Howdy! I’m Karen, and I run a couple of businesses from home. I’m a freelance copy editor, working mostly with indie fiction authors writing fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, and speculative fiction but I’m also the copy editor for PLY Magazine (a fantastic magazine for hand spinners). I design knitting patterns under the name KarenDawn Designs and dye yarn as Round Table Yarns. I have a knitting podcast that comes out every other week, and I run a Facebook group to encourage knitters to build their knitting skills and confidence. And I’m a mom to an almost 5-year-old boy, who during the school year goes to preschool 3 days a week.
My main business focus these days is on my yarn dyeing. I’m most excited about creating my next yarn club. Earlier this year, I ran my first 4-month yarn club, and it went really well overall, so I’m planning to launch the next club this fall. I’m also doing a monthly special colorway that’s available only during that month (basically like a club but without a long-term commitment). These things allow me to play around in my dye pots and experiment with color without having hundreds of colors on my regular dye schedule, which would be impossible to maintain. I have a separate website just for these club offerings: www.roundtableyarns.club.
Thoughts on identity and motherhood?
Being a mom is very much an important part of who I am. But I don’t want to be someone who identifies primarily (or only) as a mom. I’m on the older side of momhood as my son was born shortly before I turned 35. So I had a lot of years to build my identity before becoming a mother. And although there are things about me that have changed since becoming a mom (I gave up my career as a college professor when I had my son), it’s important for me to still feel like my own person and not just an extension of my son’s life. I don’t want my son to leave for college and then wonder what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.
Of course this brings about all sorts of guilt because it sometimes feels selfish to want to focus on myself. But I do strongly feel that in order to be a good mother, I need to be able to be my own person, to feel like a complete person instead of just one aspect of a person. And I think that’s actually something that my son needs to see so that it will help him in his future relationships with women, respecting them and treating them like a whole person rather than based on just one aspect.
Thoughts on “mommy guilt”
So many times I’m working and my son comes in and asks me to play. I do get up and play with him some of those times, but often I’m in the middle of something that has a deadline or that I need to concentrate on and I can’t take a break. Having to say to him that mommy can’t play right now is heartbreaking. Sometimes I wish I worked outside the home so I wouldn’t have to keep saying no to him since I wouldn’t be there for him to ask me to play. But then I’d feel guilty for not being home with him and available during those times when I can take a break and play with him. I try not to say no too many times in a row.
In a lot of ways, I wish I had more than one child. There’s no guarantee that he and a sibling would get along and play well together, but I do wish that he had that opportunity sometimes. But I know that having an only child is truly what works best overall for our family. But there’s still some guilt I feel in not providing a sibling for my son.
What do you look forward to as your kids grow and you move into a different stage?
In the past year, he’s really started to be interested in playing games and putting puzzles together. I’m really loving this development as I’m much more interested in working puzzles and playing games with him than in running cars and trucks around on the floor. We’ve started getting games from Haba, which has age-appropriate games that are more involved that just drawing a card and moving to that color square. It keeps the game interesting for me while at the same time getting him to develop new skills. One of our favorites is called Brandon the Brave, which is an younger-age version of games such as Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan. I think this has been a good way for us to connect and for me to be able to get really excited about putting my work aside and playing with him for a while.
I’m also hoping that as he gets older he can help out in some ways with my business, especially the yarn dyeing. He does seem interested in what I’m doing, but so much of it can be dangerous (hot water, breathing in the powder dyes) or is work that he can’t quite do at his age (reskeining yarn). I try to involve him when I can (he likes turning the handle on the ball winder or watching me dip yarn into the dye pot to see it change colors), but it’s not very much at this point. In a few years, I’d love to see him get more involved (if he wants to be) so it can be something we share a bit more.
Editing website: www.karenrobinsonedits.com
Round Table Yarns: www.roundtableyarns.com
KarenDawn Designs: www.karendawndesigns.com
T-Shirts and Shawls knitting podcast: www.tshirtsandshawls.com
Build Your Knitting Skills and Confidence Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BuildYourKnittingSkills/
Facebook business page: www.facebook.com/karendawndesigns
Is there a work at home mom in the fiber arts you would like to hear from? Leave a comment below and I will do my best to represent them on the series