Australian crochetter and designer
My guest today is Jade Thompson AKA The Crotchet Mama from Mt Gambier, South Australia. She is a mum of 2 girls.
Jade has been a creator her whole life in many different ways, inspired by the women around her. She has come into her own over the past year, creating and sharing her crochet animals and creations, and has been blown away by the popularity of them.
We chat about how she identifies a feminist stay-at-home mum, finding a Doctor who will listen to your mental health concerns and setting boundaries around your self care and creative needs.
**This episode contains discussions/mentions of OCD, post-natal anxiety, an abusive relationship and anxiety.**
Find Jade's work featured in online Christmas magazine here
When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for my guests' inaccuracies..
Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast
I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!
Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.
Welcome to the art of being among the podcast where we hear from mothers who are creators and artists sharing their joys and issues around trying to be a mother and continue to make art. My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and mother of two boys from regional South Australia. I have a passion for mental wellness and a background in early childhood education. Thank you for joining me. My guest today is Jade Thompson, aka the crochet mama Jade is from Mount Gambier, South Australia and a mom of two girls. Today we chatted about how she identifies as a feminist stay at home mom, finding a doctor who will listen to your mental health concerns and setting boundaries around your self care and creative needs. This episode contains discussions and mentions of OCD, postnatal anxiety, abusive relationships and anxiety. Welcome Jade, it's lovely to have you on the podcast. Thank you for joining me.
Thanks for having me.
I follow you on Instagram, the crochet mama, which I think is a really cute name. Tell us about what you do and how you got into it.
I make little crochet animals I got into it are probably about eight or nine years ago, my eldest didn't like sleeping ever. So there was a lot of late nights up on Pinterest, just trying to keep myself awake. And yeah, I came across these little animals, I thought, well, I'm so cute. And then I sort of thought, oh, actually, my mom knows how to crochet maybe I can learn and do that. I like the, like 20 different, you know, like, I don't like this whole, traditional, you know, like the 70s type crochet and all that. Like I wanted something that was modern and fun. And it just sort of, I just love making them in the position sort of grew to a point where my kids had too many toys. And a few people said you should sell these and I'm like, I don't think people are gonna want to buy them like, but they did. And here we are.
Yeah. So yeah, when you say that sort of crochet, previous eras, you'd sort of think of Nana's making doilies, or you know, that kind of stuff.
Occasionally, those crocheting pants and ties and you're like, ah, what is that?
Definitely none of that happening at the crochet right. Tell us about your children. You mentioned your eldest that didn't sleep. Tell us about your kids.
Yeah, I've got two girls. They are nine about to turn 10 and four turning five at the end of the year. Yeah, they're both. They're great. I've been at home with them since I had my oldest, which has been to be really cool. Yeah. And they're both at school and kindy. And gives me just a little bit of time to try and, you know, get the house clean for a minute before I come home and trash it. My toys and catch my breath for a minute. But yeah.
You said that you started when your eldest was not sleeping about that period. What what did you use it as sort of a way to cope? Or was it purely something to just entertain you looking at your phone while they were sleeping?
I guess it was. She just she always had to be on me. So I'd get asleep but I couldn't put it down because she'd wake up again. So just sort of sitting up trying not to move. So yeah, initially when I started it was just because I just wanted to make things for her. I had all these ideas of things that looked so cute, and I thought she would love them. Yeah, it was for her really and then through doing it I found that it helped me with all my thoughts and calming things and I just really enjoyed it like it was always there for me to pick up. It never changed it was always the same and I could just make these things and have a minute of just creating something I've always loved creating things and it's something I just love to do. Yeah, almost here
before you got into crochet what others ways of creating were you
doing? Well, ever since I was a little kid actually I can remember back as far as when I was little I was always into just pushing things up. I guess like I I would my bedroom was like this highly decorated thing. I mean, obviously kids don't have money. So you make, do you make something new? I would. I went through a stage I remember when I was a little girl, I would cut out little pictures in magazines that I loved and stick them all over boxes and containers and use them to store my craft stuff in I would paint everything like, yeah, and then close it. I do. I've always loved drawing, sketching bit of painting. There was a time when I was maybe a teenager, I sort of always had to create. And then when I was a teenager, I ended up in a abusive relationship. And that sort of, I didn't create for such a long time. there because I guess, anytime I did something like that it was tucked down onto so I sort of stopped doing that. Which Yeah, I'm not if I can't create on your need to be able to create, it makes me happy. And then after that, when I live by myself for a while, I got back into painting a bit and just doing my own plates. That was just mine. But I didn't really share with people because I thought that people think that that was stupid or not like it used to be not a positive thing. So then it wasn't really until I got together with my husband. And he just liked me for who I was whether I was a giant nerd or anything like that. He just like me. And his mom is like this person who she can quilt, she can make clothes, she can knit, she can crochet she can paint, she does everything. And I would go to their house and there's this obvious craft I was like, like, and then that sort of started me off again. I got into scrapbooking for a little while and I do my wedding album. And bit more painting and sketching then, yeah, and then I ended up with I did sewing, I bought a sewing machine and I've made lots of things and made some clothes and baby stuff. And then it went into crochet and always need to be using my hands
kids enjoy seeing you do it.
Oh, yeah, they love it. They always saying what are you up to? And can I see the face and that will help me my eldest is really good with helping me out colors. And sometimes like, I'll be like I said, my husband, I should have puppies, but here or here and he will look at me like, What are you asking me for? I'm useless at this stuff. But my eldest she's really although both are really quite arty kids. And they'll say, oh, no, mom that should play like this. Okay, all right. And yeah. Yeah, my pattern books, they go through them because I make them some every year for birthdays and Christmas and stuff. And it's a big exciting thing to get my pattern books down and to go through and pick them out. There's little loan, like post it note cans in there saying I want this one. This one's for my birthday. This one's for Christmas. And
that's beautiful. So you've like created this tradition, I suppose. It's like, when I was a kid, we'd look through the woman's weekly cake each year to see what it's like a similar thing to each year. And you know, it's actually going to turn out good. Where's the cake?
Cake stressing me out. I'm like, Oh my gosh, it's never gonna look like this. What am I doing?
So really, you created your whole life, it's almost like you needed to feel the confidence to share with others. I suppose.
I started posting it. I don't really do Facebook, it stresses me out. But I mainly go on Instagram. So I would put up little things that aren't made on my private page and people say, Oh, this is really cool. And I'm like, Oh, thanks, but I'm sure you're just saying it to be nice, you know? And then I had a few people say, oh, you should sell these. I'm like, no one's gonna buy this. Like, you know, it's just what people say to people. I was surprised that people liked them as much as they do. You know, honestly
A lot my mommy's always say I was like, Chris, highly sensitive person, that sort of thing. So I like creating and things like that has always been, like making my space comfortable. And like the OCD and all that. And I guess how I just switches me off. Because I did find, like my mental health, I was always not great when I was a kid. Like the anxiety and the worries and all that, but it did get better for a while. And then something I just remember when I was pregnant with my eldest, something, I could feel this. Like this shift, like something just wasn't right. And I was just so anxious all the time, I was terrified that something was wrong with the pregnancy. And I go to the doctors all the time and be like, no, no, she's fine. She's fine. It's a textbook pregnancy. I'm like, There's something wrong, there's something wrong. And my husband was sort of like, and even my parents, I think we're starting to maybe wonder if there was something else happening. And then she, I was terrified, she would come early, and no one would like the doctors didn't believe me. And then she did, she was pregnant. And that sort of set me off a bit afterwards, especially with the nice sleep and everything. I was like, Well, if I think there's something wrong with her, and they say she's fine, if she really, you know. So that really freaked me out. And then that sort of started up, like the OCD got really bad, then constantly checking and stuff. And yeah, it sort of never really went away. I sort of got, I lived with it really, for a long time, just these things that I would do to try and make things easier, I guess, and the constant worry. And I would try and go to doctors about it. And they'd say, Oh, and always try and say, Oh, you're not depressed. And I definitely wasn't depressed because I love my life. And I was so hopeful and excited. But I just had this feeling that there was something horrible about to happen, and I didn't know when it was going to happen, but I was sure it was going to happen. So they'd say, Oh, we'll put you in a group with postnatal depression. I was like, but I'm not depressed. And it's only been in the last few years I've seen that they've just discovered that. As well as postnatal depression there is postnatal anxiety and postnatal OCD. I don't really the postnatal OCD the symptoms that I've read a different to what I experience with my OCD. But definitely the postnatal anxiety, I would say I definitely at least got. So then all that with the anxiety about having another Prem led to us having a five year gap between our gills. And I thought, I'm going to do it properly this time. You know, I went and got hit the tires, then all this other stuff. And yeah, I was I was okay for a bit, but I just went back to how I was. And you just learned to live with it. Like you sort of think it's just always under the surface. And it's always there. And you're doing all these things. And she's so tired and exhausted. And it wasn't until really at the start of this year. I don't know if I had like a breakdown of sorts, or whatever. But normally I have these anxious times where I find it hard to stop worrying about something. And it might last a little while but it goes away. But this was just full on for Halloween for six weeks or more like I was I was hardly wanting to leave the house. I would in school drop off and pick up and did the groceries. And that was enough to stress me out like I was not good. So then I thought I think I need more help. Like I've tried three psychologists. Yeah. And then when I spoke to my doctor, he was like, well, medication response. OCD is the one thing that actually responds amazingly to medication. He said we can actually almost cure with medication and then you can come off it and it should it can go somewhat. Oh, okay. So it still took me three months. Or was it three months, maybe two months of having the script and thinking, Oh, no, I'm fine. I'm fine. You're like Ross and Prince. I'm fine.
Yeah. But yeah, so then I finally did it. And I wish I had some a couple of friends who had been through a similar thing and they were like, it's okay, you can try Because I was terrified, because I overthink I thought something horrible was gonna happen when I took these tablets. But yeah, I actually I started taking them on after oversight effects where I was like, Oh, is this what it's like to be normal? Like, is this how people live their lives? Because even and I thought that always times I thought I was okay. I was managing it like, I wasn't, I was so yeah, my head was so busy. Yeah, but now I'm like, oh, okay, we'll go do this thing. Okay. There's no hang on, let me think of every single scenario versus like, Oh, okay. And I'm like, Oh, I feel like I feel like a better mom a better wife. And I'm more relaxed. Sorry,
huh? You're free of that worry. That was consuming you and yeah, over your life.
Yeah, I see. I got to I mean, a lot of the things that I have that I used to got rituals and things like oh, it's so much rituals, it was more like I was never someone like I have to do risk X amount of times or things have to be done in these are sometimes things do have to be done in order. But not everything like it was all stuff that when I sat down and talk to my husband better even he didn't know like it's all stuff that was so like no one else would know unless I told them and a lot of it was just obsessive thoughts like that you try and fix in your head and you're just so worn out you're constantly thinking like and it is tiring. So I do need to have some a doctor said that with some therapy while you medicated you can push past the OCD tendencies without it being a stressful and then once you get past them you can come off for meds
you mentioned with ICD do you find then that constructing like in crocheting is is that good for that to keep you focused
at district distracts me it's crochet has so many different stitches and so many things you can do. But when I make a toy, I use only one type of stitch. But there's increases in decreases in shaping that goes into it. So it's the same stitch over and over and over again, with color changes or patterns in it. And I just find that so calming, like is this repetitive, it doesn't change, that's just stays the same.
