Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category
I don’t seem to get my whole family in one picture very easily. Maybe it’s because there are 6 of us, or because I’m always the one behind the camera, or maybe it’s because life is always so full and someone is always scurrying off somewhere too fast! Probably All three:)
It was so wonderful to get family pictures with Tara B Photography! She and I went to BYU together studying musical theater, and now we each have our own creative businesses at home. I love watching women do what they love from home. It’s the harest thing…but so rewarding. Thanks Tara!
Lately at home, things have been full. Very full. And I’m once again learning to find the balance of work and life with a new baby in the family. Motherhood is #1 in my book, but so is my illustration and design work. It’s all so integral to me, as so much of what I’m learning as a mother influences what I want to say as an artist. I’m truly blessed.
This past year, I’ve had struggles with post-partum depression on and off. And it’s something I have taken very seriously. The stress of young children and babies on your body, mind and spirit is very real. No matter how much you LOVE being a mom, and love your kids. Believe me. When it hit me that I was struggling…I mean..I love my kids! I prayed for each one of them! I struggled with infertility…so how could I possibly be suffering from this?
Turns out, stress…good and bad…messes with your body. And the reality of business and work and motherhood and no sleep and 4 very needy and tiny people to care for took it’s toll on me.
I don’t say this to complain as much as I just want to share the “real” part of what I do and how I do it. I really believe that none of us do what we do professionally with out some kind of personal set back. Or set backs. This one for me, has been very challenging. Albeit not SERIOUS, it’s been a challenge that has required a lot of thought, diligence and perserverance.
My Post Partum Depression was kind of mixed with a bit of anxiety and adrenal fatigue too. Hard to say what exactly was what. But they all have similar symptoms, and so I’m just going to call it Post Partum.
How I’ve managed it so far:
1) Medical Help. First thing I did was to see my Dr and get my hormones checked. I was able to take care of a big bulk of it from managing my hormones, and I’m so grateful for that. I was also able to see that I was low in Vitamin B12 and D3, which are vital in maintaining positive moods and energy.
2) Sleep. It was so important that I take more off my plate so that I could rest. Naps were key. My body needed to heal and regulate, and sleep was paramount to that.
3) Home Help. One of the hardest things I did was get a nanny a few months after Anders was born. I felt like I was giving up! But sleep was SO important, and I needed someone to watch Ella so I could sleep when my baby slept. So important in those early months. Now that Anders is older, I have help at home so that I can work within a schedule, which has helped tremendously.
4) Diet. I’m not in any way consistent here, but eating a whole foods diet was huge in healing my mind, body and spirit. Cutting the sugar and processed foods…of any kind…worked wonders. Not the easiest for me to maintain, but every effort made a difference. I’ve been following Deliciously Ella and Sarah Wilson for some time now, and they are my heros.
5) Slow Down. This was a hard one. I am a workaholic (in a lot of ways) and it was really hard for me to admit I needed more time to get illustration and design work done. Allowing myself to be abit slower, put things aside and actually say no to some projects was key.
6) Love Yourself. In all the whirlwind of a first year with new baby and recovering from a bed ridden pregnancy, I realized that some of my depression was from how long it was taking to heal and get back to normal. I was comapring myself to other women, who of course weren’t having the same life I was, and was feeling like I was falling short. Bad Form!! Treating myself with love and respect for all that I was doing well took a while to learn. But so key in healing from PPD.
7) Massage Therapy. I found an amazing massouse who I went to in order to help me with all those pent up emiotions that I knew were still inside even after I had “healed.” I could just “feel” that things were still stuck in there, and I needed help getting it out. It was amazing! Your body is such an amazing machine, and after a month of getting massages, so many of my symptoms were improving.
8) Support. I’m super lucky that I have a rock-star husband who “gets it” and is my partner in crime in every way. We pick up eachother’s slack. He’s never made me feel ashamed for the times I wasn’t able to do as much as I usually do. He’s the one that’s been my therapist through the really dark times and my cheerleader throught the bumpy ones.
9) Simplifying. You don’t have to have 4 young children and run a demanding business from home to get yourself out of balance. Life is full for all of us, and is unfortunatly becoming the norm for many of us. Reading ESSENTIALISM was a turning point for me (I’ll talk more on this later) and learning how to focus on what’s most important,and letting everything else fall to the wayside.
