Welcome to Week 42 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.
"Get rid of the distractions in your life that make you feel like you don’t have time. Cable TV and social media are huge distractions, limit them and instead choose to spend an hour being creative."
Kate Riley is an attorney-turned-design blogger who has an incredible eye for style and loves to share it with her readers on her DIY website Centsational Girl. Her projects are budget-friendly, yet fresh and fabulous - the Project Gallery on her site is chock full of furniture makeovers, crafts and more - there is so much inspiration!
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Kate – can you please describe your family?
My family consists of my stepdaughter, age 23, my daughter, age 11, and my son, age 9.
What is your business?
I am a design blogger and home renovator.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
Playing outside with my brothers and reading in a nook my mom created for me in the living room, I was very shy and loved to read for hours.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
My brother was an artist, I always admired him, I loved imaginative play, but never fancied myself an artist as a child.
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?
I never thought about motherhood as a young girl, I only thought about having a career, I was driven to get my degree. I knew having an education was so important, my parents didn’t have one and we struggled financially.
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 never made time for creative pursuits until after I became a mother, my education is in the law, I practiced for several years then gave it up to be a blogger who talks about home improvement and interior design, something I always loved but never imagined I’d make a living at it!
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
I always loved architecture, design, decorating but never thought about going to school for it, I thought of it more as a hobby. I went to law school instead, I was a great lawyer but not as passionate about it as I am design. Now art and design occupy my mind constantly, it’s the internet that allowed that to happen.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
I work when my kids are at school, it’s really hard to do when you have an infant or toddler, but I have pockets of time (between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.) when they’re away from home and that’s when I get my work done. The afternoons are dedicated to their activities, homework, and family time.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
It’s made me more sensitive to other’s needs, but it’s also taught me to say “no” a lot – which opens up time to focus on the things that mean the most.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work products?
I have a more playful attitude, I think spaces must be livable not fancy.
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
Since I enjoy my time with them, I’ve pulled back from social media and said “no” to lucrative opportunities, I can’t get that time with them back, and I see my career as long, they’ll be plenty of time for pursuing a book deal or product line down the road, right now my priority is making sure my children are healthy, intelligent, compassionate, human beings before they fly from my nest.
How do you think your creative pursuits, including your business, affect your children? Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
They see me embracing my creativity and taking time for myself, I hope it inspires them!
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
To pursue your passions and not just work a job to make money, I truly believe you must love what you do!
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 rid of the distractions in your life that make you feel like you don’t have time. Cable TV and social media are huge distractions, limit them and instead choose to spend an hour being creative.
Thank you so much, Kate, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Kate in the following places: