Today we welcome our next monthly columnist, the delightful, brave, wise Stefanie Renee. Each month, Stef will be sharing some notes from the trenches of a creative mama finding her way. Conversations about the realness of being creative while being a mom come up again and again at retreats, and we are thrilled to be hosting this kind of conversation here on Chickadee Road.
I sat at the kitchen table this morning without my phone. It was a conscious choice. It’s something I have to keep doing so I create that boundary between the outside world and my family time. These moments are precious and I admit I don’t always notice that. Being present. Even if we all eat in silence or the kids banter back and forth and I just listen…being present is important. But I need to remind myself of that often.
Being a mother while also being a self employed creative entrepreneur means all too often being present isn’t in the cards. Trying to hustle to figure out where the next check will be coming from or creating the space to do the work I need to do is all too consuming. There isn’t an office I leave and then come home. My office is my home, my studio, my car, me. It’s right here. Always.
So when the money worries get to be a little much and the kids bickering back and forth gets to an all time high and the marital communication is at a low ~ well that is when the mother of the year award crashes to the floor. The not so proud moments of yelling and not listening and not being present arise. Sometimes all too often.
I feel like motherhood brought shame into my world. I don’t think I really got what shame was until I became a mother. The way we judge one another, the way we think they are doing it all wrong or the way we feel when we think they are doing it all right. We need to give each other a break ~ we really are doing the best we can in the moment. I remember my own mom telling me once after I confronted her about something that happened in my past and her telling me she did the best she could. I didn’t believe her; I couldn’t. But now…after having my own children, I understand. I understand that it really might have been her best at the time. It’s not always right or good, but it’s the best at the time.
We need to cut ourselves some slack. We need to acknowledge that it’s hard. We need to talk about it. Because we know there is someone who will nod and say me too. We know that. It makes us feel more human when we can hear that the other mom, who you might think is major earth mama, has issues too, she struggles with giving her child a bath and there are moments of complete chaos and there are negotiations and tears. I can breathe a sigh of relief when I hear others tell the stories that I could tell.
We’re in this together, we really are…
Stefanie Renee is a mama to two beautiful daughters, photographer, map maker and co-creator of Teahouse Studio is Berkeley, CA. Found most often with 1 of her many cameras in her hand – i-phone, big girl camera or Polaroid. She seeks out the light and loves to stop for a good thrift store or flea market. Her ideal day starts with a nice long hot shower, breakfast with her girls, a walk to the local coffee shop for a Chai, conversations with friends, writing group, lunch on the lawn, working with clients to pursue their dreams, ending with dinner around the table with her family before snuggling up for story time and ending with Friday Night Lights on Netflix.