The Artist Mom’s Summer Adventure

Remember when I said the summer insanity was nearly upon us? Well—it’s here! And I have been fighting a ton of anxiety, mom-guilt, and a lot of pressure to 1) get my business better organized and continue the expansion and 2) prepare everything and everyone for our newest addition that will arrive in August.

This past weekend, I tried to explain all these nerves and anxieties to my ever-patient partner. He totally understood; he reminded me that he’s here to take care of the kids, juggle the family taxi and let me have time to work, self-care, and all the other things. By Monday evening, after similar reminders from my dad, who is a wonderful grandparent-support just up the street, I felt a whole lot better about everything. So much better, in fact, I planned to commit and attend the weekly early-morning business networking group that could prove invaluable to my work as a freelance writer. I scheduled out blocks of work-time, and strategized about the dreaded Tuesday when my younger two kiddos have lots of appointments and no daycare. I felt pretty good about the newfound structure and was optimistically secure in my support system.

On Wednesday, my partner has the kids up and out the door well before 8 a.m. because my early meeting begins at 7.45 and their daycare is on his way to work. My eldest, still sleeping and self-sufficient, was enjoying the first real opportunity to sleep in on her summer break on this particular morning. I felt confident about this day—after all, I even called ahead at 6.30 a.m. to the daycare to ensure my four-year-old had the three tee shirts I’d ordered all ready to go for her summer camp uniform. I packed her backpack with a labeled water bottle and sunscreen, her favorite stuffed bunny, and we talked about her class trip to Build A Bear for the day.

I’m the first to admit I’m a hot mess mom, but this day felt pretty okay. I got everyone out the door with kisses, hugs, and neatly tied ponytails (except Ben, he can take care of his own hair). Less than an hour later, though, about 10 minutes prior to my meeting’s scheduled beginning, I got a rather stern phone call from her school.

“You will have to come get P,” the employee said. “She has a field trip today and she is totally unprepared, and it would be unacceptable for her to attend the field trip today.”

“Hmmm, okay, I’m sorry what is she missing.”

“She doesn’t have a shirt—”

“I called at 6.30 a.m. to ask if the 3 shirts we ordered several weeks ago were available, and I was told the shirts are there—we hadn’t been given them to take home in the weeks since I placed the order.”

“She doesn’t have sunscreen, a backpack, or a water bottle—”

“I labeled her sunscreen and water bottle and put them in her backpack—which should also have her name on it. I am really sorry, what else does she need today?”

“A hat, she doesn’t have a hat. You have about two hours to get a hat to her or she absolutely can’t go.”

Of course, I skipped my meeting—because either way I was going to have to miss the meeting, and at least if I ducked out and brought the hat to her, I could still get writing and illustration work accomplished. But I admit, I was fuming. All this worry about juggling kids and childcare, and wondering if a thousand dollars per child–per month– could be justified for childcare costs… in that moment, as I forfeited a profitable and important business opportunity so I could get my kid’s hat to her, the thousand dollars did not seem like a well-spent investment.

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My family. We are usually going lots of different ways. Photo by Jackie & Ryan Photography, Colorado Springs!!

 

I can’t imagine too many parents would want to be called out of a meeting and lose opportunities over a hat. Sure, it is one incident, and normally if the kids have an appointment or need me, I’m there and can be there quickly because being self-employed is typically one of the most flexible jobs ever. Had my daughter been actually totally unprepared, even, I could see the school’s point and would feel less annoyed and flustered by being asked to cancel my work and deliver a hat.

It did help me re-evaluate what I’m doing and where I am with my kids this summer. My heart is with them. Often, my days are spent coordinating and shuttling to and from appointments for one of the three, and so my work suffers despite 2/3 of our children being stuck in a classroom. The evening is dedicated to them, and after they sleep I’m too busy cleaning and preparing for the next day to do much work. And weekends, too, seem the worst place for work, because they’ve been in school and daycare all week and now I want to spend time with my family.

Yesterday, though, that “dreaded” day of appointments? We survived it, and we thrived it. Work-life balance is hard to come by, but yesterday seemed great for the most part. We accomplished all our appointments and squeezed in a special milkshake treat and a trip to the park. We got home just as some rain set in, and everyone watched a movie with popcorn while I retreated to my studio to work on painting and a few small business details. It was, in all aspects, more productive than most days—AND I spent more quality time with my kids than usual, too. In fact, I didn’t want today to start so rushed and send everyone off to summer camps and pre-school. I knew my 4-year-old was pretty excited for Build A Bear, and that I had plenty of work to get to– but also I wondered what kind of adventures would I have if we didn’t have to commit to the scheduled grind.

