first name: Kathi
age: 38 (ouch!)
current city: Hermosa Beach, CA
living situation: I live with my husband, Sean, our four year old daughter, and our two year old son.
occupation: I am what Mary Allison calls “a part-time hybrid mother.” I work full time for my family and part time out in the world as a designer.
how do you structure your time and space? I see the balance challenge as two different ventures. There is the mental balance and the actual logistical balance. The two are intertwined of course, but it is easier to answer this question if I separate them.
The mental side of this equation is the hardest for me. When I am not with the kids physically, I think about them and want to be with them. When I am with the kids physically, I am thinking about what I will accomplish next time I have some “coverage.” It was this way when I worked 40+ hours per week and it is this way now that I work part time. I am not sure if it is innovative or creative, but I am a firm believer in my mommy natural cocktail to help with the mental balance and focus. A morning dosage of peppermint essential oil under the nose forces me to wake up and start the day with a deep breath, mid-morning and afternoon shots of the amino acid L-Theanine really keep my head above ground, and an evening serving of melatonin helps to get me to sleep early. This is a formula that really helps me along with a decent amount of protein and a dash or so of caffeine.
Regarding the logistical balance, until December of ‘09, I worked more than full time outside of the home as a marketing consultant. So for the first four years of motherhood, the balance was entirely different than it has been for the last six months. We now have a nanny who comes ten to eighteen hours per week, depending on my needs and deadlines. I use those hours now to work part-time as a designer and writer. For the last five months I have been working in my home office to design a line of children’s clothing. I blog about these design escapades and my journey of “owning my own motherhood” at www.semi-handmade.com .
The one approach that I use that could seem a little innovative, is that I try not to spend any time away from my kids (while using any sort of paid help) doing something that someone else could do just as well. I’ve had my nanny run one last errand, address envelopes, iron seams, cut patterns, et cetera while I take over with the kiddos.
using the metaphor of seasons to describe the phases of women’s lives,
-what are the particular challenges and highlights of your current season? The highlights of my current season are definitely the increased quantity and quality of hours I am able to spend with my kiddos. I am savoring the sweetness of this stage in our lives before the kids are both in school more. I am ever so grateful to be away from the corporate world for a while to enjoy being an integral part of the things they are learning and exploring, the questions they are asking, and the emotional intelligence they are building.
Challenges include staying focused and slowing down. After working in a fast-paced, demanding, and results-oriented career for so long, the new pace of my days can sometimes make my brain feel quite fuzzy. I have to try really hard to not measure the day’s success by what we have accomplished, what I can cross off my list, and how much closer we are toward our “quota.” It took me three months to stop the habit of checking my blackberry at 6:00 every morning and to stop looking for the meeting or client who “needed” me right away.
-What season(s) preceded this one? The first four years of motherhood (2006-2009) were a mixture of pure bliss and great turmoil; I definitely would call that winter. I vividly remember running through airports with bags of breast milk in hand, anxious to get home to see my kiddos before they went to sleep. Sometimes those airplanes were delayed. Sometimes those airplanes were ahead of schedule and I did indeed make it home before they shut their tired eyes. I also will probably always remember being on a business trip for my little guy’s first birthday. Sure we celebrated later that week, but missing the actual date was physically painful for me.
-What season(s) might your future hold? Literally and figuratively, I would call what lies ahead summer. I think the last time I had the summer off from a full time paying job was in 1986. While I do have a bit of work to do on my designs and writing, the next eight weeks of summer will include a lot of beach days and exploring around our tiny little seaside home and greater LA. I would love to call it an “endless summer” ahead for us, but I am not sure.
favorite family activities: The kids and I love to walk along the beach boardwalk, meeting as many dogs as we can and asking what the dogs’ names are. I am hoping that this summer, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking become a favorite family activities too, as I think this may be the summer of water for us.
favorite solo activities: I love any yoga class that is 65 minutes or less. Any longer than that drives me crazy. I also am enjoying a cardio core class at the gym right now, mainly because there is great music, it makes me sweat, the 55 minutes are a really good use of the time. I really enjoy sewing and knitting as well. I take a lot of photos and I enjoy that, and I am enjoying the results (not the actual process) of learning a bit more about Photoshop.
sources of inspiration: I do not have what fellow Mother of Invention, High Heeled Mom, calls an everything mentor .
When it comes to parenting, I am inspired by my daughter’s teachers at del sol, Janette and Cecilia. I am also inspired by quite a few of the parenting educators at the Center for Non-violent Education and Parenting.
When it comes to design, I am inspired by very random things. Right now I am completely fixated on this old wooden dilapidated bench I saw in the alley behind a Cajun restaurant near our house. I am not sure why but this bench, with its wood that is falling apart and beautifully bleached by the sun, is really sticking with me. It is terrific balance of modern and organic, this bench. Certain fabrics, such as Anna Maria Horners Little Folks Voiles also send me off and running with ideas.
I am also constantly inspired by contrasts. Contrasting colors, textures, lighting, moods…
My children and their friends inspire me in many ways. Their joy and honesty inspires me to find that within myself and tap into my own inner child.
best MakeShift moment: Juggling the corporate career and motherhood made for many MakeShift moments, mostly around breast pumps and conference calls, or breast pumps and public facilities.
Closer to home and more recently, I have had several MakeShift Moments as I balanced the needs of small people in our house with my desire to have a “designer” home, worthy of a “Coastal Living” center spread. A girl can have dreams, right, even if some are materialistic in nature? As function surpasses form these days, I pause, laugh, and try to remember that Martha Stewart’s Crosby-home-visit is not scheduled for some time yet.
When I took down the dining room table in order to make room for a play and art area that was closer to the kitchen, I conceded to the notion that I could have it all, just NOT all at the same time. It hit me that day that I was not going to be having sit down dinner parties while small children where in this house. While I carried the very heavy dining room table to the garage, I knew I was treading in the middle ground. This was the balance appropriate for our stage, and it did not include a dining room.
I had a similar MakeShift moment when we disassembled our bed frame and put our mattress right smack on the floor. This allowed me to stop using up valuable head space visualizing my monkeys jumping off the bed and needing stitches at the ER. A similar MakeShift moment that involved function over form took place just last weekend, when we butted a full-sized mattress right up to our California King-sized mattress. I have never seen that in Coastal Living magazine spreads, have you? But this is our balance. This is who we are — the Crosby Family — as we shift and “re” volve.
check out kathi’s blog at http://www.semi-handmade.com/.