Every year in our May issue, we profile five fascinating […]
Every year in our May issue, we profile five fascinating moms—a handful of women with unique backgrounds, interesting careers and thought-provoking perspectives. There are times when they feel like they’ve got it all figured out and days when they’re counting down the hours until bedtime (first baby’s, then theirs). These mamas are inspiring, intelligent, industrious and—to be honest—not at all different from you. So read, relate and celebrate the bond that makes every mother’s story captivating.
Name: Katie Daisy
Residence: Bend, Oregon
Occupation: Freelance illustrator
Children: Finn (10 months)
Favorite color: Ochre
Strangest pregnancy craving: Crunchy shell tacos
On her bucket list: Own an original Olaf Hajek painting
Katie Daisy lives in a cabin in the woods, where she spends her days sketching by the river, painting at a picnic table under the pine trees, building fires in the woodstove and taking hot baths with the windows open—and it’s every bit as dreamy as it sounds.
“Sometimes it doesn’t even feel real,” confides the talented artist, who’s found success through her wildly popular Etsy shop—where she sells art prints, cards, notebooks and more featuring her uplifting, nature-infused designs—and her licensed designs for various stationery and home décor collections. “I love that I get to do what I love for a living and support my family.”
When her handsome son, Finn, awakes in the morning, Daisy’s musician fiancé starts on breakfast. “I don’t know how I got so lucky, but Eli is an amazing cook,” she says. “It wouldn’t be unusual for him to make eggs Benedict with a homemade hollandaise or banana bread French toast.”
After a hearty start to the day, Daisy makes her way to her studio (another cabin on the property) to get to work—whether that means painting or responding to emails. When his dad has band practice, Finn joins his mama. “I usually strap him on my back while I paint!” she says.
Although Daisy had planned to have children eventually, she didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Still, the transition to motherhood has been a welcome one. “As many good things are, Finn was a beautiful surprise and gift,” says Daisy, who describes her pregnancy as “pretty much a breeze.”
Giving birth, however, was rough—“excruciating, even,” she recalls. Daisy labored for hours without pain medication before finally pushing Finn out into a pool of water.
Although the family didn’t find out until he was 2 months old, Finn was born with a skull condition called sagittal craniosynostosis. “The plates in his skull had prematurely fused together,” explains Daisy. Because they weren’t malleable as most babies’ are, the squeeze through the birth canal was especially painful.
When it became clear that Finn’s head was growing in length but not width, his doctor made the diagnosis. “We were told that Finn would need to have surgery to allow room for his brain to grow,” says Daisy. “The day of the surgery was the most terrifying day of my entire life … but we got through it.”
In fact, the entire experience has made her braver. “It’s crazy how becoming a mother really does bring out that protective ‘mama bear’ instinct. I have a sort of fierceness now,” says the new mom, who gladly reports Finn is “perfectly happy and healthy.”
Although this fairy-tale-living artist faces the same challenges that all new parents do (complete and utter exhaustion not withstanding) and the same bummers that most small business owners encounter (hello, social media trolls), her free spirit isn’t often weighed down. And when it is, she reminds herself of the messages weaved throughout her paintings—“Live simply,” “Be still,” “Choose love”—and takes a moment to reset.
“Painting messages of love and acceptance is a constant reminder to slow down and examine my actions … I don’t paint these words because I embody them,” Daisy points out. “I paint them because I strive to.” And most of the time, that’s exactly what she does.
(Photo credits: Joy Prouty, Karen Eland)