"Balancing breakdowns and breakthroughs.
I think if we push for normalcy we could miss the beauty of this time."
Lisa Kearns, @kearnsie_2000
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a surreal time to say the least. As a mother, step-mother, and for many years, a solo Mama, I was very interested in how other women were coping in lockdown. I asked some Mamas about their own experiences balancing motherhood in Lockdown with creativity/business, and the positive benefits of this time. I really related to each and every story. In these strange, uncertain times, it has been so grounding and comforting to connect to other women's experiences.
Lisa Kearns, Jewellery Designer & Maker,
Castlemaine, VIC, @kearnsie_2000
When ISO started I remember the excitement and possibility of having more time to make, as I had lost my day job. Then it dawned on me that the kids would be home too. I did lament how good it could have been for a week or so. In ISO I have found more time to make. There seems to be a resurgence in the appreciation for locally made and responsibly sourced products.I hope we can hold this post Corona.
This time has shown me my jewellery practise is valid.My business will grow as a result of ISO.
On motherhood, it has given me a chance to share my craft with my kids. I have had to learn to be flexible and make hay while the sun shines. Picking up my tools does seem to be a trigger for the word 'Mum', the kids have learnt to wait. As the weeks roll on we are settling in. Accepting that some days are productive and others are not. Balancing breakdowns and breakthroughs. I think if we push for normalcy we could miss the beauty of this time.
Jen Bray, Maker of Quirky Feminist Tees and Mugs,
Brisbane, QLD, @fussygus
On one hand I resent that once again it’s my job that takes a back seat to parenting. I started Iso with mounting panick, calling out to my husband as he left for work in the morning; “ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM!” Being a stay at home Mum fills me with dread. But then, on the other hand I’m wrapt at how adaptable we are (my children and I). I gave up sewing days and Gus gave up going to school, but we’ve all fallen into a pretty easy routine, fast. I sew in the evenings and on weekends now. Which should be annoying, but it’s been fine because there’s no where to go anyway. I’ve actually really embraced the time spent immersed in Gus’ learning. I’m proud of how willing to learn he is. I’m happy that we’ve had time to connect. I’ve been so impressed by his teachers and school and I’ve been selling more t-shirts than ever. So ISO turns out not to be so bad after all.
Leah Giblin of Daykeepers Cloth, Sydney
I definitely panicked in the first stages of lockdown imagining 18 months at home with 2 kids, trying to homeschool amongst the chaos. That fear was my first challenge and facing it has freed me in a lot of ways and resulted in me feeling more confident as a parent (although we haven’t focused much on home-schooling, more on survival and having as much fun as possible). Having no choice and no escape means we have had to address any issues that arise straight away. We’ve had to learn ways to cope that maybe we hadn’t been pushed far enough to discover before.
I found it hard to schedule time for my own creative work at first but also found that more than ever I needed the mental escape and stimulation that my work gives me. I’ve ended up carving out time in my studio that is non-negotiable and defending that time ferociously. It’s the way I always should have been!
The loss of all of my freelancing work has forced me to focus on my business. My creativity is exploding (maybe it’s escapism!?) and in a way I feel like life has simplified and cleared my head for effective planning and efficient creative work. There is so much I’m loving about the slow-down of life in lockdown. I’m hoping I can maintain some if it when the restrictions ease.
Emily Griffith of Lunaray Vintage
@lunarayvintage, Northern Rivers, NSW
Of course there are the practical challenges associated with having the kids home 24/7 and trying to work - all the interuptions, meals, snacks, activities etc. But for me, the biggest challenge has been keeping in check my own feelings of overwhelm while trying to help the kids adjust to the brutal change in their daily habits and rhythms. When you're knee deep in Lego and dinner its hard to get your business hustle on so staying motivated and goal focused has been key for me during this time.
The silver lining in our household has been creating a new rhythm - Surrendering to a slower, more simple pace. Being forced to live more sustainably and find joy in the simple things, and each other, has left us feeling happier and more content. So many of these changes we will integrate into our lives and move forward with.
Lizzie, Celebrating Vintage and Sustainability,
Ok so.. the challenges balancing motherhood with creativity/ business in isolation: even though I am no longer doing my part time job (working for an independent designer) in lockdown, I am way way busier! I feel there aren’t enough hours in a day, as I’m trying to entertain a very hyper toddler as well as doing homeschool with my stepson. That is a challenge in itself as Dita gets jealous when I do homeschooling with Jarvis, so I have to set her up with an activity, do the homeschooling and then just jump between the two throughout the day. Once we hit evening, I then get on with my housework, creativeprojects and Instagram , which takes me late into the evenings. A few times a week my husband, who is still working from home, gets the kids up in the morning so I can get a lie in, so we make it work! I do feel very tired but everything I do in the eve makes me feel good, so it’s worth it.
Positive benefits: I have so many actually! I have realised I love teaching!!! Homeschooling my stepson is a true joy (but he is a very good student, so he makes it easy!). I also love the time we’re all spending together. We are all more bonded. I have discovered some beautiful walks hear our home that is never explored before. I feel even more inspired by creativity.
Thank you so much to all my wondeful contributers;
- Lisa @kearnsie_2000
- Jen @fussygus
- Leah @daykeeperscloth
- Em @lunarayvintage
- Lizzie @vintage.glamour.mama