10. Unplug. One of the best things I did this summer was spend it mostly away from technology and out in the great outdoors. (One of the main reasons I blogged less this summer!) It sounds so simple, but really, getting out in the elements and just being surrounded by God’s beautiful creations, did wonders. We went back to my home town in Maryland and did a family camp in the forest and I couldn’t have been happier. Since then, taking walks, watching the sunset, and being in the sunshine have been wonderful.
Now, I’m going to be really clear and say that I never had PPD to the point where professional help was needed. I’m just mentioning these things in the case that there is someone else out there that needs to read this and can find help through some simple and basic help!
I’m still learning how to make sure that I’m taking care of ME through all this (I tend to be the give-give-give type). And all that takes sensitivity, hard work, and a lot of listening, prayer and love. But it’s vital to being successful in all aspects of our lives, and I’m so happy to report that I’ve made it through the hardest parts, and am now determined to thrive through this next phase as I keep up my quest for happiness and wellness in all areas of my life. I have a few more things that I know will help me more that I haven’t done consitently enough to mention like exercize, herbal supplements, and meditation…all of which have helped So much! I just need to make them a more daily part of what I do. I’ll report back when I have more of success story there:)
Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? I know this is a topic that is complicated yet so far reaching. It’s not easy for me to share, but so important to! I’d love to hear your experiences as well.
Love to you all!!
The past several weeks seem like a blur, as I’ve been attempting to catch up on about every project that got left behind in the swarm of new baby-land. I’m the kind of person that expects a lot of myself (this has it’s pro’s and con’s) and I tend to live in a constant state of possibility. Like, “Oh sure! I can totally whip out that book cover in a week!” Haha. Maybe when I was 25 and childless. I still think I can just create on demand, and I forget that a tired body (this baby still thinks 5:30 am is a great time to start the day!) really limits my creative “on” buttons. I have to laugh at it, really.
Couple that with a body that’s still trying to figure out how to heal from a challenging 16 months of baby making and keeping up with 4 soul-filled children, and I am playing catch-up big time.
I’m learning how to balance my own whimsy and the reality of mothering and I always veer to the side of mothering. Which makes me happy and content. But then there is the work that piles up, and sometimes I think I must look like a really bad circus juggler. It’s all good things….art making, home making, peace making. But it’s knowing for myself when to turn out the lights and just go to SLEEP when I really should be doing this and that and this, that’s hard for me.
Here’s a few clips from Instagram lately. I’m working on some really fun projects that I can’t wait to share (books, new fabric, new products….)
Life is good, oh so sweet, and full to the brim! I long to find that place where I can slow down and still find myself being productive in all the right ways. I’ve been practicing mental gratitude and mental meditation which has been incredibly healing to an overworked mind. Because my passion is my work, and my work is my passion, I’m learning to be more kind to myself, filled with more forgiveness as I strive to be the best mother and still share my creative gifts with others. I’ve always known that God’s gifts to me are for me to share, and that has been so beautiful as I have always strived to put myself in a place of giving. But we all know that the bucket can get empty without constantly filling it. Mothering alone can do that. I’ve been on a journey of learning how to be in a constant place of being filled. It’s a beautiful place to be in, but requires such openness, and rawness which makes it hard to articulate sometimes.
But as I’ve expressed these thoughts in one form or another, I realized that there are many of of creative mothers that just KEEP GOING and feel a relentless need to DO MORE. And to you, I say, “Stop, breathe, follow your bliss and slow down without guilt.” This world is getting more demanding, faster and harder to keep up by the minute. And it’s very easy to fall into that rat race. Simplifying life down to it’s core needs and letting the other pressures go will only make for better joy.
I’m just honestly so grateful that my work, when approached from a place of joy, can be so fulfilling to me. I’m constantly grateful that I have a place to go to that fills my soul.
It’s just so ironic, that when I’m overworked, that very same place can drain me.
Maybe you can relate!
I’m in a place of internal change, as an artist and a creator, and I really look forward to seeing where that change takes me. I know that as we are true to ourselves, and no one else, that we will truly do our life’s best work.
Thanks for listening, and hope someone out there benefits from these possibly random Monday thoughts.
Love to you all, and have a lovely week!
So, I hit rock bottom the other day, and I needed to illustrate it. Can you relate?
I’m trying some new art. And I want to know what you think. Could you use some art for YOU? I think you’ve earned it.
I’m constantly making art for these awesome kids of ours. But sometimes us Mama’s (rockstar Mama’s at that!) need some inspiration too.
Prettier Dishes. Forget about the tidy kitchen. No more need to apologize when guests come.
To purchase before your mother-in-law comes over, click here.
Now, go be a Mom.
The interesting thing about drawing is that it requires a lot of what I don’t seem to have a lot of right now:
1. Two hands. You only need to draw with one, but the other hand steadies your paper. Something I’d never thought of before I had children.
2. A pencil. Preferably one that doesn’t get stolen from the child you are sitting with.
3. Creativity. Well, yes folks. It takes a wandering mind to go places that create magic. The places where I can put feelings onto paper. My mind wanders plenty….but lately it’s because I’m drifting off to sleep while making pancakes. Not exactly productive.
4. Time. As much as I like to draw stick figures, I just don’t get a thrill out of it. Sketching something doesn’t take hours, but it does take longer than 2 minutes…and if I had that in my day I’d take a shower instead:)
But, all that being said, I don’t feel human without putting to paper how I feel about my children, childhood and what I see in my head. It’s amazing that with all the sleep deprivation right now (yes he’s almost 6 months and yes he’s still making a zombie out of me!) There are still hints of life in my right brain. It’s not where I want it to be, and that’s OK because baby making is #1 on my list of my best creations. But I’ve decided to try and sketch as much as I can. Make myself even. It’s like exercise (which I’m lousy at)…it requires blocking out bits of time and making it happen. At least with 4 kids at home.
And with being in the middle of creative deadlines right now, sketching keeps my brain from thinking there isn’t anything in there. When you are only getting 4-5 hours of sleep in 2-3 intervals, there really isn’t much in there:) It helps me realize that maybe I actually do think about more than just what I’m making (or not making) for dinner.
So, 365 Drawings…I’m ready for you. It might take me 3 years, but I’m determined to put pencil to paper more. It’s my magic time.
PS: You can keep up with my INSTAGRAM drawings here.
I’ve been thinking about what my Word of the Year will be. It’s taken me a while, because last year was a challenging one for me, and I’ve felt such a fresh start to this one, and there are so many thing I’m wrapping my head around.
Life with 4 (very intensely alive and soulful) children and all that brings, striving to build my little business and see it bless my family more as well as more of the world, keeping creatively sharp and passionate despite the fullness of life, staying a good friend and staying aware of and serving the people around me, and learning to over come personal challenges all with the beauty of no sleep.
My husband found some old home videos on Christmas, and one night we pulled out the tape (yes a tape) of me and Kenneth backpacking through Europe in 2004. We’d been infertile for 3 years, and I was at my end of all the emotions that go along with that. I was tired and scared of turning into a worrisome twenty-something. I had stopped really “living.”
We had saved money for an infertility surgery that we weren’t sure if insurance would cover. And we wouldn’t find out until after the surgery. That took all my faith. And that’s another story. But in the end, insurance paid for it!
So, what did we do? Did we put it in savings? Did we put it aside?
We grabbed plane tickets and back packed through Europe for 5 weeks. We had a plan, but we left so much to chance. We had to release and relive, and that’s just what we did.
We stayed with an old Italian man we met at the train station on the Italian Coast who couldn’t speak english, but had a great view; We wandered through the sheep filled countryside in Wales and got lost until we found a bed and breakfast we could afford. We landed in a small town outside of Venice at midnight in the rain, and knocked on doors until we found an open room (that one was a little scary). We took a 3 hour train that we didn’t have tickets for (we got on the wrong train) and played cards in the dining car to avoid the ticket master (thanks Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby for that one).
All in all, I was fearless. I’d been so beaten down and disheartened from not being able to get pregnant, and I felt like I could handle anything.
Then the kids came. And we were witnessing miracles.
But something happened to my mother-heart.
I loved so much, that I started to worry just as much. I started watching every step. I would put on the alerts that only a mother can have. I would sleep with one eye and one ear open. I was always on the watch it seemed. And slowly, but surely, I’ve become just that. I’ve forgotten how to let go, and be BRAVE.