You know how it's gonna go? It's certainly, I think, probably reassuring. And it gives you that space where you know, everything's gonna go, probably the way you want it to go to, you're in control of how it goes. It's almost a therapy. I suppose I'll put that in the comments. But yeah, it's sort of a healing thing that you can do for yourself. Really is Yeah,
yeah. And then it makes me feel good to make something to you. So it's and we.
When my eldest was about, or 18 months or two years old, I changed doctors because I just I was I didn't feel like I was being listened to. And I started seeing a doctor that I'd seen once while I was pregnant with her I had this day where my heart had just felt like it was going so fast out of my chest like it was like it was so fast and having to see a doctor that was on duty and he was so helpful like he actually sat and listened to me and I didn't make me feel like I was imagining things or anything so I thought I wonder if I can get an appointment with him. I've been seeing that doctor ever since and he's absolutely brilliant. Just yeah. Listens doesn't rush me. And yeah, he's the one that's been patient with me and got me all the right help. So there are good doctors and I found one that listens. Oh, good now Yeah, yeah, but yeah, back then. Yeah, it was it was just like are you like especially with my daughter being promos? I always read think like I got to a point where I was thinking about it so much. I just because when you're having your first baby, I'm gonna read all the books and stuff. I could not read any books. I was like, that was what my anxiety was. It was like, Oh my gosh, this is you know, scary. What if that happens sort of thing. So I just stopped reading Doing anything I just Yeah. And then I saw enough, I did see enough missing something not right. Everyone's like, no, no. It's a good pregnancy like she's fine. I'm like why don't I feel fine? Like it's just yeah
How do you feel about this, this concept of putting in a quitsies mum guilt that sort of society's throws around at us. Do you have any thoughts about that? That topic?
It's funny, like, I listened to your podcast who Julie Denton and she explained it so beautifully. And I thought, Ah, I should think like I am. I'm just the walking mom guilt is just. I've always or I've had, I've always been an anxious person, even as a kid, very anxious, kid. I mean, I overthink everything. So I'm always thinking, Ah, did I do enough with them today? Did? Did they feel love today? Did you know it's just so like, my husband will say you're overthinking it again. It's you know, you did a good job. It's fine. You know, I'm always thinking that I'm falling short somewhere. But that's probably because of me. I think more than anything, but yeah, I'm always thinking that I must be doing something. Not quite right. I'm getting better. But yeah.
It sounds like your husband has good support, then to remind you that you are doing a great job.
Yeah. Yeah, he is. He's, he's like, he's the solid stable line and I'm just the over thinker and the emotional person.
Talking about identity, that's something I also really like to go into with my guests about is it important for you to feel like you're not just someone's mountain, you're still died, you're still the creator, you still you still who you are, even though you happen to have children.
To me being a mum is the best thing I have ever done. It is just the biggest blessing. And I'm always always in the back of my head, that there are only this little months like they're growing so fast. And it may not be everyone's cup of tea or how they want to do things, but I have just loved being there and doing that. I think. Yeah, I mean, I'd have 100 kids if I could. I'm normally not 100 Actually that yeah, maybe not. Maybe three or four but no I love being a mom. But I guess I have liked just only just this last little bit having my page and having that little bit of space where I make my toys and I guess no one on there asked me to you know, make them tea or clean up their mess. mom helped me by my nose and what Oh, no. I have like that. And little things like my pages. One page is going to be in a like an online Christmas magazine. And I went and got photos taken for it and my makeup done. And I have not done that. I got married 15 years ago and that was the last time I had proper photos taken and my makeup done. Like it was like, Who is this person? But yeah, I'm interested to see where it goes. It's like it's kind of it's fun having something that I've made and that I'm doing. Being a stay at home mom is something I have always wanted to be often people just assume like, Oh, just a stay at home mom, like you know, I've got no drive or you know, you sitting at home eating biscuits and watching telly or which Oh, like as someone who has had like I said, I've got my first job at 13 and I always worked full time up until the pointy end of my pregnancy with my eldest. I physically couldn't. But you know, I've always worked and but I can tell you that being at home is just I have ever worked it It is unrelenting. Yes. And it's it's an equal house like, it's not like I'm expected to put on lipstick and look nice for my husband and, you know, have a hot meal and a foot rub waiting