Maybe it’s the mulled wine or being stuck inside with bored kids climbing on me, but this time of year always makes me a tad nostalgic. This week we’re celebrating our 20th week of Mommikin and I started musing about the wild ride it has been so far.
When Lina (my lovely Mommikin co-founder) and I started Mommikin, we knew there would be challenges. What mom has ever complained about needing one more thing to do? However we passionately wanted to create a resource to celebrate, encourage and share ideas with other creative moms.
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We’ve learned a lot over the last 20 weeks — adjusting, revising and constantly growing. Practically every week Lina or I ask “When do you think it’ll slow down?” and we reassure ourselves that next week will be very quiet…which never seems to quite happen. Some things have been expected (yes, moms are super-busy!), some unexpected (it’s been a continuous crash-course on a million things I never thought I’d need to know), and many, many things that blindsided me in a completely wonderful way. Here are some of my favorite things I’ve learned from working on Mommikin so far.
1. Lack of time CAN be a benefit
When we started, I prepared to hear a lot of complaining from moms about not having enough time to pursue their creative interests. And we definitely do hear a lot about time-constraints and the struggle to juggle everything. However what I wasn’t prepared for is how many moms turned this lack of time into a positive. Several mentioned that it helped them abandon the overly critical approach to their work that paralyzed them in the past and actually grow creatively.
—Nicole Robinson, Photographer
— Ruth Oosterman, Painter
2. You can make it as a renaissance woman in a specialized world
In a world that likes to pigeon-hole everyone, we tend to think you have to specialize, specialize, specialize. The standard thinking is to succeed you need to find a narrow niche and rarely venture out. However I’ve been delighted at how many of our moms explore and succeed in a diverse range of materials, themes and roles. I love seeing how their projects often seem, on the face of things, so different, yet as you look closer you can see the common threads.
— Sonjie Solomon, Industrial Designer and Artist
— Pauline Galiana, Visual Artist, Jewelry Maker, Graphic Designer and Interior Space Organizer
— Andrea Dezsö, Visual Artist working in embroidery, 3D books, mosaic, watercolor, steel, sand-blasted glass and more
3. A great creative partner makes all the difference
Every couple days Lina and I have official “morale checks” — like it sounds, it’s half silly and half serious. Anyone who has taken on a long-term creative endeavour can tell you, no matter how much enthusiasm you begin with — it’s hard to maintain. Whether the pop-up just consumed Lina’s Saturday (and still isn’t working) or the article I spent all morning editing sudden disappeared — some days just suck. Add the chaos of having kids and it can feel really daunting to even try to start something new. However working with a great partner has made all the difference. Having someone to kill my terrible ideas and encourage the ones that just might work has been invaluable. I love getting late night emails from Lina full of some exciting insight she just had and she always pushes us to think big-picture and create better work. We often think of creatives as toiling away, alone in some garret apartment but actually usually the best results comes out of a combination of solo and group work.
—Stephanie Roth Sisson, Illustrator and Author of Star Stuff
—Abigail Samoun, Children’s Book Editor, Agent and Author
4. Children are a great fount of creative inspiration
Whether it’s seeing life anew or less critically, I always love hearing how each mom’s experience is somehow universal and unique at the same time.
— Ula Bochinska, Architect
— Ned Glaettli, Visual Artist
5. Everyone needs help, don’t be afraid to ask.
I know personally this is a hard one for me. We all want to do everything — have a fulfilling career, kids we spend tons and tons of quality time with, meaningful relationships and maybe even possibly exercise or pursue a hobby every once in a while. It’s like a shimmering mirage hanging over all our heads that it’s possible…somehow. But again and again, the moms I talk to refer to some help she got along the way.
—Michelle Ward, When I Grow Up Creative Career Coach
—Jeanene Mack, Wellness Coach and Stylist
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes make the mistake of reading articles about the “Mommy Wars.” Reading the comments always makes me feel like we, as moms, are just out to get each other and criticize each other for each and every little thing. So I’ve been incredibly thankful for all the time, support and love from everyone to make Mommikin happen. Nearly everyone we’ve approached jumps at the chance of helping other moms and sharing their hard-earned lessons. That’s been very heartening. Thank you!