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Accomplished while the kids survived popcorn and a movie in a separate room.

When the morning rolled out as it did, I felt all sorts of things bubble up. The feminist in me started ranting about mom-shaming; after all, just that morning as Ben asked me about new classrooms and where to bring her summer camp backpack, and he joked it was good to be a man, because everyone is helpful and no one thinks anything of it when you don’t know what’s going on at your kids’ school.

The mom in me felt guilty.

The self-employed freelancer felt stressed and worried about work missed.

I decided this is, perhaps, the last summer we have before my eldest is “too cool” to be part of the adventure. It is our last summer before my second-born starts school. It is a summer of a lot of change, and I couldn’t imagine three people I would rather spend it with than my kids.

Will it be easy? No. But it wasn’t easy before, either.

 

We start the adventure July 1st, stay tuned!

 

Happy summer,

 

Angi

 

 

 

 

 

Slowing Down for the Better

The first week of January is almost up, and it is hard to believe 2019 is actually here.

If any of you follow me on my Facebook page, you’ll know I announced an official pause on accepting new clients and am slowing down my work-train a bit. We’ve had an eventful few months, and unfortunately it isn’t all good news (but also, there is good news).

In early December I was in a pretty bad car wreck, in which my new 2019 minivan was totaled. The injuries I sustained compounded an existing condition I have with spinal stenosis and degenerative discs. I’ve tried to remain positive and sludge through all of it, but honestly—my body and my spirit have taken a minute to recover here.

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I decided to be kind to myself and focus on my current successes: my growing body of art and building my portfolio; preparing for the semester ahead and learning new stuff; and focusing on the blessing of my current clients that I happily work for monthly.

I am excited to build my business and do more, be more, make more…

but what does that mean? Where does that leave me, personally, as far as balanced and rested?

I am grateful for what I have. I want to find my strength and balance with the blessings already in my basket. Why add more if it isn’t sustainable?

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What I’m focusing on these days.

This way, when I put out a call for new clients, I’ll be doubly sure I’m able to provide quality writing services, quality art instruction, and top-notch illustration freelance.

I’m grateful for a manageable workload in which I feel I can offer quality freelance to other small businesses, while taking classes and being a mom.

We hear so much about leaning in, crushing goals, taking on the maximum to make the maximum. But after the car crash and all the things this holiday season brought, I think I realized there is value and potential in perfecting the smaller goals before greedily piling on more, more, more to a list you can’t see the end of.

Juniper Tree Natural Body Care

I am so excited to embark upon a new journey within Moonphase Creative. This new endeavor is so new and exciting, it deserved its own unique branding and a dedicated name. A few weeks back I created the logo to accompany Juniper Tree Natural Body care, a new line of handcrafted natural body products.

The new body care line is up for grabs on Friday, March 2nd!

I have been making body butters and face oils, oil cleansers, and all manner of oil-based (essential oils as well as avocado, grape seed, apricot, and of course the ever-favorite, coconut oil) for my family for some time now. It was a personal choice, and it seemed the logical thing to do if I didn’t like what I found in stores.

It felt like a personal act of love to make these things for my family–and I enjoyed mixing up my own body and face care, because I found it a soothing and peaceful thing to do. I have enjoyed learning about oils and holistic living the past few years, but it never occurred to me to share my knowledge or sell products–until people started asking what I used for my face, or complimenting something I’m using.

So I’m introducing a few small batches of my faves, crafted based upon my knowledge and experience with oils and holistic health.

What Juniper Tree has so far:

Body Oil

(All have a Coconut Oil Base, making the contents fairly solid when stored below 76 degrees F)

Soothe and Smooth: Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Sandalwood and Tea Tree Oil Essential Oils

Sweet Love: Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Lemon and Lavender Essential Oils

Peace Out: Coconut Oil, Patchouli and Bergamot Essential Oils

 

Face Oil

Balance: Grape Seed and Almond Oil, Lavender and Tea tree essential oils

Happy Face: Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Grapefruit and Myrrh essential oils

Blessings: Almond Oil, Clary Sage, Myrrh, and Sandalwood essential oils

 

Also, the Oil Cleansing Method has been my preferred choice of cleansing with wonderful result for about a year now, and I offer a super gentle coconut oil and grapeseed cleanser that can be multi-functional–but I highly recommend it for removing stubborn eye-makeup and taking off the layers of cosmetics and grime we acquire each day!

 

You can read about the Oil Cleansing Method over at the Wellness Mama Blog, and message me with questions or comments at moonphasecreative@gmail.com –or find us on Facebook.