Dear Sabrina

 

I have some exciting news to share!  I am now a contributor on the lovely and thoughtful blog, Dear Sabrina. 

When Jodi asked me to contribute to her blog, I was intrigued. It had been a while since I’d published anything to my own blog, a space that has evolved from a knitting blog to a personal blog and website. I felt somewhat apprehensive; what did I have to add there? Then she and I had some interesting conversations about possible content and suddenly I was brimming with new ideas!

It feels really, really good to be writing in a more personal way again. I used to spend a lot of my creative energy within my biz, writing copy for products, email newsletters, and captions for social media posts. To get to put a different kind of writing out in the world has me feeling a little vulnerable, but also really excited.

I am thrilled to bring some of the topics Jodi and I have been discussing in real life to this space. I look forward to joining the conversations Jodi has started on topics like parenting, friendship, books, and maybe even my own categories of melancholy.

My first post went up this week, a piece about authenticity and vulnerability in friendship. I do hope you’ll read it and let us know what you think!

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

A Room of My Own: Why Creative Space Matters

img_8375

Sometimes it feels like my kids simply cannot keep their hands to themselves. They can’t help it, I know this. Powerful curiosity paired with a lack of impulse control means small children touch EVERYTHING. They want to feel the surface of a book. Tap the hard glass on a picture frame. Stroke the glossy leaves of a houseplant. Tap tap tap on the keys of the laptop.  Sift through the detritus in my nightstand drawer. You get the picture.

Much of this exploring is delightful to watch, and mostly harmless. But some of it grates on me, makes me feel violated in a way. Like each poke of a little finger into my brand new blush compact is a poke in my eye.

As a parent I try not to take my kids’ behavior too personally. I know and respect that they are their own people trying to make sense of the world just like the rest of us. Our children are given room to roam within the boundaries of our family rules, and it mostly goes okay.

Where I’m still struggling to find flexibility and ease is in claiming some personal physical space.


When we first moved into our house, my vision of each living space was so clear. We have a two-story home, and and the first floor has our living and dining rooms, kitchen, and a half-bath.

We also have a lovely extra room at the front of the house with double doors, a transom window above, and tons of natural light thanks to a large east-facing window. My daughter was a toddler when we moved in, and making this space a playroom was ideal. She could have a space to play and create and be messy. It was close to the main living areas, and having this space meant no toys in those living areas. I took great pleasure in designing the room. We shopped at Ikea and put together a desk and cubbies and hung picture wires to display her creations. It was perfect.

We have spent countless hours together over the years in this sweet room working with play dough, painting at the easel, building train tracks, stacking blocks, reading books. It was exactly what we needed for that phase of life.

Somewhere along the way, she started spending less time in the playroom and more time in her bedroom. She was getting older and wanted her own space. Then along came baby brother, and soon this room with its paint and markers and tiny lego pieces wasn’t as appealing a place to hang out. We slowly started moving things in and out of the room to make it work.

Soon we were spending less and less time in the playroom.

Meanwhile, I had started a podcast. I had started offering coaching to other creatives and was working from home more.  Our desk was tucked into a living space, and would naturally invite lots of curious little hands to its surfaces. A computer screen was damaged. Papers were crumpled. Nerves (mine) started to get frayed.

And then one day it dawned on me: What if we turned the playroom into an office?

It felt daring and exciting; the perfect solution. It also felt SELFISH as hell.

Who was I to take this sweet kid space away from the family in order to have space for me and my brain to think and create?  

And yet I couldn’t shake the dream.

At the beginning of the year I had made a vision board. It wasn’t until the piece was complete that I noticed a pattern. Desks. Modern chairs. Lots of invitations to write. My heart knew what I desired before my mind knew.  And once I realized that, I had to get my brain – and family – on board.

It was tough. There was resistance to this new arrangement from every side. My daughter cried. My wife bemoaned the loss of the kids’ artwork display.  I still felt guilty.

img_8374-1

In the end we compromised, and the room is now a shared creative space.

