A new year always brings about thoughts of change, of "bettering oneself". I was reflecting on the past year and I must say, I was pretty dang proud of myself! My husband started a company which made money extremely tight. For months we went without a paycheck and I was able to keep us afloat by selling my art until his company got more established and they wrote the first check to themselves. On top of that, my sales on all my prints nearly doubled and I picked up some great corporate clients! It was a good year in terms of "success" and growth. But, as I do at the end of every year, I asked myself, what next? What is my next impossible goal? I truly have enjoyed painting flora and people's pets but is that what I am doing for the rest of my life? What is my role in helping the greater good? What is really making my fulfilled? Why do I even create art?
All these questions brought me to a place of asking myself who am I? I think back on a post I wrote last year that said:
"I am not the kind of person who is 100% mom 100% of the time. My identity is not my children and I don't spend all my energy on them. I am working on balancing quality time with my little ones while spending time doing what makes me thrive and come alive, painting. Don't get me wrong, my babies are my world and always come first but I refuse to give up my passions in this season. I think it's important for them to see their mama working hard at something she is good at. "
This concept is engrained in my brain. My children are not my identity. So what do I do with that? I was sitting down with my sister, Merrill, talking about all of this and she too felt the same way. She felt the guilt that mothers feel when you want to go after other aspirations and feel bad when the idea of playing with blocks sounds like a chore, like when all you want to do learn is something new, but you have a crying child pulling on your leg. And you know the best thing to do is stop and give that sweet, snotty babe all your love and attention, but your heart yearns for a moment to yourself. We can't be the only ones who feel this way! And that is when ampersand mother was born.
Coming up with a name
The name ampersand mother didn't come as quickly as you might think. We went through so many rounds of name ideas, some of them were absolutely horrible. My husband and I brought the kiddos over to Merrill's house and let the kids play while we hashed out names. At one point, all four babies were running around the adults who were snuggled on the couch in the living room talking through ideas. Man, I love supportive husbands! We wanted a name that represented the idea about how we are moms but we are also so much more. Mom+., Alsomom, Motheralso, etc... and finally we came to ampersand mother (in case you didn't know, this is an ampersand: &). I am a mother AND an artist. We are mothers AND a women who care about nutrient and healthy living. Merrill is a mother AND a pursuing becoming a nurse. And the list goes on.
Future of Ampersand Mother
We want Ampersand Mother to grow into a place where women can share their stories, the good, bad, and ugly. We definitely plan on sharing ours! A place where talking about nasty postpartum depression is ok or how lonely being at home with young children really is. We want to encourage women to go after dreams while still being stellar parents. We hope to have posts and resources to guide mothers towards their goals.
I plan to create beautiful artwork throughout this journey that illustrates this season of life. I hope to collaborate with other incredibly talented mothers as well. I want to share the stories of woman who are on the same journey of balancing passions and children. There is so much to learn from those who are a few steps ahead! I am keeping all of this open to leave room for however it may choose to grow!
This is all so near and dear to my heart and I am so excited that you have joined me on this journey.