age: 40+ (one gets squirrely after a couple of the 40 something birthdays!)
current city: Memphis
living situation: I live with my husband, Rich, and my sons, Porter (six) and Forrest (two).
occupation: I am a free lance graphic designer.
how do you structure your time and space: Porter is in kindergarten five full days a week from eight a.m. until three p.m. We love the convenience of his school’s proximity to our home (about a half mile). We often bike, walk, stroll, run or scooter to take him there. It’s a great way to sneak in some exercise, go green, and have fun! Forrest goes to a Parent’s Day Out program two days a week at the school’s nursery as well. This is the time I try to get EVERYTHING done! My running, house-cleaning, working, painting, crafting, shopping, and anything else I can squeeze in before 2:30. On the days when Forrest is with me, (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) we take mid-morning trips to the gym, where there is childcare. I call it a win-win since he loves going there, and I get to work out! Afterwards, we will run a few short errands or hit the playground before lunch/nap. Luckily Forrest naps pretty well most days, so often I am gifted two hours of quiet time. Again, more time to work, clean, paint, create, or even catch a quick nap myself. Fortunately, we have an additional bedroom in our home that is designated as my office. Just recently I brought in an art table so I can squeeze in a few moments of painting or crafting when I can. At 3:00, Forrest is up, and we are ready to get big brother. For the remainder of the day, we play outside, on a playground, at a friend’s house, or at home. An admittedly lazy cook, I will throw together something palatable for dinner around 5:30 and await that “Daddy’s home!” moment. Lastly, after the kids’ 8:30 bedtime, I can be found in my office finishing up anything that didn’t get attention during the day.
using the metaphor of seasons to describe the phases of women’s lives,
-what are the particular challenges and highlights of your current season? It’s no surprise that I am short on “self time” right now. I have two days a week to get “things done” and that’s not really “self time”. The naps Forrest takes are not guaranteed, and if he misses PDO because he’s sick, all the breaks I have orchestrated go out the window! Rich will offer that he doesn’t have a lot of self time either, but for Moms, it’s different. We are emotionally giving every day, and our basic needs are placed on the back burner constantly. No corporate job requires that! The highlight is that Forrest is with me, and not someone else. We have been committed to having one parent (me!) be at home with boys until they attend school. I love life too much to miss out on being there for them at this young age, and I think it’s important that children have a solid foundation of home and stability.
-What season(s) preceded this one? Rich and I were married twelve and a half years before we had Porter, and we consider this current time in our lives “doing the kid thing”! Prior to this, I always worked in professional areas and made a good income. I had plenty of personal time and spontaneity. We traveled all around the country for fun regularly, and I was pretty much self absorbed. Looking back, it seems so funny to go for so long being concerned with only yourself and your stuff! How could I stand it?!
-what season(s) might your future hold? A seasonal change will come once Forrest is in school. I love graphic design and would like to have more time to do it, but I would also like to paint (a personal goal!) and make some money at that. I also like making things and am pretty creative, so I’d like to think that perhaps with more personal time I might stumble upon some projects that would require those strengths and interests of mine.
favorite family activities: Rich and I were both competitive runners before the kids, and we have been athletes our whole lives. We love to run with the kids while they stroll or ride, and sometimes Porter, Rich, and I take short runs together. Anything physical for us is great! Baseball, football, frisbee, going for walks, riding bikes, swimming, it’s all good! Almost every weekend there’s a 5k race in Memphis. Lots of them have things for kids: moon bounces, slides, treats, et cetera. They are a lot of fun! We don’t go every weekend, but we do make it to some.
favorite solo activities: My favorite things to do alone are thrifting, making something, running, and reading creative blogs on my laptop.
source(s) of inspiration: I love reading the plethora of creative blogs out there on the web. I love to see how people from other parts of the world live. I also get a lot of inspiration from running. Just by being outside experiencing the day, I can see something beautiful or have a cool idea pop into my head. I am very visual. I get inspired by all the things I see around me.
best MakeShift moment: When it comes to checking errands off my list, if I can run there and push Forrest, I do. I am always sneaking in some exercise while I am dropping off a movie, taking clothes to the dry cleaner, et cetera.
check out mary-ellen’s design shop on the web: http://www.winkinggirldesigns.com/