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My calligraphy reminds me of my second grade cursive. No matter, listening to Sam Smith sing “stayyyy with me” while inking my pen and practicing my H is quite the party. I’ve signed-up for Calligraphy 101 with my good friend, Whitney, and she off-handedly quotes Malcom Gladwell: “The magic number for true expertise is ten...

2My calligraphy reminds me of my second grade cursive. No matter, listening to Sam Smith sing “stayyyy with me” while inking my pen and practicing my H is quite the party. I’ve signed-up for Calligraphy 101 with my good friend, Whitney, and she off-handedly quotes Malcom Gladwell: “The magic number for true expertise is ten thousand hours.”
Welp, let’s see, we’re in hour two of Calligraphy 101, so what’s 10,000 minus two? 9,998. Only 9,998 hours until my hand-lettering skills get featured on the cover of Style Me Pretty and/or I’m inking baby announcements for Dutchess Kate. I’m gonna need a lotta ink pots.
I’ve always been a bucket list kinda girl. You know the type, right? The girl that wants to go everywhere and meet everyone and do everything. And so my answer when Whitney asked me to take calligraphy on Monday nights? A quick and easy YES. I confirmed my husband could watch Max, and then I crossed item 15 off my bucket list. Done and done.
2015 was the year I crossed “baby” off my bucket list. The rest of the items didn’t disappear, but they did take on a motherhood slant. For example: My calligraphy practice centers on children’s books, and my 365 photography project (I’ve taken a picture every day since Jan. 1) documents Max’s first year.
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A good friend recently quit her full-time job to begin her own graphic design business. I congratulated her on being a #girlboss, and she responded, “I’ve got two years to earn that title.” Two years? That seemed logical to me: It’s enough time to build a brand, establish a client base and gain consumer trust. I said as much, and then she clarified, “That’s not it—I’m planning to have kids in two years, and I want to establish myself before then.”
A week’s gone by, and her words are still ringing in my mind. Thing is, I’m beginning to see that motherhood and creativity go hand-in-hand, and that mothers continue to develop, learn and grow as we raise our children. Sure it’d be nice to give work your undivided attention, but perhaps raising a family will inspire better work than ever before?
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My relationship with Max encourages me to see the world afresh. I observe wonder in his eyes, and it encourages me to take photos, write stories and notice the extraordinary details of everyday moments. I want to understand what inspires and delights my babe: Why is he smiling in his stroller? Why are his eyes filled with so much trust and love? How do I describe the innocence and joy in his laugh?
Some of my happiest memories as a mama have been sitting on the floor, writing or editing photos, and watching as my bean plays and laughs in his crib. To him, his crib is more than just a bed—on Monday it’s a sailboat, and he’s the captain; on Tuesday it’s the Polar Express, and he’s the conductor; on Wednesday it’s a tiny hut in the desert, and he must, quick before he runs out of water, figure out how to straighten his legs and return to civilization. My bitty babe is the most creative person I know.
Being a mother defines me, yes, but it doesn’t limit me. It’s my experience that mothering—nurturing and developing a child—increases creativity and inspires work. I’m learning more about the world, about the nature of love, connection and sacrifice, and that experience enhances everything I do. Would my work benefit from a couple uninterrupted hours of study? Perhaps, but I’d miss the essential mama moments that color my life and provide creative fuel. If you ask me, the best—of work, of life and of love—is yet to come.
So cheers to mama’s everywhere—to living like a #girlboss, chasing your dreams, and letting your family inspire your work.
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