Welcome to Week 39 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.
"First of all, don’t force things that don’t feel right. If you’re feeling pressure to pursue creative endeavors but in your heart, you know you need to be 100% mom right now, then be 100% mom. It’s more important to be healthy and sane and the best version of yourself for your family than it is to pursue something that could potentially get in the way of a happy life at home."
It's hard to imagine someone who is more prominent than Becky Higgins in the world of scrapbooking - her name is synonymous with fresh, beautiful, and inspiring scrapbooking that's also absolutely doable (because isn't that the most important part?!?). Becky knows first-hand the feeling of juggling work, creative projects, and the demands of raising a family, and that's what drove her to start her Project Life system, dedicated to documenting your story while still living your life. And her latest exciting development is a Project Life app, putting memory keeping in the palm of your hand. I'm honored to have such an industry leader and innovator take part in this series!
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Becky– can you please describe your family?
My family is my husband and 3 kids! David and I have been married for 20 years and counting, and we have 3 children —Porter (12), Claire (10), and Crew (7). And then there’s the beloved pup Oreo.
What is your business?
Becky Higgins LLC. We created the Project Life® system of scrapbooking, including the year-old Project Life app! Everything we do is to help others cultivate a good life and record it. I believe deeply that scrapbooking does not have to be complicated and I’m doing everything I can to help simplify the process for those interested in memory-keeping without all the fuss.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
I loved to doodle and create and craft just as much as I enjoyed organizing my space, my personal and family histories and my calendar. I loved playing “teacher”with anyone that was willing to be my student and thrived in organizing little clubs with my friends. I also taught myself sign language.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
I don’t ever remember a time where I didn’t love to create in some way, so yes —that was always an integral part of my life. Additionally, my mother and grandmother were always both handcraft artists in their own ways (sewing, crochet, needlepoint, etc.) so I have always valued creating things with my hands.
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?
Becoming a mother was absolutely my number one goal in life. I always imagined what I would be like as a mom and took plenty of mental notes on what I would do and not due based on every maternal example in my 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?
My creative work has never been put to the side. I had the unique situation of creating a career in scrapbooking from an early age, before children came along. I had a job that allowed me to work full-time at home. My role as creative editor, author, designer, and teacher with Creating Keepsakes scrapbook magazine provided me with the opportunity to push the creative envelope on a regular basis.
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
I worked for Creating Keepsakes for 12 years and it was in the middle of that stage of life that I became a mother. When our children were 1, 4, and 7 I started my own company with the support of my husband and…the rest is history!
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
In retrospect, there were definitely signs that pointed to me starting my own creative business one day, although I would have never guessed it at the time. What really prompted me to make that pivotal decision when I did, was my own frustrations and needs as a scrapbooker. I was feeling like so many do: overwhelmed by it all. Even though scrapbooking runs through my veins and I’ve been doing it most of my life, I started feeling like there was so much to the process that was complicated and unnecessarily time-consuming. So I came up with a solution for myself (Project Life) —and apparently it was helpful to countless others with the same desires.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
I have learned through trial and error (lots and lots of error) and what works best for me is having more clearly defined boundaries. When it’s work time, it’s work time. And family time is family time. The pressure I put on myself (for too many years) to multi-task never benefits anyone.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
Motherhood is my most important role, alongside being a wife so having a family affects my work process in that I am constantly grounded in what is most important because of these people that I love more than anyone or anything, including my creative work. Also, wearing multiple hats has forced me —in the best possible way —to be a much better manager of my time…because you have to be in order to raise a family and work.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work products?
Because I’m a working mom, I relate to most of my customers so I am my own demographic, which means I continue to produce products and share ideas that really connect with our audience. It’s not hard to think about what solutions I need in life, so that translates to everything we do, from products to videos to blog posts and social media content.
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
My children won’t remember the years before we started a business and that’s kind of a crazy and special thought! Their role in our story is this: Underlined in everything I do, every ounce of effort I put into this company and our message and our products…they are at the heart of everything that is important to me. I try to live my life and run my business and conduct myself everyday in a manner that will be inspiring to them. This is my legacy, and knowing that I have posterity to leave my legacy with, is central to everything I do.
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?
I think and hope that our children learn how important it is to have balance in life. Being a wife and mother is amazing and important, and the most fulfilling thing in life…and I feel like I’m better with my family, and as an individual, because I have other roles and outlets and interests to keep me balanced.
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
I hope they learn, more than anything, that they can are capable of anything. Chasing dreams and working hard toward goals and sharing your talents to help others is part of why we have this earthly journey. My husband and I have shared with our kids some of the struggles that come with running a business —not to scare them out of doing it, but to teach them how to get through those challenges with your head held high and your faith firm as ever.
What advice would you offer the mom who feels drained by the demands of motherhood and wants more hands-on creativity in her life?
First of all, don’t force things that don’t feel right. If you’re feeling pressure to pursue creative endeavors but in your heart, you know you need to be 100% mom right now, then be 100% mom. It’s more important to be healthy and sane and the best version of yourself for your family than it is to pursue something that could potentially get in the way of a happy life at home. There’s a time and a season for everything. That said, if you know in your heart of hearts that this is your season to chase after a creative endeavor (that is certainly what happened in my life), by all means…go for it! Always keep your family first, and that will be a huge blessing and a grounding force for good.
Thank you so much, Becky, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Becky in the following places: