How do they do it? Those women who seem so creative and so full of energy… how do they manage to make ends meet while they gallivant creatively through their lives? (Long rambling of frustration and pondering after the jump….)
Perhaps I’m spending too much time perusing the creative blogs I love… they tend to be written by women, and these fantastic creatures have time for leisurely breakfasts, daily hikes, constant creativity…. its all so enviable its almost staggering. I can barely hold a candle in comparison, and it gets frustrating. I want there to be so much more time in the day, so I can sew all the things I dream of, finish all the projects on my knitting needles, learn more about costume making and soft circuitry, dance more, laugh more, cook and bake more. But instead I wake up in the morning exhausted, make my way to work, stay there for 9 hours, make my way home and struggle with what work-fatigued-me can muster up for dinner. That, of course, is on the rare night I actually make it home right after work, and don’t have to teach or get stuck working late. Its dark when I get home, and the time between dinner and bed is barely enough to prepare for my class, much less start a new project.
So I look at these women’s sites and I am inspired, but more often lately, I also lose heart. I do not have the ability to stretch out the day. Weekends are spent catching up with class work, house work, errands and grocery shopping. Meeting with friends, sewing costumes (those last two are fun things, but not personal-creative-time things). No time for relaxing, no time to casually soak in the sun, barely time to spend with the man I live with, rush-rush-checklist-task.
It seems to come down to the 9 hours a day I spend away from the house. Even if I’m not terribly busy every day, just being at the office is taxing. Oddly, on many of the sites I read, there is no mention of a daily job. But then how are they making their ends meet? Benevolent rich husband? Independently wealthy? From the crafty DIY ethics of the sites, I’d like to believe that somehow it is through artwork or creativity that these women pay their rent and their electricity… but I don’t think that’s truly realistic.
Ever since reading this article (etsycom-peddles-false-feminist-fantasy) I’ve been more keenly aware of the lack of ‘jobs’ mentioned in the sites I read, particularly the ones I most wish I could assimilate into my lifestyle. Its this part of the article that most struck me:

“many posters admit that their husbands are the main breadwinners, and their work on Etsy amounts to little more than a glorified hobby. (Less than a quarter of the site’s sellers describe themselves as full-time artisans.)… Etsy actively fosters the delusion that any woman with pluck and ingenuity can earn a viable living without leaving her home. Etsy has a business model that’s akin to the lottery’s. It preys on the hopes and dreams of working moms and other women, while delivering genuine financial success to only the very, very few.”

So ok, that life is a fantasy. Yet still, some part of it must be accessible, right? Right?

Perhaps it is a function of selective sharing. My own site is often that way- I post up what I have fun with, am proud of, want to share. I generally make an effort to shape it as a positive space, and leave frustration and complaining out. Its not a lie, exactly, because I create what I say I create, I do what I say I do. But leaving out those bouts of frustration, the moments of exhaustion, the anxious feeling of never having enough time…. I suppose its a little dis-true, even if it isn’t downright false.

And would it even be any better if I found out these women have full time jobs, are running on just as little sleep and just as little energy as I am? Have just as little time in the day as I do and yet still manage to live an amazingly creative and seemingly complete life, despite missing 9 hours a day to their respective office? That might be even more disheartening. Oh….. what is a responsible bill payer and loan repayment-bound girl to do? Suck it up, wake up each day and create as much as possible in the gaps, I suppose. I guess if life was easy we’d all be rather bored.