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.

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.

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,








5 Artists Inspiring Moonphase RIGHT NOW

I’ve been super busy building my skillset and planning some stuff around Moonphase Creative headquarters—and with holidays fast approaching, I thought, why not add one more thing to my pile of crazy.

Because that “one more thing” excites me, and that is: connecting with you.

I want to make it a habit now, before Christmas dinners and Fall potlucks steal me away entirely. I love family and friends, but—and we’ve all heard it, rarely honor it—we need to take time for self-care. My number one passion in self-care is largely browsing Instagram and being inspired by some amazing artists.

As I make a Holiday Pact to connect more, both on and off the social media screen, I wanted to share with you what drives me to be passionately rooted in a personal creative practice. The following five artists are just a few of many who inspire my own personal and creative practice. I’m linking them all so you can explore what I mean!


  1. Willowing aka Tam


Whimsical, bright colors are a staple in this artist’s work. She has life mission that she describes on her website as being “to help make this world a better place.” I found Willowing on Instagram, and now I even own one of her printed books! Her style focuses on self-expression with lots of color and layers, with a mixed-media approach that is meant to go beyond the purely visual and speak as a sort of creative therapy and journaling experience.


As I struggled to find my place in the world of creative living, this Willowing was definitely a voice I tuned in to help hear my own inner-voice calling to me. My work is decidedly different, and for now my creative path has me less in the classroom and more in the studio—but certainly, the way I envision art as a healing tool, and the creative process part of a journey bigger than ourselves, is something I find echoed in the work of Tam.


Her work is widely celebrated, and she offers classes, workshops, and (as I mentioned) her Life Book is an amazing thing to keep around for your creative perusal and delving into the creative side of self-help.



  1. Terri Foss


I’m not sure when or how I found Terri Foss on Instagram, but I’m so happy I did. Her work is ethereal and mysterious, and she seems to tap from such a place of soul-sweet authenticity, it’s always a treat to soak in her wonderful images.

I had to include her here, if nothing else because it is the time of year when we are particularly tuning in to the spiritual and celebrating pumpkins, witches, and the harvest magic—all of which Foss delivers with a particular finesse and artistic skill.

I think her artistic voice particularly inspired me to create for the sake of creating, experimenting for the sake of creating, and not feeling I had to figure out “what sells” when it came to subject matter. Her ample reserves of followers is definite proof that doing what you love best can garner success and visibility. That authenticity she possesses translates into her work with passion and soul, which is ultimately what any artist can hope for.


  1. Simone Grunewald aka Schmoedraws


As a mom, I sometimes feel like it’s hard to get out the paint, or ink, or clay—because Little People. My little people want to help, they want to play, they want to… spill stuff.

I love @schmoedraws because her Instagram feed of personal art is like a hilarious comic of life with a little person. She has great energy and amazing storytelling in her Instagram, which never fails to ring true to me on some personal level.

I’ve learned so much from her posts and helpful tidbits. Moms are artists, too, and even though her day job is doing other stuff, I love that she is finding the time and energy to capture the daily joys of parenthood for the pleasure of social media.


  1. Lois van Baarle aka Loish


Known as Loish, Lois van Baarle is basically all things #goals for so many artists. Her work is total eye-candy, with masterful use of color and a really strong sense of composition, storytelling, and character design. A freelance illustrator and animator, she take the age-old craft to a new level with her mix of classical control and digital art pioneering.

I’m not much of a digital artist and generally prefer fine art, but one of the things I love about her work, is the way she uses digital as a tool, not a crutch. That is to say, I feel like looking at her sketches and drawings are like looking into the sketchbooks of artists in history. There is a fine looping and scrawling of gestural lines, an exquisite capturing of energy and movement that I feel is usually best caught in traditional media. However, when she renders digitally, she manages to keep the traditional 2d feel often times, and enhances her painting with digital effects, lighting, and other tools in a way that doesn’t compromise the soulful nature of her subjects.


  1. Laia Lopez


I think I found @itslopez from following Loish, whom I discussed above. Her new book Gleaming is coming out soon, and although I don’t even speak Spanish (just enough to embarrass myself, really), I probably need to reserve a copy. I love her adorable character and animated style.

Spain-based illustrator, Laia Lopez, creates adorable characters full of emotion that really fits well with the tween/teen demographic that her work largely caters to. I feel like her personal love of art is so fresh and apparent in her work, her catalog of characters could inspire me for days.

I chose artists that are largely diverse in their style, application, and purpose in art. It’s so important to fill our pages with experiments and new things; it’s just as important to look beyond the familiar and seek out all types of inspiration.

I would love to know—who or what is inspiring you along your own creative journey?