Inspiration strikes. I rush to find paper and pencil. Lines flow from my hands and I am entering the zone. That place where the rest of the world falls away and I focus on the task at hand. Time has no meaning here.
Then the baby cries. The sound that no mother can ignore. I rush to his side, all thoughts of what I was working on fade away. My baby needs me.
I have two beautiful children. They have introduced new levels of joy and chaos into my life. Sometimes the chaos side can be overwhelming. The holiday season, the busiest time of year for my art, is here. It is also the busiest family time of year, with birthdays and family gatherings in abundance.
When I first started my business, I remember reading blogs from successful craft business moms who somehow managed to produce high quality and quantities of their craft while being amazing mothers. I thought, I can do this too. It should be a piece of cake. I only work part time at my “regular” job. That’s plenty of time to balance motherhood and both my job and my business.
The reality is that it is not as easy as it looks. Finding balance is the key. Sometime that means that my house isn’t as clean as I think it should be or that I take on fewer commissions than I would prefer. Sometimes it means splurging on a babysitter before a craft fair to make sure I have time to produce enough inventory. Sometimes it also means having a table at a craft fair that is a little sparse. Sometimes it means getting a couple hours less of sleep a night.
Working long stretches at a time aren’t possible anymore. I have to be ready to jump into a project the moment the youngest is napping. I have to be ready for the inevitable interruptions.
I’ve found that I am a mom, not a super hero. I’m human and that is ok.
Here are some of the things I have learned:
1. Don’t compare yourself to others – Every parent has their challenges. Even the ones that make everything look easy. Do the best you can do. Don’t worry about everyone else.
2. Find balance – We all know and feel that our kids should come first. But unless we are going to close down shop, we need to remember to give some time and attention to the business. Sometimes it feels a bit like juggling knives. Sometimes everything just falls into place. Honestly, to me this is the hardest thing to do. You have to find what works for you and your family. Take one day, one moment at a time.
3. Share your creativity with your kids – Inspiration can fizzle if you don’t cultivate it. Some of my best ideas have come out of what we call “special art time with Mommy.” My eldest loves to draw and paint. Nourishing his artistic spirit also nourishes my own. He has reminded me how much the act of being silly can inspire creativity.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – There is this myth of the super mom. She is someone who is so together she can do anything. She doesn’t ever break down. She is so amazing that she doesn’t need help. Here’s the thing – she doesn’t exist. Everyone needs help at some point. there is no shame in asking. People wont look down on you if you ask. That help might be what you need to succeed.
5. Don’t forget yourself – This can be said to any parent, not just those pursuing their creative business dreams. If you are over extended and worn out, you wont be able to take care of anyone or anything else.