Before I had Ava, I used to read ALL the time. I’d devour crime fiction like cocktails on a hot summer’s day, and Mum and I would regularly swap our latest finds.
Since having Ava, reading has not been on my radar like it used to be. I’ve read plenty of informative parenting books, but in general, books just got lost in the buzz of motherhood.
Recently, a friend recommended I read Motherhood and Creativity, written by Rachel Power, which features interviews with some amazing Australian, writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers, artists and other clever creatives.
Their stories talk about the challenges of how to maintain and build on their creative careers, while coping with the pressures of motherhood. It was so heartwarming to read that fabulous women like Clare Bowditch, Claudia Karvan and Rachel Griffiths all struggle with motherhood, and being able to create their ‘art’, in whatever form that takes.
My passion for creativity started when I was little. I painted, I doodled, I made dioramas out of cereal boxes, I drew, I coloured, I took photos – I basically loved all things arts and crafts. I also did dancing for 12 years, right through until the end of Year 11, and jumped at the chance at every school play and musical that came up.
I studied graphic design at uni, then worked as a designer for a few years. But I found myself disillusioned, as I didn’t exactly have a great experience within a pretty tough (very male-driven) industry. And truth be told, I just didn’t have the confidence in my abilities as a designer.
A few years later, I took a move into a more admin based role in account management (client service). I was happy to still be in the design industry, and it seemed like a logical side step. And you know what – it worked, and I was pretty good at it. And I worked my way up to Account Director, which was the job I had when I went on maternity leave.
To say my own introduction to motherhood was tricky, is an understatement. I had a seriously rough time of it, and if you haven’t read that crazy story, you can here (scroll down for Part 1).
Getting back to the book, there was so much that resonated with me, particularly how to get back to work after having Ava. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit back into an industry I had been out of for almost three years. And because of my ongoing health issues, I couldn’t work full time.
Ava was two and a half by the time I got back to work, part time two days a week. I was lucky enough to go back into an account management role for a small design studio not too far from home.
During that time, I started this blog and when I wasn’t at work or looking after Ava, I worked my butt off. When Ava was at kinder and at night, I worked and worked, really hard on all things blogging. Shooting images, writing posts, and learning how to navigate the fickle world of social media.
After about 18 months I moved on to another role as studio manager and took on shorter hours across four days a week. Then a little over a year ago, I separated from Ava’s Dad. Tough times, but a positive move for all of us.
Then Ava started school this year, and I also started a new job. Back at my old job before I had Ava, as account director in a graphic design studio in Carlton. I’m working normal hours across three days, which suits me perfectly.
I get to be a school Mum on Thursdays and Fridays, and I’m able to do school drop offs and pick ups. I feel really lucky to be able to make it work, and not have to work full time. When I was at school, my Mum never had that choice. She too, was a single Mum, and had no choice but to work full time.
Finding a balance between motherhood and creativity has always been a struggle for me. And you know what, being creative EVERY day is freakin’ hard work. Some days you have it, and some days you don’t. And some days, when I do have time to create, all I wanna do is watch Netflix.
Side note: Speaking of Netflix, have you watched Stranger Things? Hands down the BEST show I’ve watched in ages. Check it out!
Generating unique creative content for the blog, Insta and FB is full on. And that’s not all. As well as that, I’m writing and creating images for a popular lifestyle blog, creating images for brands, and working super hard on some really exciting plans, which I hope to have in place very soon.
I’m tired just thinking about it, and some days I wish I didn’t blog/write/create, and I yearn for simpler times. BUT, most days I really do love it, and it gets me out of bed in the morning. I carry my camera everywhere and I’m always looking for that next elusive shot/idea/spark.
So am I glad I’m a creative? Hell yeah, I wouldn’t change it for the world. And I can see it in my girl too, which really makes my heart sing. Like me, she loves all things arts and crafts, and she’s really good at it. I can’t wait to see where it takes her.
Thanks so much for reading, and stay tuned for some really cool developments. Wish me luck!