Weekend Update Volume 4: A little historical emotion- not hysterical emotion

Kelley Gilbert

Dear Madres,

Way back, when I didn't know I was struggling, overwhelmed and lonely, I reached out to the internet. Wait, let me paint the story a little more:

Like many people, my husband and I were very young when we got together. We had our first son right away followed by that little guy pictured 3 years later. We adopted dogs, cats, chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys and every year raised a pig. I threw myself into being a happy hobby farming homemaker- and it was wonderful. 

But, I was also a lonely married yet single parent (life partner worked many many hours in the early stages of his career). I surrounded myself with all of those things to do and care for so I could avoid that loneliness. I was always overwhelmed and that didn't leave room for introspection or self care. These years were some of my most painful Fibromyalgia years, yet, I kept going with the best I could. 

Many of the skills I learned in childhood for survival became everyday parts of my existence. With the emotional came the practical. Alongside avoidance of hard conversations and people pleasing was sewing and making. We had one income, lived modestly and produced a great deal of our own food. I learned to make cheese and soothe chicken wounds. I started making things for my children that I couldn't afford to buy- like an expensive baby carrier. 

Back then, Etsy was just getting started and I had some success there with maternity stuff and baby wearing supplies. But, I got tired of feeling overwhelmed and I started seeking new ways to engage my creative drive. I leaned into my camera. So Turtle Turtle (the baby wearing shop) became Casa Crafty. A corner of the internet set up for learning with sewing, cooking and recycling tutorials. I started teaching classes now and then. I made bags, oh I am a sucker for a pretty purse.  I made so many creative contacts, some new friends- From those friends came Madre Beads. And I spent time worrying about what I was doing online instead of in person with my family and friends. 

I've learned, in my forties, that the worrying is anxiety and I was struggling with undiagnosed trauma based anxiety from childhood. As things do when you are raising children, our time reduced, our ability to cope with small triggers went out the window. I leaned into the relationships I created with other maker madres instead of my marriage. I sought commiseration in mothers forums, facebook and instagram became a thing and blogging sort of... faded. 

Why am I sharing all of this? I don't think its an uncommon story. The story of tired mamas trying to find support. Right now, things are so unsteady in our world, the need for care and attention is even higher. How do we make space for Afghan refugees pain, Covid rates surging, earthquakes in island nations, children going back to school, protecting our oceans and water ways, therapy for childhood trauma and and and. The list will always be there- how I approach it can change though. 

How do you get peace? The garden is a place I find ease. Tending Mother Earth is like prayer. Weeding is meditation. I start in one corner and work my way out at the same time I try to do that in my brain. Somedays it works, other days I get mired in the depression- because I am human. And so are you. 

Stay safe and Mask up, 




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