I’m not talking about the kind of BRAVE that you put on to mother children. That’s the BRAVEST of all the BRAVES!
I’m talking about the kind of BRAVE that it takes to break free from habits, try new ways, leave your comfort zone, and trust.
The kind BRAVE that makes you fearless. Willing to let go and soar.
I’ve grown up since those careless summer days in France, but I’ve also forgotten how to let go.
And that’s hard to do when you are responsible for little people.
But it’s my new goal. It’s my new road.
Sara Bareilles’ song BRAVE has been on repeat, and I’ve been pumped up ready for this new year. 2014 is my year. I feel it.
You are welcome to download this and use it for your personal use. It’s my motto this year.
Remember the Printable Lunch notes from last year? My kids loved them, and I’m finally making more!
I’m a diligent lunch note maker. Are you? I grew up with my mom always sneaking in little reminders, happy quotes, funny one-liners and just plain “I love you’s.”
It always set my day right.
And now with my own kids, I’m always drawing on my kids napkins, making sweet little hello’s, and I thought I’d make them available to you too!
This is a FREE download. I’ve included the printable from last year as well in case ya missed it.
Happy Lunch making!
So, I’m not really sure how 2 weeks has gone by since Anders made his appearance. How does time fly like that? My goodness. I’m missing those earliest moments with him already!
As I’ve mentioned before, my pregnancy was on the difficult side to say the least. It was just one thing after another. And it never seemed to let up. First the morning sickness that kept me in the bathroom most mornings and nights, and then the pre-term labor contractions that put me on partial bed rest starting about 20 weeks. Then came the Symphasis Pubis Disorder which is a premature separation of the pubic bone that put me on total bed rest mostly due to the pain factor. I had excruciating pain and my movement was very limited for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy that physical therapy couldn’t even fix. I used electric carts at the grocery store for the first time, and I found a new empathy for anyone who has ever needed a wheelchair. I won’t lie and say I was tough girl. I tried, but this pregnancy got me on my knees a lot. Trying to keep it all together and be a mom to my 3 others, and still illustrate and design at the same time was so incredibly challenging. My kids were troopers and my husband was a rockstar. We made it through! Every day was a mountain, and I can honestly say it stretched in ways I never planned on. No pun intended.
I don’t say that to vent or complain at all. I say that because when my water finally broke at 5:04 am August 1st, I felt like I’d won the Boston Marathon.
It felt like Christmas morning. I just started crying.
All my worries and fears and discomforts were put aside, and he was finally coming! A calm trip to the hospital, a peaceful start and a beautiful delivery. He spent a bit of time in the NICU, but everything was as it should be. I just burst into tears with joy that first moment I saw him, grateful for him, and grateful that the two of us made the rough and hard journey together. It was all finally all worth it.
There really isn’t anything that can describe those first few moments holding a baby. Those first few hours are so magical. The smell. The sounds. I’d have a million of ‘em if it didn’t mean pregnancy and college tuition for each one:) And teenage years.
Having my kids be old enough to really appreciate everything about Anders has been so awesome. They just dote on him. All. Day. Long. And while 4 feels like a circus right now, it’s amazing how much easier this phase is with older kids who can do things like grab me a blanket from across the room, or help a sister to the potty. Circus, but happy circus.
Thank you for all your lovely well wishes and sweet notes. It’s been wonderful to hibernate with this little guy for the past 2 weeks and life is starting to get back in gear just a tad. We’re all still in Babymoon phase, and there is definitely a slower pace around the house. But school is starting, new projects are rolling in and life is moving us forward. This time with 4 kids in tow! It’s amazing.
So, say hello to Anders. He’ll be saying Hello right back.
Glad you are introduced.
Thanks everyone for the well wishes the other week when I posted about our big news! And thanks also for the sweet comments and encouragement about my rough start to it all! I’m feeling SO much better. But I tend to have other complications with pregnancy, that I can only assume will be coming around the corner soon. All my babies wanted to come early. Too early. And while all three have been early (35-37 weeks) they all stayed that long because of either hospital stays or just good old fashioned bed rest. Here’s to hoping this one isn’t as intense!
In the mean time, I’m really loving this time right now with nothing too urgent going on. It’s marvelous!
And I’ve decided. Pregnancy clothes are just so much cuter, aren’t they?