Staying Sane: Mindless tasks


It’s Sunday night. And my fingers hurt. No, not from too much thumb wrestling. Not from a freak accident when uncapping a beer or uncorking a bottle of wine. Definitely not from anything at the gym (which I have not entered in years). Those that know me will laugh. They will think back on a different period of time and wonder what has happened to the party girl they once knew. For those that do not know me personally, whew.

My fingers hurt because I just finished sewing patches on my son’s gaping whole jeans. He just always wears through the left knee of his jeans, without fail. Several months ago I bought a sewing machine – which was nice in theory. Well, I pulled it out tonight and the kids got all excited about the new toy. Big Bro remembered this device and he wanted to help with the foot petals. I was doing great once I got used to the thing again. I decided to keep up with the patch project, which was making workable patches for later application to the jeans, FIRST. So, I had a nice stack of patches that we both worked on together.

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Afterwards, I even sewed up one of Red’s hand-me-down dresses in about 20 seconds with a fun stitch – in fact, she is sleeping in said dress right now, which makes me feel good.

Anyway, back to the hurt fingers.

With the first pair of jeans, I managed to sew about half the patch on with the sewing machine device. But it was hard. Harder than I remembered. The foot kept falling off the machine and I kept twisting and turning those damn little jeans and kept sitting down, standing up, sitting down, saying “No [Big Bro] , not yet, please don’t put the pedal down yet”, wiping the hair from my brow, losing the damn foot again from the sewing machine, and then finally giving up.

That’s when I decided to do it the old-fashioned way.

I grabbed a needle and a thread, and I began to manually mend and attach the patch to his jeans. It worked out great. After the kids went to bed, I sat on the couch, and completed the project started working again. Three pairs of jeans and four patches later, the project is 75% complete (one pair left to go).

Are the patches perfect? No.
Is the sewing job perfect? No.
Are there strings everywhere? Yes.
Are the patches lopsided? Yes.
Are the jeans bunchy in some places? Yes.
Do I care? No.
Does Big Bro care? No. (I asked him).

I sat on the couch, under a fluffy blanket, and just focused on the stitching. I would stop every now and then to make sure I wasn’t sewing through to the other side (that was a mistake I made during my LAST sewing project, several months ago). I sat, nice and comfy, and got into a rhythm. A mindless task. For a woman with a lot on her mind. The kids in bed, a warm soft blanket, my son’s jeans, some patches, lots of string and one needle. And it was repetitive. And it was time-consuming. But it was RELAXING.

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So now I type here with my right thumb a bit sore at the nail, where I was pushing down on it a bit to hard for a bit too long, but I am happy for the small break, the feeling of accomplishment, the physical “thing” that I fixed, and knowing that Big Bro’s knees will be covered and I don’t have to feel embarrassed anymore. And, knowing that the kids saw me take the time to fix their things — both Big Bro and Red. And Red is sleeping in her dress, and Big Bro wanted to set out his “new” jeans with patches in his clothes pile for tomorrow morning.

So mindless tasks — I’m totally into those for intermittent relaxation.

What do you mamas do out there as mindless tasks where the added benefit is some relaxation?

Have a great week everyone –
– Mama K

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