The original creative workspace has moved to one corner and holds our household art supplies. A rotating display of original creations hangs above. The toys are (mostly) gone, replaced by an adult desk and computer. A bookshelf relocated from another area of the house holds books, family photo albums, and a shelf of puzzles and quiet work for the kids. I hung my vision board and slowly added my treasures.

Creating this space was important both for my actual creative process but also in owning the importance of my work.  Having a physical space brings my ambitions out of my head and into the real world. Ultimately, this area represents the creative potential in all of us, from little hands to big hands.

Some of my favorite moments are when the kids and I are all in here quietly working. My daughter will be drawing or writing a story at her desk. I will be editing a podcast, writing a blog post, or daydreaming. My son will most likely be driving a car back and forth on the windowsill. There’s often a cat or dog asleep somewhere.

It’s these moments that I could choose to be annoyed that they’ve invaded “my space” or I could choose to be content with the arrangement. Full disclosure: there are days where I have to kick them out and close the door!  It’s okay. 

These years are short, and soon enough I will miss these busy little hands. In the meantime, I am so glad I staked my claim in one corner of a room to help my creative spirit. And, even though I thought I needed the room all to myself, it’s been a delight to do this work alongside my kids.

IMG_7796.JPG

The playroom before.

Are Priorities Holding You Back from the Life You Want?

img_0985

There was a time when I was very hard on myself for not living up to my own ideal of what motherhood should look like.

After years of infertility treatments, I finally got what I thought was my dream job: I was a stay-at-home mama! I kept up with my ideal almost obsessively. From cloth diapers and homemade play doh to long, media free afternoons of unstructured playtime, I had it all mapped out. And for a while, it worked. Sure, I lived for nap-time when I wasn’t needed so much and could tend to my own needs (a shower, please!). But eventually, about a year into the parenting gig, I realized I needed MORE.

I started a business when my daughter was just 20 months old. Writing a business plan, signing a lease, and ordering inventory with a toddler in tow was no easy feat! And I was still trying to hold myself to my previous standards. The ones I was able to achieve when I wasn’t starting a business.

It’s true what they say: you can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time.

I quickly realized that things would have to change; the way we were doing things just wasn’t sustainable. And I was being so hard on myself, giving to my business, my employees, my child, my partner, my friends. There was nothing left of me.

And then I had a second child and things got harder.

My priorities, the things that were supposed to drive the life I wanted, needed a major overhaul.

The days became so full I couldn’t keep up with washing poopy diapers. I was so tired that the thought of making dinner brought me to tears. There was no space in my mind for any more needs from anyone, let alone the needs of this ideal motherhood I wanted to have.

Because I couldn’t change the needs of my kids — they’re still quite small and their needs are totally age appropriate — I realized I had to change MY needs. My priorities had to shift into accomplishing what was truly important to me. I had to let go of unnecessary projects and busywork at the shop. I needed to stop fixating on all the things I used to enjoy that no longer served my day to day reality.

Sure, I used to make play clay; you can buy that. I used to use cloth diapers, but I chose more time reading with my kids over washing diapers. I had to let those things go because not living up to unrealistic expectations (my own) was breaking me down. I examined all of the things I felt I “should” be doing to decide which really mattered to me.

These days I choose to spend time on the things that resonate now. Baking. Practicing yoga. Picking up my kids from school each day. Focusing on the parts of work that make the biggest difference to my business and that light me up.  And if I want to make some play dough, I will because I want to, not because I feel like I should!

What are you doing because you feel like you should? Even if the should grew out of your own values and desires once? What are you doing because you once loved it that isn’t serving you right now? What, if you really stopped to think about it, is most important to do in your day?

Before you reflexively say “It’s all important,” let yourself admit what really resonates with you. It’s OK to stop doing something that was an important part of your life if it isn’t serving you right now. Priorities aren’t static. By taking time to re-examine them when things aren’t working, we can move closer to the life we really want to live.

What can you let go of? What can you embrace to move toward the bold life you dream of?

When you’re in the thick of things, it can be hard to see where you can make change. Sometimes the “shoulds” are so ingrained we think they are “musts.” That’s where I come in. I can help you get past your own blocks to dare to live the life you dream of (even if you hide that dream from yourself). It starts with clarity.

Learn more about Clarity Sessions and book yours today.