Welcome to Week 12 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.
"I didn't have the motivation, the creativity or the wisdom to run a business until after I became a mother."
I have had the pleasure of watching Shawn Fink create and build her Abundant Mama Project over the past few years. Her whole business focus is to give women the tools they need to live a more meaningful (and less busy) life. She knows that you can't eliminate all the crazy from your life, but you learn to enjoy your busy life a whole lot more. I'm so pleased to have her take part in my Motherhood by Design series.
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Shawn - can you please describe your family?
I am a mother of inspiring twin girls, age 9.
What is your business?
I am a family and motherhood wellness coach and founder of The Abundant Mama Project.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
Outside. Outside. Outside. Running free in the woods and creeks. It was beautiful.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
Yes, I did a lot of beading and jewelry making and it's something I draw on now -- as well as show my daughters how to do.
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 don't think my visions were clear. I actually thought I might adopt. However, twins were something I definitely envisioned, which I'm only right now remembering. Thanks for that memory jog.
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?
When my girls were 10 months old, I quit working full-time and stayed home and started pursuing my writing seriously immediately. Within a few months, I was writing for magazines. I worked when they napped.
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
After. I didn't have the motivation, the creativity or the wisdom to run a business until after I became a mother.
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
My career has always been in writing and communications. Being a mother just added to that. When I was a child, though, I talked for hours on cassette recorders in my grandmother's back bedroom -- much like what a podcast is now.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
My children inspire me daily. Now that they are older, I have more time to do my creative work. I include them in some of my projects now and they are eager to start their own blog soon.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
It's hard. When my children are having an off day, I feel it immensely in my work. So, I try really hard to take good care of myself, get up early to take care of me and keep a very tight set of systems in place so I always have a goal to reach when I have time to sit down and work.
In what ways does motherhood affect your creative products?
My whole business is built around motherhood -- so it inspires everything!
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
If they hadn't come into my life, I wouldn't have this business. Period. They are the inspiration behind The Abundant Mama Project.
How do you think your creative pursuits, including your business, affect your children?
They love seeing themselves on Pinterest. They are definitely seeing how to become creatively free in their own life by using their creativity to make and sell things. I love that.
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
I hope they learn that they can use their talents to do anything they want, wherever they want so they can always feel free -- and open to all experiences.
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 up early and work on YOU before anyone else wakes up. I offer a 10-Day Challenge on this very thing called The Rise & Shine Challenge.
Thank you so much, Shawn, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Shawn in the following places: