at the trajectory of my own life, but maybe that’s just the point. Regardless of what gender we are, how old we are, what we do or where we live, maybe we owe it to ourselves to always keep in touch with our dreams and ambitions and not let those fires get dulled by the day-to-day.