Welcome to Week 21 of Motherhood by Design – the series where mothers who also run creative businesses share their inspirations and their experiences juggling the demands of raising children while growing a creative career.
"Your creative muscles will snap back to life when you start scheduling moments for you."
Elisa Blaha Cripe is a maker through and through and although she's a new(ish) mother, she's a role model for mothers everywhere who strive to feed their creativity while also staying fully devoted to her family. Elise's projects range from paper-based (scrapbooking, printmaking, stationery) to painting to quilting, to teaching online classes and putting out a weekly podcast on creativity, motivation and inspiration. Her latest project, the Get To Work Book, is an inspirational and very functional daily planner and goal-setting tool to help you brainstorm, tackle your projects, and celebrate your successes, one task at a time. As Elise knows as a busy mother of toddler, that's the only way things get done.
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Elise - can you please describe your family?
My family consists of me, Elise, my husband, Paul, and our almost two year old daughter, Ellerie. We are expecting our second child in November!
What is your business?
My business is a healthy mix of things that currently includes blogging, hosting a weekly podcast for creatives, a small online shop of handmade goods and a day planner brand called GET TO WORK BOOK.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
I remember reading a lot. A lot.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
Absolutely. Writing and making things were some of my favorite ways to spend my time. I loved to color and watercolor. And play with stickers too. There was never much plan for the artwork, but I enjoyed the process of making.
When you were a child, did you have ideas about your own future as a mother? Was motherhood something you’d always imagined for yourself, or is it an idea you grew into later in life?
Nothing concrete, though I always planned to have children. I remember wanting a little girl so badly and it was so exciting when we found out we were expecting a daughter. I didn't think too much about what actually RAISING children would be like and never drew the parallels between all the baby sitting I did and having my own kiddos.
Was motherhood something you’d always imagined for yourself, or is it an idea you grew into later in life?
In your early years of motherhood, did you have/make time for your creative pursuits, or was your creative work put aside for a while? If the latter, when did you pick it back up?
I am still in my early years for sure and making time for creative pursuits is item number two on my life list after making sure Ellerie is cared for. It's a tremendous priority for me because it helps support my family and it keeps me feeling fulfilled and happy (which allows me to be a better human, wife, mother and business owner.)
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
Before. I had been blogging for about eight years and running a business for about four before Ellerie was born. My new big idea though, the planner, was developed when she was about 15 months old.
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
Yes and no. I always wanted to work in business but I don't think I expected to run my own. And I would have never dreamed that it would be as creative as inspiring as it is.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
In the beginning I thought I could do it all by myself and now I see that I was insane. We have childcare 3 days a week and I use those days to get through my work. On my mama days, I take care of Ellerie and then read/rest/recharge during her naptimes.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
I think I am more efficient for sure. Everyone says that, but it's true. You have to be. I also am much more protective of my time and find myself saying "no" more frequently. If it's going to take me away from my family, it better be a perfect fit.
In what ways does motherhood affect your creative products?
I don't think I have changed too much here. I find myself inspired by the same things as ever.
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
I think the biggest thing is I've realized how much I want this. Owning a business is something I have worked for for a long time, but it wasn't until I had a kid and my priorities had to be rearranged that I realized just how vital and important it is to me. I am "hungrier" now than I was before which might sound crazy but it's true. Plus, I love that Ellerie will grow up knowing her mom was passionate and committed to her work. I can only hope she finds something that inspires her in the same way.
How do you think your creative pursuits, including your business, affect your children?
It's hard to know this early, but again, I hope Ellerie grows up knowing she can find "her thing" whatever that is and go for it.
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
To try all the things. Experiment. Work really hard. Focus on YOU not others and push through.
What advice would you offer the mom who feels drained by the demands of motherhood and wants more hands-on creativity in her life?
Get time to yourself. No matter what you've gotta do... trade with another mama, stick the kid in a stroller and go for a long walk with a podcast, beg family to come help for a weekend. SOMETHING. Even if you just sit and stare into space for that time, it's worth it. I was overwhelmed so much in the beginning because I wasn't giving myself that time to just be me. I missed it so much without even realizing it. You are important. You deserve that time. Your creative muscles will snap back to life when you start scheduling moments for you.
Thank you so much, Elise, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Elise in the following places: