Making & Mothering: My Podcast Interview + 10 Tips for Simplifying Motherhood

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite bloggers and internet friends in real life.  It was sort of surreal looking at one another in the flesh after years of reading her blog!  We got to spend some time fondling a gorilla, slurping lattes, and talking about our respective mama-hoods and business lives.  And amid all of that, Kathy mentioned that she had recently started a podcast and would be interested in interviewing me.

Say whaaaat?!

I love podcasts.  Knitting and parenting podcasts are my jam.  They have kept me company while cleaning, painting, nursing, cooking, driving, exercising, and knitting.  I look up to the women I listen to every week, for their bravery at pulling up the mic and sharing themselves.

When faced with the opportunity to be on a podcast myself, I was simultaneously excited and terrified.  It turns out I was in good hands.  Talking with Kathy is easy and fun, and it really felt like a phone call with a good friend.

We talked about my new passion, exploring making and mothering.  It’s a topic we’ve been exploring over on the Stash blog with interviews and guest posts with some pretty amazing women (click here to see them all in one place).  To get to speak about this subject from a personal standpoint had me feeling vulnerable and empowered at the same time.  I’m no expert on parenting, and I certainly don’t do things the way I want to 100% of the time.  But I do the best I can, and I am constantly learning and evolving.

If you’re so inclined, head on over to Kathy’s blog Bliss Beyond Naptime and listen to my interview!  The time flew by so quickly that we didn’t get a chance to delve into all the things I was ready to talk about.  Kathy asked me two big questions that we could have kept talking about for hours.  Below I’ve shared more of my answers that we didn’t necessarily get to in the interview.  I hope you enjoy!

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For me, I’m never more connected to my creative spirit than when I am creating.  Knitting is the main way I feel that connection, but there are infinite ways.  Find yours and give it everything you have.  Some other sources of bliss that rejuvenate and nourish my soul:

Baking—did you know I went to school to be a pastry chef?

Being out in nature—gardening, walking/hiking, the beach. Being near water. Love living in the PNW!

Reading–love to bliss out on an amazing story (fiction or otherwise). I make time for reading by enforcing and early bedtime for myself. 

Travel—doesn’t have to be big, but I find that about every 2 months or so I need a change of scenery and routine.  We also take a lot of daytrips as a family, and our staff at Stash try to take a field trip every couple of months.

Grooming!—long baths & self-manicure sessions help me clear my head and invite in all sorts of amazing ideas. Maybe it’s the polish fumes, but it works!

Friends—a good long talk with a girlfriend is so important.  My social life has been one of the things to take a hit since starting my business, and this makes me very sad.  Whenever possible, I try to reach out to my friends and touch base.

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How have you simplified motherhood so you can carve out the time and energy to follow your bliss?

  1. Changing expectations of self.  I don’t have to do it all, nor do I want to.  And I don’t have to do it like She does.  We’re all different and doing the best we can as women and moms. This was a hard transition to make when I became a mother, and again when I started running Stash.  I’m learning to put my energy into the activities that make me feel most myself, as well as a loving mother, creative business owner, fun and supportive spouse.  It’s like my biz mentor Marie Forleo says, “if isn’t a hell yes, it’s a hell no!”  Letting go of other people’s expectations.  This is hard—I tend to take things personally and am very sensitive.
  2. Routine: Getting rid of what doesn’t work, add in more of what does & repeat. Children love repetition and routine.  And guess what? Busy adults do, too!  We have a family rhythm that works really well for us right now.  My daughter eats the same thing (with minor variations) every day for breakfast and lunch. I used to worry about her becoming a picky eater, but I’ve let that go in favor of knowing she always has healthy choices I don’t have to think so much about.  We save new foods for our nightly family dinners and when we’re out of the house. 
  3. Present moment.  When I’m at work I’m 100% focused on Stash.  When I’m at home, I attempt to be 100% focused on my family.  I don’t work from home when my daughter is here.  This is a big challenge, but one that has enabled me to notice, appreciate, and soak up the special moments in my everyday life.  It also helps me feel a bigger sense of gratitude for the little things: friendly customers, soft yarn, belly laughs, silly faces, and a thousand other things.
  4. By encouraging solo play.  Kathy was the first person who I ever heard lay it out so clearly, bluntly, yet lovingly: I don’t play with my kids.  I felt that this was the way for me intuitively, but I felt a lot of guilt around it.  For my daughter and I, our play is reading, cooking, or creating together.  We have a craft room where we’re free to get messy and have fun, and we read together every single day. We also have a lot of family dance parties to blow off steam and reconnect at the end of a busy day!
  5. House cleaner!  I used to have a weekly cleaning schedule.  It helped me feel productive and like I was contributing to the household when I wasn’t working full time.  When my daughter was born I gave myself the gift of letting go of the deep cleanings.  Once a month someone comes in and cleans the house top to bottom.  It’s amazing what happened when I let go of worrying about scrubbing the tub or mopping the floors!  We still clean, but our standards have changed and it’s very liberating!
  6. Free days and family dinners.  No matter how busy the week is, we know that we will be having dinner together every night.  This is a huge priority for all of us, as it is often the only time we’re all sitting down in the same place at the same time.  We also do our best to not schedule more than one outside activity on the weekends so we have time together and each parent can be free to pursue passion projects. All that routine does get a little monotonous! Keeping weekends free allows for more spontaneity and fun.
  7. Bedtime and quiet time Ever since my daughter was an infant, we have held bedtime and naptimes sacred.  Not only does this mean we’re all better rested, it means we all get our own downtime, too.  When I stayed at home, I would only let myself do housework type things for a few minutes, the rest was for soul-filling activities.
  8. Less work I’ve also slowly simplified my work schedule so I have more room to dream and hunt inspiration for my life and my business.  There is this antiquated notion that entrepreneurs have to work 24/7 in order to be successful.  I regularly only work 24 hours a week  As much as possible I separate my two jobs as entrepreneur and mama so that each can have my full attention.
  9. Bonus Day My daughter goes to preschool on one of my days off! I usually do a little bit of work to keep things running smoothly, then I take care of what need to in order to fill my bliss cup back up.  It usually involves not getting dressed, writing a blog post or two, reading, knitting, and cooking up something yummy.

What are your sources of joy and rejuvenation, dear mama?  How do you take care of your creative self while also being the mama of your dreams?  Do share~I’d love to hear from you!

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