for him when he gets home. That's not happening. I would say that I'm a feminist, and all that sort of thing. And you get the impression from some people that they think that you can't be a feminist, you know, you're at home, you're like a housewife type thing. But when it's your choice, and it's what you want to do something that I've always wanted to do. And I had always assumed that when I had kids, this is what I wanted to do. And my husband was happy for me to do what I was happy to do, he would have supported me either way, and we've been lucky that we've been able to do so. So I mean, I realized that some people, it's not an option, not ungrateful, but for me, it is an option and to have that choice to have not have it forced on you. Or I think that's the type of feminism to like, it doesn't affect my girls like neither them like, Oh, this is all we can achieve in our lives sort of thing. Neither of them are overly maternal kids. Like in a you have some little girls who just love their babies and their dollars. Neither one are like that. They just they will always told like, you know, the world is your oyster, you can do what you want doesn't matter. Yeah, I've instilled that in them. It's so important to make to instill that just because you're a girl doesn't mean anything. You are strong, you are fierce. If you want to do something, you can do it like
yeah, sometimes I think Did I sort of take on my, a bit more of my personality, because I'm home all the time, like my husband's very sports orientated and really into fitness and stuff like that. And they both love getting outside and playing stuff with him and all that, but they're both super creative as well. My eldest is I don't know where she gets it from, but she's got this insane musical talent. Neither of us are musical but she has talent. My youngest can draw like amazing roaring and yeah, I just I'll do their own thing. They're not just because I'm at home. They're not made their own people. And I think to like always been creative since I was little. For me, creativity has always been based around making like was always around doing that my bedroom and making this homely place and I am a homebody and I think for me, I just love being able to provide this home you know, this cozy bit they can come to mom's here. It's just I realize not for everyone but I love that I can do that.
When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest, I was making like a full size blanket for my eldest so I did that through pregnancy. I don't handle being pregnant very well. So it was very slow. I was not it was I was not well and then I started making my youngest a blanket for when she was born. It did slow down a lot being pregnant and then afterwards where he just saw exhausted and fading all the time so it did slow down a bit of time probably picked up a bit again maybe when she was around one will be before she turned one when they can sort of sit next to you maybe your
your hands are a bit more free to things rather than maybe all the time. Is it important to you that each of your, your designs that you make, that they're different that you're not making the same color? are, you know, if someone orders something, you make sure you don't do it in the same color as you've done something else?
Yeah, very important. Yeah, I want every light because that's the, when I think of handmade and all the time and effort that goes into it, you're going to spend more than you would if you were buying something from a shopping town. So I want to make sure that when you get that, that it is special and unique. And you're the only person with that, that's just yours. I have had a few people say, Oh, can you make me this dislike this and I'm like, I can make you that animal. But we've got to change the colors.
Next year, I'll have two kids at school. So that's where I'm sort of hoping to see where this goes, I guess, obviously, there will still be days when they need mum. And I'm not going to be able to do anything like every mum has been trying to fight this anxiety and OCD for so long. And I did just start some medication about three months ago, which has helped me immensely just to be able to do things. And yeah, like there's been times where, like, before, I wouldn't have gotten I got photos done, I wouldn't have not when I first made my page, I was never going to show my face on it. I was never going to do anything like it always just going to be these faceless pages with my creations. But I sort of made some friends on there, like local people, and they're like, who are you? Who is this person? I'm like, Oh, hi. Yeah, so sort of, it's been nice to sort of Yeah, meet some people through here and see what I can make. I guess I just want to see, I have plans to or now I mean, thinking about it, I have plans to make lots of my own patterns and steal patterns as well. So that that's another way that people don't have to wait for me to make something people that can already make can do that one day I'd love to write a pattern book. Just have my own book made it make it like a storybook you know, with these creatures in the story. And I've always wanted to add a book. That's another thing I want to look into. And yeah, I guess I'm just seeing where it goes Yeah.
