Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I guess its safe to say that I've been going through a bit of an identity crises the past little while. I was hesitant on whether or not to say anything, but at the end of this month my lease is up at my little studio space. I had decided to give it up months ago, never realising that it would mean so much to me when the time came. I suppose that if I really wanted to, I could keep the space, but it would be simply silly to do so as I really don't need it now that I'm a full-time mom.

And I really really want to be a full-time mom more than anything, even more than having my little lovelydesign company. Even though my little lovelydesign is like my first baby - it is what I poured all my dreams and love into. And it became who I am.

I've been hearing a little clock ticking as these things have been bobbing around in my head for the past few weeks and I'm scared. The truth is, that without my lovelydesign I kind of don't know who I am anymore. I get this anxiety that people won't be interested in me if I don't have it anymore. Which is the real reason that I keep making a few things here or there - even though I'm so incredibly busy with everything else. Of course, I also get a lot of joy from creating and making things for wonderful people, and it's also nice to have a little bit of pocket money that I've earned myself. But for the most part I still do this because I am scared of losing all of who I was.

But I'm tired. I feel really overwhelmed and lately I've been feeling uneasy that in my distractions I haven't been the mama that I really want to be..

This thing - motherhood - is a crazy thing. It has twisted me inside out and back again with hopes and fears and the most intense crazy love I will ever experience.

When I was a little girl I looked up at my mama like she was the wisest, strongest soul on earth - I never doubted her. Now I wonder if Addie will look up at me this way - never suspecting that I feel lost and confused sometimes? And I wonder if all mamas feel lost sometimes, too?

To our little ones, we are simply mamas. And it is a truly marvelous thing to be - even though so many people just don't seem to think so! I just want... to be able to evolve into the next part of my life more gracefully, and to be able to find the right combination of me and mama.


meladoriem said...

what a poignant post, sharilyn. from all your previous posts, i can tell you are a fantastic mama. your daughter and family is so lucky. i'm not a mama yet, i'm almost going to be a wife, and already there is so much thought going into how this will change me. i see it all as something wonderful. we're human and full of gifts and faults, but that's what makes us so special. i love my parents and still think that they are gods and heroes despite any faults-- in fact, i admire them more for that. they have raised me well and i am forever grateful. your daughter will be too. i know you will find the perfect me & mama!

Kelly said...

thank you for sharing this. motherhood is a VERY crazy thing. I think parenthood is the great divider - it changes you, but only for the (oh so) better. I think finding a balance that feels right to you is the key. keep following your heart - it knows the way :)

erin said...

all mothers feel lost at times, but the good ones never let their children know. the really good ones let their adult daughters know that they shouldn't worry, because they too felt lost sometimes.

you are defined by far loftier and important things now than lovelydesign. but just because you're giving up the lease on your studio, doesn't mean you're giving up on lovelydesign. just because you take a year or so away, doesn't mean it won't be there again for you if you ever want it. in the meantime there's no sense worrying about it, because your priorities are already set and you should feel good about that.

Anonymous said...

i think what you're feeling is something all mothers struggle with. you'll always be you and who you are determines what kind of a mother you'll be. you're a mother who plays, helps and makes and teaches. the business might end for now, but that's just now. it might go underground and re-emerge. it's hard to let go and i'll miss seeing your great stuff, but now you have made the greatest thing ever...your baby! You'll get back into the business when you're ready...i don't think you'll be out for long, to tell you the truth
Erin Shaw

lori said...

sharilyn, i know just what you are going through, having been there myself. motherhood is so incredibly, deeply *absorbing*. you want to give yourself to it entirely. but then, you don't want to lose yourself entirely.

i don't think spending time keeping that part of yourself alive takes anything away from your children. on the contrary, i think it inspires them and makes them proud.

it may be time to let go of lovelydesign, but that doesn't make it any less of a fantastic accomplishment. you just need to know that there are other amazing things waiting for you ahead. the most amazing of all may be mothering your children, but there are other wondrous things too.

i don't hide from the boys my desire to work, my pride in my accomplishments, my interest in new things. that is all wrapped up in our life together, what we do, what we talk about, our dreams for ourselves and each other.

i don't hide my frustrations, either. i don't think that makes me a bad mother; in fact, i think it makes me a better one. they know that real life is bumpy and sometimes you feel lost, but you can find your way, and it will be good again if you keep working at it.

when they are babies, it is the most amazing thing ever, and i can't think of anything better than immersing yourself in that time of life. eventually they will start to grow and do more, and your life will open back up again, like a ship traveling through a narrows into a beautiful open sea.

this was a beautiful post, and you don't have to worry that i will ever find you less interesting, no matter what path you choose! :^)


Riverlark said...

I'm not a mama, but I've always thought that raising a child has to be the *most* creative thing anyone (man or woman) has ever done. All the rest comes second. Keep your blog and let us know when there are new lovely products...at your own time and your own pace.
Thanks for all the inspiration you've provided!

Julie said...

I can't even imagine what growth you have been going through since becoming a mom. But growth is to be expected, and now you're this mix of who you were and who you are trying to figure out who you can be.

I'm sure if you give yourself time, you'll find some sort of balance or way for the two to exist together in a way that will make you happy. And I think if you're happy, you'll be the best at what you do, including being a mom. Adelaide will learn from the fact that you lived and enjoyed your life, and she'll know how to do the same.

elly said...

i could say so much about this post in agreement, but mostly i just want to say that when i saw the most recent set of pictures you uploaded to flickr, i instantly though, "that baby is loved." you can just tell by her happy, calm face. good job with her. it's refreshing (and kind of rare) to see a mom who loves her job.

Rachel said...

being a mother is hard
I think you need to do what you know is right in your heart... but if there is doubt really think about where that doubt is coming from.

I'm just speaking from experience.
My mother loves me and my siblings so much... so much so that she left everything behind when she raised us. And she was always there... or she tried to be. But she left everything behind because she thought that was what her heart should want... that all the love she had for us... that deep undefinable ache of love meant that there was room for nothing else. So she became a mother and left time for nothing else.

When we were young and we needed her all the time she was amazing... but when our independence grew she felt lost. Her doubt, her sadness happened slowly... maybe some of it was society not seeing motherhood as real job and people not respecting her work...people didn't understand how she could abandon all that talent, what people didn't realize is that her talent became the quilts on our beds.... the photos on our walls... the hand-made coloring books.... the knitted socks... the pillows on the couch of my first real apartment...

My mom is amazing and I don't know what could be different to fix her sadness.... maybe it is generational... maybe now there is more respect for this work... maybe my mom just needed to be confident in her choice... But I think she left a little too much behind... that at the end of the day she made caring for us the only thing that fed her. At night when my dad is home she is happy, during the holidays when we all gather she is fine. But most of the time there is this empty house... I know she hurts. I'm not saying she needed to keep a job... but she needed to make sure and take time a keep friends and make new ones... to build a community of people.

Find a balance.
This balance will be easier when she is older... don't leave so much behind now that you can't find a balance later.

I'm just saying this because I know you love your daughter... I can tell.

shael said...

Your daughter is a doll :0)

I think all first time moms must go through a grieving period for the loss of the person they were before having their lives changed forever.
My daughter is almost 2 and I am still feeling like a part of me is missing. Also a full-time mom and trying to juggle a small design business just to maintain a little sanity and have something that is my own. Feel some comfort in knowing that you aren't missing out on your baby's firsts and the time will come when things will get a little easier.

I will also be selling at the craft fair this weekend - I saw your comment on Ella's photo today - maybe see you there!

cindy k said...

it sounds like you're putting an awful lot of pressure on yourself. taking a break from lovely design could just be that ... a break. a decision now doesn't mean you can't change it down the road.

you might find that a little time off will lighten your load so to speak and you'll feel free and re-inspired to make something new, or not.

i think everyone feels shaky at times and for some reason we try to hide it. i'm not sure why if we all go through it from time to time.

Molly Irwin said...

give yourself time. Enjoy just being. Being with your baby. Your husband. Slow things down. A newer you will emerge in your own time. One that will surprise and delight you. One that perhaps you cannot imagine yet. But she's there, just on the other side of time.

- Molly

Di said...

This is a lovely post for me to find on my first visit to your blog! Thank you for sharing!!

alexandra said...

It's wonderful that you are recognizing this so early on AND talking about how you feel. I think what you're feeling is pretty universal - most of us moms have experienced (and sometimes still experience) what you are going through.
I had premature twins with lots of extra needs and not a lot of help - it became all-encompassing. I wanted to take excellent care of them - that was my priority - but I found myself feeling lost as a person. I felt self-conscious... what did I have to offer anyone else? What did I have to talk about? On top of it I was exhausted. My 'friends' even joked about me not having a life - my big outing was walking down the street to our mail-box. But eventually I began to realize two things - this life was my life and I had to try to embrace it AND somewhere in there I had to take time for myself even if it was just a nice bath... anything that made me feel a little more whole again (sometimes that means asking for help from your husband, friend, mom etc. etc.).
Being a Mom is surprisingly challenging. I think it's natural to go along and then adjust your thinking or your daily life along the way as your baby's and your needs change. Be patient with yourself - you don't have to be perfect - just be you and your own version of the kind of 'mama' that works best for your little family.

Lisa said...

I recently found your blog and can relate so much to what you are experiencing. When I had my daughter I had a greeting card line. When I think back I don't know how I did it those first few weeks, filling orders with a new baby!

In the end, though it was hard to let go, I decided to take a few years to be with my kids. It was a hard decision, but it was right for me at the time.

I have two kids now, both in school, and have moved back into the creative business world again.

I enjoyed reading so many
beautiful and inspiring comments...

ina said...

dear sharilyn,

thank you for posting this. and thank you for being my friend and paving the way in so many aspects. we are also thinking of little ones and i have a lot of fear and hope. you are inspirational and i know that this will come through in your mothering, too. love you and miss you and want to meet addie so badly.


momo said...

i can so feel what you're saying...my baby is almost 4 months old now, and i so envy you that you can be a full-time mom!!

i go back to work in the office after my maternity leave, but it's so difficult!! i often feel like i want to cry (and tears do come down) when i'm rushing home through the heavy traffic...i want to do so much more for my baby, be able to bath her daily and hug her while she naps...but here i am sitting in the office, working behind piles of files...=(

and lately i'm having this fire of passion burning inside of me...my creative juice is pouring over and i so need to "make" things, especially concentrate on my jewellery making...but it's so difficult and i am sooooo tired after i come home from work!! sometimes after the baby has gone to bed at night, i looked at my tools and beads and i simple have no strength to move a finger...plus unlike where you live (i used to live in vancouver), here in HK we live me small spaces...my tools and materials are packed in boxes and piled up in small cupboards...the idea of getting them out and putting them back threw me off my feet!! i simply could not be bothered at the end, and just go to bed myself...

the next morning, i wake up...fresh...happy to be playing with my baby...but still confused...and tired...

sorry about all these things i just wrote...but i just discovered your blog and flickr today and i think we are so alike!! my sister came to my office for lunch, and i showed her your photos of your baby...and she said our babies look alike!! =)

Kristy said...

Being a mum has been the both the best job and the worse job I have ever had.The most fulfilling and the most thankless.I hope that my girls grow to see how they are the most important thing in my life and everything else is just a bonus.This is our time and I am going to enjoy it all I can.In a few years it will be my time and I look forward to it with growing excitement too.

mia said...

wow. This made me think alot. I recently opened little shop of mine and these things you share was exactly what I was struggling about. I wanted to be a good mama(I have one year old daughter and second one is due in three months)but I still wanted something for my self. Am I too selfish?? your son is sooooo lucky to have you as a mom.

Megan said...

I love this post. I feel so frozen and at a stand-still in my work...I am having trouble hanging onto a pregnancy and I feel like that is the "job" I most want to be doing and nothing else is worth doing until I'm a Mom. I feel frozen in time while I wait...

Dianne Young Erwin said...

my feelings exactly, I just didn't know how to say it.... thank you for helping me to realize that I am not alone.