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3 women share how their creative work evolved with motherhood

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One of the great challenges of parenthood is finding the time (and sometimes even focus) to maintain a creative practice. That’s partly why we love the #100DayProject, which we wrote about in April.


It’s “a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making.” For 100 days, people do something creative, sharing their work daily on Instagram as they go. We think this is a perfect, approachable framework for busy parents to either jumpstart their creative expression or experiment with a new creative outlet.

Now that the #100DayProject has passed the 50-day mark, we wanted to profile three creative mothers who’ve stuck with the project.

But instead of simply asking about their projects (which will be over soon), we wanted to learn how parenthood has changed their relationship to their creativity.

We asked them two questions:

  1. How did your relationship to your creative work evolve when you became a parent? 
  2. (Bonus question) How has it further evolved as your children have grown older?

CHRISTINA ROSALIE

Christina’s 100 Day Project: #100daysof___circles

Instagram.com/christina_write

How did your relationship to your creative work evolve  when you became a parent? 

Being an artist and being a parent require the same creative energy. The same vital spark that ignites my creative work, is what my boys crave from me. In that way, they are at odds with each other.

Since having children, the time has become more precious. Not only because each hour uninterrupted, is pure gold, but also because they mark time’s passing.  As they’ve gotten older, my life feels like it’s accelerated.Years become minutes.

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On the wall, we mark their height in inches. Their growth is inevitable and fast. Yesterday they were small. Yesterday they were babies. Today I can’t remember them as anything other than what they are: lanky limbed and loud.

They have less immediate physical demands, but more emotional demands. They don’t nap any more; they dress themselves, can play for hours unsupervised. At the same time, they want my attention differently. It’s not just about me looking, watching, witnessing them in their world (though it is this, always this). It’s about really listening.  Even though they require less energy in one way, they require more in another, and so in the end, there’s still the conflict: time with them, or time to create. It’s not easy to find the overlap.

Instagram.com/christina_write

I take time when I can. During the week, it’s a handful of minutes maybe. On the weekend, it’s time that could time with them. Yet I trust that what they’ll remember isn’t what I missed, but what I inspired in them. An avid love for the creative process. An appreciation for the solace, one’s on company. A deep, raw wonder at the beauty of this world.

More about Christina:

ERIKA LOWE

Erika’s #100DayProject: #100daysoflittleraincloud

“Showing up to sketch daily using my daughter’s quotes.”

Instagram.com/thelittleraincloud/

How did your relationship to your creative work evolve  when you became a parent? 

When my daughter was born, my whole being focused like a laser on her. Everything was concrete and grounded in basic human needs. Time to nurse. Time to change a diaper. Time to sing her to sleep. I forgot a bit of my creative self-other than figuring out how to change a diaper in an airplane or function at work on zero sleep.

When she became a toddler, all that changed. Kids have unlimited creativity, and I found myself playing pirates on the playground, building forts and spreading paint all over canvasses with my bare hands. I returned to writing, acting, taking photographs and making art again.

Now she is seven. We’re both growing in our creative practice, and I want to be a role model for her and show her that creativity is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. Just showing up matters, and the #100DayProject is a great exercise to demonstrate this.

https://instagram.com/thelittleraincloud/

I also find myself taking more risks with the creative process as a parent than I did when I was alone. Maybe it’s because time passes so much faster now, and there’s a sense of urgency to create. Each stage of childhood is wondrous, but impermanent, reminding me that life is fleeting. So find me wanting to constantly capture snapshots of it through writing, photographs and sketches.

Sometimes I want to kick myself for wasting so much time in my twenties, but what matters is that I keep going and don’t stop creating from here on out.

More about Erika:

MARISSA HUBER

Marissa’s #100DayProject: #100daysofmhvignettes

“I’m committing and excited about this 100 Day Project. I will paint one very loose watercolor daily of an interior, a home vignette, a cool house, or a small object. I’ll aim to use my watercolors, but I can also use Paper by @fiftythree! I can’t wait to see what everyone makes.”

Instagram.com/marissahuber/

How did your relationship to your creative work evolve  when you became a parent? 

 

Before I had my son, I was repeatedly told that I would never have a moment to myself ever again. While I understood that my life would be irrevocably changed (for the better in my opinion), I resented being told this. Can’t we celebrate changes in our lives, but not guilt those who still want to keep something of themselves? As a child, one of my favorite things about my mom was that she had her own interests, and encouraged me to pursue my own as well. I want to pass this along to my son.

The great thing about impending motherhood was it gave me a deadline for the “someday” I’d relegated some dreams too. A friend and I officially launched an interior design consulting business, and I started taking my art seriously. The way timing works, suddenly I had a newborn baby, room designs to wrap up, and illustrations to complete for a deadline. Thankfully, my mom was in town helping, and I had the support from my husband and mom to rest, enjoy my new baby,  but also complete these amazing opportunities. I learned how to work quickly and efficiently, and to trust my instincts. I no longer procrastinated out of fear. If Henry was sleeping, I was not going to waste a moment cleaning up my work area when I needed to be painting. And in the early and overwhelming days of motherhood, it felt good to do something that still felt like me. I didn’t realize how much I needed a little bit of that in my life until then.

Being a mother makes me braver and more confident in life and with my art. I don’t care as much about what others think of me, and think that there is room at the table for artists of all types, myself included!

Instagram.com/marissahuber/

How has your creative process evolved further as your children have grown older?

Time for art with a day-job and a small child has definitely evolved. After the frenetic work was done for my deadlines when he was born, I made sure to be gentle with myself and just enjoy my son. I put my watercolors away one day and didn’t feel like painting for about 9 months. That was okay. I don’t regret it one bit, since I had learned to trust my instinct, and was enjoying the simple and beautiful daily moments with my son. Also, I was learning how to be a mama and maybe myself again too.

Then one day, the paint called to me. The time off from painting resulted in such a surge in inspiration, that I have barely skipped a day in the past 7 months. I also think some of this has to do with Instagram, and the wonderful community there. Through social media, I found the most supportive creative people, who inspire me to dream bigger and implement ideas like a recent interview series I’ve started focusing on Artist Mothers.

The biggest challenge with a small child is free time. I view time way more critically now. Time is harder to come by unless I make other sacrifices in my life. Lately I’ve found that if I wake up earlier while my son is sleeping, I can paint before work and not miss out on time with him. I am the worst morning person ever, so it shows how much you may be able to sacrifice to do what you love!  Also, I’ve learned to be very realistic with my time, and know I can only take on so much side work at a time. I live by the quote, “You can do anything, but not everything.”

Some days I let my son watch more TV than I’d like to so I can finish some work. I try to balance it out by making the time I spend with him count. I put the phone down, I listen to him, and I crawl on the floor and play with him and his monster trucks. I don’t know how things will change as he gets older, but I do know that he doesn’t have another mother to compare me to. I hope he will remember that I always hugged him with my entire being, that we laughed a lot, that I try to include him when I can, and that he knows that I do this so that I can be the best mother possible to him by filling my cup a bit too.

Connect with Marissa Huber
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By: Justine LoMonaco


From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.


This article is sponsored by Dr. Browns. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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If there's one item that people claim is *so* worth the price-tag, it's a Dyson vacuum. The cordless tools have become essentials in homes, cleaning up messes quickly, all without the hassle of a cord.

If you've avoided purchasing one because of the high cost, you're in luck! They're having a sale on Amazon right now. Some of the most popular vacuums and air purifiers are up to 40% off.

Dyson Cyclone V10 Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, $379.99

dyson vacuum on sale

Arguably the most popular of the Dyson family, and marked down 20%.

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Beyoncé's new Netflix documentary Homecoming hit the streaming service today and gives us an honest look at how difficult her twin pregnancy was.

"My body went through more than I knew it could," she says in the film, revealing that her pregnancy with Sir and Rumi was a shock right from the beginning, and the surprises kept coming.

In the film she reveals that her second pregnancy was unexpected, "And it ended up being twins which was even more of a surprise," she explains.

Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé | Official Trailer | Netflix

The pregnancy was rough. Beyoncé developed preeclampsia, a condition that impacts about 5 to 8% of pregnancies and results in high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia poses risks to both the mother and the baby. People who are pregnant with multiples, like Beyoncé was, are more at risk to develop preeclampsia, and the only real cure for the condition is to give birth, which proved to be another medical challenge for Beyoncé.

"In the womb, one of my babies' hearts paused a few times so I had to get an emergency C-section," she shares in the film.

Thankfully, Beyoncé made it through her extremely difficult pregnancy, but the physical challenges didn't end there. The road to rehabilitation for the performer was difficult because, as she explains, she was trying to learn new choreography while her body was repairing cut muscles and her mind just wanted to be home with her children.

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"There were days that I thought I'd never be the same. I'd never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same," Beyoncé recalls.

We know that becoming a mother changes us in so many ways, and in Homecoming, Beyoncé shows the world the strength that mothers possess, and rejects any ideas about "bouncing back."

Becoming a mother is hard, but it is so worth it, and Beyoncé isn't looking backward—she's looking at a mother in the mirror and loving who and what she sees. "I just feel like I'm just a new woman in a new chapter of my life and I'm not even trying to be who I was," Beyoncé said in the documentary. "It's so beautiful that children do that to you."

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Warmer weather is finally here, mama—and that means it's time to switch up the family's wardrobes. 🙌 If you love matching with your little, or are determined to *finally* get those family photos made this spring or summer, we're obsessed with these mommy and me matching sets.

Here are some of our favorite mommy and me matching outfits for spring. 😍

1. Ivy City Co Jumpsuits, $42.00-$62.00

mommy and me matching jumpsuits

This linen set is perfect for transitioning from hanging out at home to dressing up for days out. Plus, plenty of space for growth!

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2. Madewell x crewcuts Denim Set, $55.00 and up

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We're obsessed with the '90s vibes these sets give. Now to decide which to choose—denim jacket, shorts, or dress?

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3. Old Navy Floral Midi Dresses, $10.00-$22.50

Old navy mommy and me matching dresses

Nothing says spring quite like florals. The whimsical prints are dainty and the rayon fabric is breathable for those warmer days. Shop mama's version here.

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4. PatPat Matching Family Swimwear, $19.99 and up

matching family swimwear

Match with the entire family with this pinstripe set. We love the one shoulder look, too!

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5. Keds x Rifle Paper Co Sneakers, $44.95-$79.95

mommy and me matching shoes

Twin with your little in these embroidered canvas sneakers. Bonus points for a rubber outsole so no slipping. 👏Shop the version for mama here.

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6. Lily Pulitzer Shift Dresses, $58.00-$198.00

Lilly pulitzer matching dresses

Still not sure what to wear for Easter or that summer soirée? Pick up these matching shift dresses for the most beautiful family photos. Shop mama's version here.

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7. Maisonette x marysia Swimwear, $57.00 and up

Mommy and me matching swimwear

These are definitely splurge-worthy, but we can't get over how adorable they pair together.

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8. PatPat Gingham Dresses, $17.99-23.99

mommy and me matching gingham dresses

These will be your go-to pick for every outing this spring and summer.

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9. Old Navy Striped Oxford Shirts, $13.00-$22.00

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A relaxed oxford is a staple in everyone's closet. It's versatile enough to dress up or pair with denim for a more laid back look. Shop mama's version here.

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10. Pink Chicken Garden Dress, $72.00-$198.00

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Whether you have a spring wedding to attend or want something flowy to wear for vacation, we adore these garden dresses. Bonus points for working for maternity wear, too.

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Being a perfectionist has naturally been part of who I was since as long as I can remember. I could blame living in the continental U.S., where perfectionism is highly esteemed, or the family dynamics that come with growing up in a household of five women.

Deep down, though, I think it all really stems from a deep and instinctual longing to be loved, accepted and approved. Whatever the reason, it has never really been a part of me that I considered a problem.

That is, until, I became a mom.

When I had my first child, I did the best I could to keep it all together, to prevent people from seeing how my perfection was being pulled apart at the seams.

A nap schedule was, of course, essential. My son was easygoing and slept through the night like an angel baby. My house was still spotless and I managed to somehow work part-time and keep healthy meals on the table every night, but I did struggle tremendously with breastfeeding.

Since I took this failure as a great assault at my abilities to properly nurture my child, I let mom guilt run rampant over the issue. I decided I would just step up my perfect-parenting game in another way by pumping breastmilk around the clock until my son was around 18 months old.

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For anyone who has ever exclusively pumped, you know it can become total madness and take away the joy of feeding your child.

Managing a toddler was definitely wild, but with my background in pediatrics, I knew how to keep him busy while I kept things "under control." In other words, with just one child, I could still play the part of being perfect. All was fine until I became a mom of two children. It wasn't long after my daughter was born that I realized I needed to start letting go of perfection.

I was living alone in a new city with no help and my husband worked long hours. Managing a 2-year-old and a newborn, all while trying to keep a perfectly clean house and healthy dinners on the table every night, was, to my surprise, impossible in every way. My body was a wreck, not "bouncing back" as it did with my first. My daughter never slept for more than three hours until she was over a year old. She cried for hours on end most nights, as I tried relentlessly to calm her.

I remember bouncing her in her carrier for hours trying to get her to calm down and settle in for sleep. Meanwhile, I was a zombie and my son tore every square inch of the house into pieces. Keeping a naptime schedule was nearly impossible with another child to consider. Dinner was often takeout. There were days when I didn't look in the mirror or have proper clothing on until 5 pm.

The demands of motherhood laughed at my idea of picture-perfect motherhood. Every night I went to bed feeling like I had failed my children. I cried. Oh man, did I cry.

It wasn't long until I came to the realization that if I wanted to be a good mom, that is, to focus on things that are actually important, I had to stop sweating all the small stuff.

Even though I didn't really know how I was relieved that I didn't have to keep up with myself anymore. I had grown so weary of the high standards I had set for myself and those around me. I wanted a way out of the perfectionist trap and to loosen the reigns.

I realized that the most beautiful encounters with my children had been when I decided to say, "Oh, don't worry about it!" (i.e. the house, dinner, naptime schedules, etc). Love and joyful encounters with my children was incomparable to the latter. I knew my children needed me to look at them and not the 3-day- old stain on the dining room floor. The beauty in the moments, when I intentionally chose stillness and gratitude over productivity, was the reason I decided it was time to lay down a life-long pattern of perfectionism and control.

The problem was, I didn't really know where to start. I had been living this way for more than three decades. But I did know that I needed to start somewhere. So I started practicing being imperfect. Just like I had been teaching my 4-year old son. "The only way to get better at something is by practicing," I would tell him.

So, I did. And so I still am, practicing being imperfect.

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