When I go places, so if I've got a doctor's appointment or a dentist appointment, yes. Something that the kids, you know, just go into the shops, whatever. And I go kid us. The first question I always get to ask is, where are the kids? But my husband, he doesn't ever get asked, Where are the kids? You know? Is it just because, and what oh, sorry, I didn't realize I needed an audience for a pap smear. And even if I bump into someone down the street, like I might have just nicked in after school, drop, pick up a job offer something to grab something from the shops. It's like, oh, you keep lists today. I'm like, school, sometimes I feel like saying, I'm at home alone, but it's fine. I've put TV on and the pantries open so they'll be right. With my anxiety and stuff, like things like that really used to really upset me, I'd be like, Oh, I must think I'm a terrible mom, you know, like, stuff like that. And now I'm just like, No, you know, they have another parent, they have a dad who's more than capable. Or you know, he's at work. My mother in law comes and helps out like, it's yeah, I'm not gonna leave my kids at home alone.
And that's important, too. I think people who make those off the cuff comments that make them mean nothing to them, but they don't think about the impact that they have on other people. You know, like that, like you said that that sort of comments would have really heightened your anxiety and, you know, made you question yourself, but some persons just flippantly made a remark and yeah, I think it's important for people to realize that you don't know what other people are going through
I have started like because I'm not someone who, like I said, I'm a homebody and I do actually genuinely love being around my family, even When the kids are driving me crazy, I simply want to be away from for too long. So I started doing things like, it was really hard at first, but sometimes just saying, No, like my mom do this, do this, do this. I actually say, oh, no, I'm going to finish making this Christmas ball. Now, at first I like, oh, but in our, you know, mom can do other things, too. She's not just the thing we go to when we're bored. And I started. I love bass, if I'm stressed or frustrated, just put me in water or near the beach, and I'm all good. So I've been sitting in the bar, like, I'll get tea on early, I get the gills or really my husband cleans up the kitchen. And then I go and sit in the bathroom bar. So until it gets cold. I just say now what actually makes me it's just a little bit of something that I do. And I would never have done that before. Because I would have felt guilty that I wasn't being available and being all these things. I'm like, No, actually, I need to go and just sit in the bath too much and into a prune and yeah, doing things like that. So small steps but yeah. You're always lived in at Gambia. I have. Yeah. So I was born or I lived out of town, I went to OB flat primary school, which doesn't even exist anymore. And then my, where we lived way out at cave to whichever one goes where I know where there was like always, there's always this tiny little group of houses. So I live there. That's what I grew up. And the is probably closer to Grant High. But the school bus for Allendale came to serve and I thought my daughter was trying to get in the room. The school bus came to the end of our street. So I went to Allendale. And that's actually where I met my husband. So we weren't together until we've been friends for about five years and he'd been overseas and then we got together but yeah, that's where I'm at human. Yeah. So always local but sort of out of town until I became an adult really
can you tell us about what you've got coming up? I know I saw on your Instagram page. You're working on some Christmas decorations.
I'm trying to get through them at the moment. So I've got the Christmas decorations. I want to make 12 I don't know why I had to throw in my head. Maybe I had the 12 days of Christmas or whatever. Suddenly my head but I'd hoped to make 12 If I can. I have a lot of orders to get through. It was one of them. It's going to be another one that I'm going to be designing myself which I'm really excited about. I've got the magazine Christmas thing coming up, too. Yeah, just orders like the other weekend. I had so many people message me for orders. I'm like, I'm booked out till next year. Like it's just it's just like, oh, wow, okay. I need to buy a diary. Because I've just got this notepad in my phone this is like Okay, I think we need to do something a bit more proper here but yeah
thanks so much Jane. It's been lovely chatting with you
and all the best with your Christmas range and, and getting your book going. I'd be really excited to hear about that in the future. Thank you