Freelance writing for a stay-at-home mom is a tough gig, let me tell you. I’ve tried to keep my pinky-toe in the water for the last several years, and I have been blessed by some really understanding editors who are still eager to receive my work, even when it’s sporadic. Lately I’ve been pretty busy with multiple assignments again, and I find myself daily having an inner battle of excitement (to be doing what I love) and frustration (because life with little kids doesn’t often go to plan).
It’s been a good lesson in time management, patience and, above all, honesty with myself. And here’s the deal – blogging (for me), isn’t really writing. It’s not hard to punch out a bunch of paragraphs about my life on my own time and without anyone expecting perfection. Blogging, for me, is a bit self-indulgent. It’s the result of a random spark of inspiration and a child’s coincidental nap time (like right now).
But, writing as a job is really hard work. It takes constant practice, trial and error, and a rubbery thick skin, to maintain. Hoping to improve one’s writing is all that and an extra shot of dedication, plus having the time and headspace to pitch your stuff and get yourself out there. Trying to write for the last six weeks has driven me to the edge of my own sanity, and I wasn’t even working on anything very difficult. Of course, my elation at being asked to write a few things was quickly snuffed by a toddler who stopped sleeping, a 5 year-old who was constipated, a husband who had to work longer hours, and a dog with skin allergies. Now nearing the end of this little run, I’m finally breathing again, but am also looking back and wondering if I should keep it up or just get a desk job? Regardless, I know my kids and I need more breaks from each other. A lot more.
So while I’m mulling all this over, I’d like to tip my hat to some other moms I know who are trying to do stuff they love while caring for families of (mostly) small children. We are a long-suffering breed, ha ha, who try to find snip its of time to work when our significant others are home (evenings and weekends) or during those few blessed moments the wee ones are sleeping, in school, at a friends’ house, or with a babysitter. While I fill that space with writing (or staring blankly at the screen), the ladies mentioned below use their time in other fascinating creative pursuits. (And I’d like to remind you, dear readers, that there are weddings, christenings, birthdays, holidays and all sorts of things coming up that serve as an awesome excuse to patronise one of these good women. Keep that in mind, and keep reading!)
I’ve been friends with Heidi Collins and her husband, Josh, since college days, and consider myself very lucky to be so. Heidi is a registered nurse by trade, but now mostly stays home with their little boy, Jonah, born in 2011. The Collins family lives in Nashville, TN, where, a few years ago, Heidi started her creative business of custom sock monkeys, aka “Show Me The Monkeys.” They’re so awesome!!! She sells them at craft shows around Tennessee and online as well. When we were going through a rough patch last year in Indianapolis, Heidi sent my kids monkeys designed just for them, a gesture that still makes me smile. The dolls are very unique and pretty durable for all kinds of kid adventures – Evey and Shea play with theirs all the time. Check out her Etsy and ask her about custom orders, too! We love us some monkeys.
When I think of our friend Caoimhe Mc Carthy, I always remember her coming to Frank’s screening of “Derelict” when her daughter, Edith/”Edie” was still a tiny baby, sleeping in her carrier. I was quite pregnant with Shea, so we sat together in the front row in case we needed to make a hasty exit during the film. Caoimhe’s partner, Richard Quinn, has been a great friend to Frank over the years and was integral in getting his feature film made. At that time, I was not aware of what a talented artist Caoimhe (pronounced “Keeva” or “Kweeva”) is. I adore her pen and ink drawings and her watercolors, which she can personalise as much or as little as desired, and I am really excited to share her work with you here. Caoimhe lives in Dunleer, Co. Louth, Ireland, with Richie, Edie, and sons Noah and Finn.
Another friend from Anderson University days, Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin is a soulful singer and talented musician who is no stranger to the Indianapolis jazz scene. I am constantly amazed at how she continues to write, sing and play her timeless ballads while looking after (and homeschooling, I think?) three beautiful children. She is also currently expecting twins – oh my gosh – and inspires me daily through her funny and honest social media posts. She loves to collaborate with her husband, Jeff McLaughlin, and other members of her extremely musical family, and her most recent album, “Sit With Me,” was released last year. If you can’t see her perform live (or even if you can), I’d highly recommend buying one of her wonderful albums.
Amanda Eichenberger is actually a friend I’ve never met. 🙂 She is a friend of friends, a Heartland employee who came on after I had left for Ireland. Somehow we got connected on Facebook, and sometimes I feel like we must be related. Amanda has four small kiddos, the youngest of whom is only a few months old, yet by all appearances, she handles life with humor, grace and a lot of creativity. Her husband is a doctor, so the family has been moving a lot over the last few years with his residency, etc, but they are on their way back to Georgia, and I think they’re pretty excited. Amanda’s talent is in crafting the most fabulous dresses for tiny little girls. She has an Etsy account that is currently on hold while they embark on their current move, but she promises to be back soon. Note: the Belle dress is not one she’s offered on Etsy, but it’s my favorite of the ones she’s made in the past and really showcases her sewing skills.
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It is now dinnertime and I can smell that “someone” has a dirty bum. It’s taken all afternoon to try and format the pictures for this post and I’m still not happy with how it looks and, again, second-guessing why I started the project. A perfect example of how it feels to be a “working” mom! Anyway, I hope you will click on the links above and support the ventures of these lovely ladies and their obvious talents. Thanks, as always, for reading along.