How do I do it all? That is one of the most often asked questions I get. It is usually followed by “So you are still doing Design work even though you are a business consultant, teacher and speaker now?”
The answers are 1) I don’t do it all and 2) YES! I am STILL a designer. Not only an interior designer but now a product designer.
Last month at the Designer Bloggers Conference, It was interesting to hear Nate Berkus say that he is also inundated with the question “So, do you still do Design Work?” Yes everyone, Nate and I are both still designers.
But of course, neither Nate or I can do it all. No one can. Accomplishing all I do in life takes a lot of help. It’s no secret that I surround myself with an amazing team, I happen to have a crazy supportive family and a fabulous teen-aged young woman to help me with my daughter each week. It literally takes 6 stellar employees, an amazing accountant, my husband, my mom, my dad, my housekeeper, my teen-aged sitter, my aunt who helps me with my all important errands and laundry and anything else I need help with, my business consultant, several companies we outsource business tasks to, and I still don’t accomplish all I set out to each day.
And then there are the top-notch companies I am partnering with to design products, and create online content who have amazing teams that are an extension of me and my team. And let me not forget a hand-full of dedicated and loving friends who pick up my child in a pinch, or let me drop her off on a snow day as I am jetting out of town, or let her spend the night when my plane is late and my husband is out of town too and those who let me bring her with me and stay for a night or a weekend. Which by the way my daughter thinks is the best thing since sliced bread. A trip with mom or a sleepover on a school night, are you kidding!?!?
But at the end of the day, I love my life. It is never boring. And though I don’t do it all, I do a LOT! You may have noticed that my blogging has been sporadic for a few weeks, well that’s because I was designing 2 product lines, and putting finishing touches on a third. I was designing the showroom at High Point Market where my new products will soon debut. I was designing many fabulous homes that I have the privilege to be working on at the moment. And I was spending important time with the people I love. So there is always some part of my lofty list of to do’s that doesn’t make the cut in my 24 hours each day and lately that was my blog.
But in the midst of it all, there is always fun. There is always down-time. Or at least my version of down-time. There were the 3 snow days spent at home earlier this month, working from my bed in my Pj’s cuddled with my 10 year old and my lap top and her lap top and my pup Izzy. And maybe you’ve seen all those yummy meals posted on Instagram that I’ve cooked and treats I’ve baked for my family and my friends.
Last week was a fun trip across North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia for Spring Break with my mom, daughter and niece. We made a fun visit to see my furniture line prototypes and had a yummy Macaroon tasting for treats we are serving at market all color-coordinated to my designs for CR Laine. That was followed by 4 fabulously relaxing days hiking, and biking, and playing Corn Hole and Bocce Ball and roasting marshmallows by the fire and breathing in fresh mountain air (Aaaahhhhhh!) at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and the Barnsley Resort in Georgia .
I’m a “Creative” or probably more accurately a Creator. I create. It’s what I do. It’s not by choice. It’s innate. It’s genetic. I have a drive to “Do”. And I don’t know how not to. I can’t turn it off. It’s not optional. In the same way I need oxygen, I need to “Do”. It is my lifeblood.
I recently saw this very interesting article about people just like me. You can read the Creativity article here. But these are a few of my favorite excerpts…
“No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.”
“Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time.”
Wow, it’s like I have finally found an understanding of who I am. The article even goes on to say that our saying “No” to other things in order to create makes other people think we are “aloof, boring, impolite, unfriendly, selfish, anti-social, uncaring, lonely and an arsenal of other insults. But “no” is the button that keeps us on.” Yes, often saying No to things that seem fun and frivolous to others in lieu of creating is what fills my deepest needs.
Many weeks of my life someone tells me “Don’t work your life away, slow down and enjoy your life and your family because it will all be gone before you know it.” But what I want to respond is this. I AM enjoying my life AND my family. Creating makes me enjoy my life and my family every day. In fact, I think I squeeze more life out of life WITH my family by my side than many people who think about “one day” what they will do with their life. My daughter is happy and well adjusted and a whole lot like her mom–a lover of travel and a girl who follows her heart!
Why is it that keeping a busy schedule and working seem mutually exclusive from enjoying life and family? Why is it that enjoying family in peoples’ minds means being at home every moment and available just in case something my family needs may come up. I haven’t missed a single elementary school homeroom party 4 times a year for the last 7 years. I spend many a weekend cuddled with my daughter watching movies, or baking together or walking on a gorgeous day in our neighborhood with our pup and picking daffodils. I spend 6-8 weekends each fall going to College Football games with my family, my parents and my brother and his family. And those weekends are all about cooking and sitting fireside and laughing and telling stories about our childhood and lots and lots of football.
I take a two-week beach vacation with family and friends each year and I take about 3-4 more vacations with family throughout the year. My mom and I go on about 8-10 fun trips together every year and yes they may be for work but for the 2 of us that is SO much fun. Designing Fabrics in New York and filling in the days with shopping and fabulous restaurants–seriously, what mom-daughter duo wouldn’t love that? And for me to be able to make so many special memories with my mom while she and I are both young and healthy is the best. So for me it’s not about just being with family, but the quality of the time we spend together and my family and I are making AMAZING memories every week of our lives!
So how do I do it all? I don’t. But I do squeeze the life out of my life. I make most every moment count, even if that means a conscious decision to lay on the beach and read a book or to open an expensive bottle of wine on a weekday with dinner and eat on the good china. I choose to go after my dreams. I do not have FOMO…Fear of missing out. I decide what’s important to me and I make that happen. I follow my heart. I show my daughter that being happy is our own responsibility. And that means different choices for every person. Some people are meant to be Stay at home Mom’s or Dad’s. And thank goodness for those people. Some people are meant to work and travel out of the home and thank goodness for them too. Some people are meant to be moms AND designers AND consultants at the same time.
But the most important thing is to live your life to your version of the fullest and I do that very thing every day. I am not missing out on the important stuff. I am grabbing the important stuff by the horns and riding them into the sunset every week of my life.
I am a mom, a creator, an interior designer, a writer, a cook, a baker, a coach, a consultant, a product designer, a teacher. And I am happy. I have joy.
Happy Saturday Friends! xo,