New Yorkisms

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Our Braid designer Kristin Tate recently moved from our home base in Oklahoma City to Brooklyn, New York. She’s still working for us full time but is pushing and experimenting with her design (and eavesdropping) skills on the side with the passion project of hers: New Yorkisms. Get the full story behind these posts over at Kristin’s blog here.

P.S. and off topic: Today is your last day to register for our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You before it starts on Friday. This ECourse is awesome for creative entrepreneurs, writers, photographers, bloggers, coaches, and consultants who are trying to get more concise about what they do and for who. As an And Kathleen reader you can take this course for $50 when you use the discount code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you register. Learn more and see if it’s a fit here. 

Enjoy Every Moment

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My phone alerted me the other day that I’ve almost used up all 16GB. Aside from the time I accidentally synced Beyonce’s new album (in which each song comes with a video) to my phone that has never happened before.

What changed? I had a baby and couldn’t stop taking photos of him. This is no surprise to you if you follow my Instagram account. But for every photo posted there there are hundreds more that are never shared. Taking photos of my baby has become almost a compulsion. And at times I annoy myself with the need to document rather than just living in the moment. But I realized, it’s not the photos themselves but the act of taking them that is proof to me that I am not taking this time for granted. The action of snapping a picture takes me out of the moment to recognize that I am in fact enjoying it. A catch-22 at it’s finest.

I may be late to the game but I only recently discovered PostalPix – an app that lets you order prints direct from your phone. Every time I go to clear images off my phone I simply upload a few to PostalPix for printing and a few days later have quality prints delivered to my door. As much as I love capturing and sharing online I like the sentiment that real prints offer – physical proof that we were here and that we loved big time.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post – if there is a phone-to-print service you like even better let me know! I’m really wanting a service that offers magnets made out of my Instagram snaps to cover my fridge with. 

Coaching for Creatives | Show Up With Intention

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How are you showing up for your clients?
If you’re racing from deadline to deadline you might be showing up frazzled, resentful, and spread thin. And it will show in your work and client relationships.

How are you showing up for your partner, your family, and your friends?
If you’re itching to check your email under the dinner table you might be showing up with scattered attention and only a part of your whole heart.

Try this – the next time you go into a client meeting take a minute beforehand to consider how you want to show up. Take some deep cleansing breaths and visualize how you can best help your client and what you want to accomplish. The next time you sit down to work on a project clear off your desk, close all your browser windows (and perhaps open a real window). Soak up the potential of a blank page and set an intention for how you want to feel while you do the work.

The next time you have dinner with a friend or a date out with your main squeeze try leaving your phone at home. Instead of falling back on conversations about what sucks, instead speak from the place that holds your dreams and desires.

This week try to consistently show up as your best self and share the gift of attention and intention – in work and life. I’ll join you. 

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If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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The Daycare Dilemma | Part 2

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This post is a follow-up to The Daycare Dilemma | Part 1, a series of emails between me and some amazing women about an honest look at the decision to send our babies to daycare.

Before Fox was born I was pretty sure that I’d be able to swing working from home – at least try it out for a few months – maybe until Fox was 8 months old. I imagined that I’d have a baby perfectly content to sleep in a sling while I worked. I even had this vision of us in the backyard on a quilt – me blogging while the baby keeps himself occupied trying to master getting his foot into his mouth.

So imagine my dilemma when 6 weeks in I was freaking out about how reality looked nothing like the fantasy. I only had two more weeks of maternity leave left and no plan for how I would work and be a new mom. Because the truth is being a mom is both harder and better than I could have ever imagined. When Fox is napping I just want to hold him and stare at his perfect little face. And when he’s not napping I’m feeding him, or walking laps around the house with him, or simply being present with him. All of this does very little for my productivity.

Let me be very clear here: I love my job and I was looking forward to going back to work. I also love being Fox’s mom. I thought I could do it all, and it turns out I can. It just looks a little different than I had imagined. It looks like getting help – and that help comes in the form of daycare.

Fox has been in daycare for 4 weeks now and here’s what I’ve learned and would like to share about the experience and coping with the concerns most moms have when handing over their baby to someone else’s care. Please remember that I’m new at this and figuring it out as I go. What I’m sharing below are parenting choices and circumstances that work for our family. What works for my family may not work for yours – and that’s okay!

Choose gratitude over guilt
This is the first big lesson I had to learn. There is this huge culture of guilt among moms – and while I get it, I’m also calling bullshit on it. I started to fall into the guilt storyline when I started taking Fox to daycare. That is until I realized daycare is awesome. I am so grateful that I have the means to take my child to a safe space everyday where he can be nurtured and taken care of by other women who are now a part of our trusted tribe. I am beyond grateful for the space daycare gives me to nurture myself with dedicated time to work, write, meditate, and move my body. Guilt is one of the lowest vibrating emotions you can experience – so I choose love and gratitude instead.

Co-sleeping
Sharing a bed with a baby is not for everyone – but it is what feels best and most intuitive for our family. Never once has it felt dangerous or uncomfortable. So, one of my concerns with daycare was not spending enough time with my baby. The idea that he would spend more waking hours with his daycare providers than with me made me worry that he would be confused or feel unloved (this fear is unfounded, whether or not you co-sleep). That said, co-sleeping does give us more time together – and when it comes to bonding with a newborn staying close is what matters most.

Daily rituals
If co-sleeping gives us quantity time together, then our daily rituals give us quality time. We spend an hour every morning cuddling in a wood rocking chair handed down from my mom. We spend every afternoon going for a long walk – only after decompressing with some skin-to-skin time after the daycare pickup. Then we’re usually guaranteed with a dance party once Jeremy comes home followed by the go-to-bed rituals of swaddling, walking, singing, and feeding. I know myself well enough to know that if I stayed at home with Fox all day I would still love these moments but I wouldn’t be soaking them up with the presence they deserve.

Fox is not my job, he’s my baby
The cliche that being a mom is the hardest job you can have is true. Or at least it’s true that being a mom is way harder than my job of coaching, business visioning, and branding for other creatives. I’m a great mom but I don’t want Fox to be my job. I want him to be my baby. I want writing, consulting, coaching, and designing to be my job. Daycare allows me to be really good at both my job and my role as mom and wife.

I’m learning new ways to care for my baby 
One of the things I love about daycare is I learn new ways to take care of Fox. For example, I noticed one of his teachers swaddled him with his legs sticking out of the swaddle – meanwhile, I had been struggling for days trying to get his whole (growing and kicking) body contained, which was frustrating the both of us. I learned how to swaddle him in a way that comforts him and gives him a bit of freedom to move at the same time. I also learn little noises (like clicking) that make him happy. It’s awesome.

More love for Fox 
Just today I picked up Fox and one of his favorite teachers was holding him. She told me about taking him on an adventure outside for 30 minutes earlier that day (at that point another teacher accused her of spoiling Fox). Another time she confessed to me that he was the happiest baby in the class. One time I surprise popped in to drop off some extra baby wipes for Fox and he was on his teacher’s lap being read to – and he seemed really happy. I get the feeling that he isn’t just properly cared for but he’s actually being loved by the women looking after him all day. It makes me hope that his daycare experience is expanding his capacity to trust, love, and be loved.

In closing, I get asked all the time – even in client meetings – “where’s the baby?” When I respond with “daycare” I am met with either “Awwww (that must be painful, huh?)” to “Good for you!” – and the truth is, it’s a little bit of both. Does it tug at my heart to drop Fox off or find him occasionally crying when I pick him up? Yes, of course. But does that make me want to give up my career to stay at home with him all day? No, not really. Being a mom is complex and often feels like a tug-of-war of emotions and decisions! Who knew (pretty much every mom ever).

Candid snaps by my amazing friend and photographer Greer Inez – she’s the best at capturing sweet family moments.

Circles Conference Giveaway!

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Have you been hearing the buzz about the Circles Conference for designers yet? Well, it’s THE conference for the creative community. Oh, and I’ll be speaking at it. So will Jessica Hische… no big deal. (For those of you who don’t know this is a really big deal. I’ve admired Jessica’s work for years and am so excited to finally meet her.)

I’m going to be sharing my behind-the-scenes journey from blogger to business owner, defining your niche, embracing your expertise, attracting your dream customer, blending your personal brand into your business, shaping the content you share and showing a process for what you do, so you can sell yourself better as a creative and act like a creative expert, not an order-taker. Which all boils down to not just designing great logos but designing your dream job.

The Circles Conference will be in Grapevine, Texas on September 18 and 19. And I’ve got two tickets to give away!

Enter to win a ticket to the Circles Conference:
• Follow Circles on Twitter or Facebook
• Leave a comment here telling me your biggest challenge as a creative.
• Be sure to leave a valid email address!
• Two winners will be picked by random from qualifying comments the morning of Wednesday, April 16th