To My Fellow Freelancing Mamas: Mistakes are Okay

Risk a Wrong Turn

Yesterday I received an email from a sweet new mama who is working to chart her own course and create an awesome freelance life. She was hoping to connect and learn from the path I walked when my kiddos were babies, and I couldn’t wait to talk to her. Today while her little one rested, we talked for over an hour about what has worked for me, shortcuts I found and how she can get started.

After we hung up, I thought about the things I forgot to say.

Being a new mama is scary. Those little babies seem so tiny and fragile and you constantly worry that you’re going to make a mistake. Launching a business is pretty much the same way. It seems like there are so many ways you can fail and you want to know every tip or trick to make sure you’re a success.

But, I’m going to let you in on something I wish I’d known back then: Mistakes are okay. Mistakes mean you’re learning. Mistakes mean you’re trying something new.

Maya Angelou said, “You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.” So, to my fellow freelancing mama, the next few years are inevitably going to be filled with tons of self-doubt—over parenting, starting a business, writing, you name it. You’ll replay your decisions and the what-ifs over and over. You’ll learn that there is no magic formula to making it all work, but the beauty is you don’t have to figure everything out today.

In Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott wrote, “E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

So, block out the well-meaning dream killers, conquer your self doubt and start scheming. Grow your business at nap time and bedtime and even during tummy time if you can. I can tell you, there are going to be days when demands of family life and your work like will seem daunting. Some mornings you’ll wake up and you’ll be so tired that you feel like you can’t get out of bed. But you can and you will. And one day, you’re little ones are going to go off to preschool and grade school and you’ll look back on those years and wonder how you made it all work, but you’ll sure be glad that you did.

 

Digging for Dinosaurs

My little guy has been studying dinosaurs in school for the past few weeks, so we made up a bunch of treasure stones with dinosaurs hidden inside for his class. Each of the kids got to take a stone home from school and unearth the dinosaur.

Evan loved breaking his apart.

Evan loved breaking his apart.

Treasure stone with dinosaurThe stones were easy (but messy) to make.

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups flour
1 cup coffee grounds
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup sand
1/2 cup water

Mix it all up, shape into a ball and insert a dinosaur (or other treasure). I let mine dry for several days, but you can also put them in the oven on low for a few hours. I had to make five batches of dough to get 20 treasure stones, but I made my stones a little big because of the dinosaurs I bought.

Also, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I called up one of my seven local Starbucks and asked if I could have some used coffee grounds. They were more than happy to share them with me. The stones did smell a bit like coffee, but Evan didn’t seem to mind.

Bribing Kids with After-Dinner Treats

I am not above bribing my kids. I was back before I had kids, but now I know that the promise of a lollipop or a cookie can work wonders. Homemade ice cream sandwiches can do the trick too.

One graham cracker + two tablespoons of low-fat ice cream = very happy kids who didn’t even notice you served leftovers for dinner.  This  somewhat healthy treat will also keep them busy while you shoot off a quick email, especially if you put a few chocolate chips on the plate and let them decorate the ice cream before putting another graham cracker on top. 

What are your favorite bribes and/or mommy magic tricks? 

Pizza with a Side of Phonics

We livened up our usual pizza making by pulling out the alphabet cookie cutters and creating a fun canvas for sauce and cheese. 

Pre-made dough from Trader Joe's made it even easier. My little guy is totally into letters these days, so he loved it. I love fostering some early reading skills.

Sounding out vowels over dinner…what could be better? 

The Magic of Disney



“All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

I am still reeling from the excitement of our Disney trip earlier this month. I love Disney and find the entire experience of stepping into a Disney theme park completely inspiring. It is a hustling and bustling testament to what one can achieve by chasing his or her dreams. Walt Disney trusted his instinct and invested himself in the projects he believed in. An impressive empire has grown out of Mr. Disney’s imagination.
 
I love his quote,  “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I left Magic Kingdom thinking about my own dreams and the steps I need to take to achieve them. I also love being inspired, and Disney served that purpose for me this month. How about you? Where do you find your inspiration? 

From my Kitchen

 

My kitchen bookshelves are full of amazing cookbooks. I love reading my cookbooks as much as I like cooking from them. I know there are wonderful websites full of recipes, but I'm still old school when it comes to cookbooks. 

One of my favorites to flip through is Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make. The photography is amazing and the cupcakes are adorable.  

Last winter I whipped up the penguin cupcakes in the book for Evan's preschool class to go along with the penguin-theme week they had. All in all I thought they turned out pretty well for my first time attempting such cupcake artistry. I layered the serving tray with coconut and threw in a few Swedish fish to top off the display.

Of course, as I was building the cupcakes I realized the teachers probably would not appreciate the aftermath of 12 toddlers hyped up on a cupcake, donut and donut hole. 

 

Let's just say there were no afternoon naps in the class that day, but the teachers didn't hold it against me too long. I'm definitely turning to the book again for some creative treats for my kiddos' birthdays this year. 

 

Happy New Year



Hello 2011. Welcome. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me and mine over the next 365 days. Life is always an adventure, isn’t it?

I’ve been mulling over New Year’s resolutions in my mind. I had a long list going, but then I read one of my friend’s Facebook posts that said, “Instead of trying to change myself in 2011, I am going to be myself.” I took it to heart and abandoned my burgeoning list with a renewed promise to accentuate the positive and do the best I can in all things—personal and professional.

One area, however, that I do plan to work on this year with renewed interest is this blog of mine. I’m in the midst of sprucing up my home office, and my little corner of the Internet could use some structure, too.  To help me stay on task, I’ve come up with some weekly posts I plan to do. In life find that sticking to a regular schedule keeps me on track, and I think that will hold true to the blog. So here is my plan:

Monday: Share a favorite children’s book pulled straight from my little ones’ bookshelves. This means they will be the books we read over and over (per Evan’s request) at bedtime and during the day. The tried and true books friends and relatives have turned us onto tend to be our favorites, so maybe you’ll like them, too.

Wednesday: Share a favorite book pulled from my bookshelves. Whether it is a cookbook from my kitchen cupboard, a writing book from my office bookcase or the latest novel I managed to read, I’ll let you know a little more about some of the books I love. 

Friday: Friday will also be known as Freelance Friday, and I will share some freelancing tips, info on the business side of being a sole proprietor and offer updates on my latest projects. I may also sneak in a few suggestions on how to keep little ones occupied at home when you have a deadline looming (or a sudden urge to hop on Facebook) and need to spend some time at the laptop.

That leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays up for grabs. I’d love your input. What kinds of things would you like to read about on the blog? Favorite quotes, life stories and kitchen creations are all things I’ve written about in the past. What should I continue and what should I cut? Writers always need editors and I’d love your direction as I create an editorial calendar for my blog. 

Thanksgiving Placecards

My kiddos and I whipped up some little place cards for our Thanksgiving table today, and I scanned in a couple so my mom can print them for her table, too. I just have to add some legs, beaks and waddles to these little guys and they’ll be ready to go. Each one is a custom print. 

Painting with Evan is always a messy endeavor. 

He loves to mix the paints together to see what colors they make.

Then he spreads the paint up his arms and starts reciting lines from his Spiderman movie. He is very serious about the entire process.

It makes me smile. It also makes me cringe a little since I know I’ll have an extra load of laundry to do tonight. I think it is worth it though because on Thursday when I sit these little guys on the table, I will have forgotten all about the laundry. At least that is what I’m telling myself right now as my washer and dryer hum away in the background.