Witching Hour

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We were in the car driving home from my parent’s house last Saturday. The evening before Fox had scream/cried for three hours straight and nothing we did could make it stop. Inconsolably is the word pediatricians use. Fox was crying bloody murder and as new parents we were freaked out. And for a week straight, like clockwork, Fox was inconsolable every evening starting at 6:30PM. Apparently this nightly meltdown is called The Witching Hour. The time of night when the ghouls come out and possess the bodies of sweet babies everywhere.

So, we’re driving home from my parents’ house during said Witching Hour last Saturday. Fox had been fussy all day but my mom busted out her grandma magic and kept him sleepy and content all. day. long. So, we head home just as the fuss began it’s crescendo. I thought the car may be our saving grace and out run the ghouls, sending our baby into a peaceful slumber. But no. Fox starts screaming. And then I start crying. And neither of us stop for the next hour. Now look, I know babies cry. I just didn’t know that it could feel like torture.

So what do you do when a baby won’t stop crying? You feed him, change his diaper, swaddle, shush, and swing him. You set him down. Then pick him up. You meditate. Then pray. Then you cry because eventually you lose your shit. Then you feel bad for crying because you’re supposed to be a graceful and patient warrior momma. Then you Google.

Google tells you to do all the things you’ve already done and it might tell you that your baby has colic… Which is a disease nobody seems to be able to define beyond “baby that cries a lot.” Google tells you not much can be done and that it only lasts for a few months. A few months!? But you’re supposed to be enjoying every moment.Which leaves you feeling even more hopeless.

So then you wipe away your tears and stare at yourself in the mirror for a minute. You pick your baby up and create a safe space in your arms for him to exorcise his gremlins in and you count your blessings that he’s alive in this world. Or at least that’s what I did.

If you’re a new parent Googling “Witching Hour Crying Baby How to Make It Stop” here’s what worked for me … but no guarantees:
• I called my mom: Grandma’s know a thing or two about raising a baby. They’ll swoop in and show you how it’s done with nothing but love and patience – both of which you may feel you’re running short on.
• I made a routine: For the first 5 weeks of Fox’s life we were winging everything as we figured out how to take care of a baby. There was little room for routine – all of our actions were reactions. But the Witching Hour called for a routine. Not for the baby as much as it was for ourselves. We were still trying to do our nightly business of cooking dinner, watching The Daily Show, and enjoying a night cap. As much as I want the baby to fit seamlessly into our lives as-is he’s got his own needs. The biggest one being sleep when he’s tired. So now at 6PM we dim the lights in our bedroom, change his diaper, feed him, swaddle him, and rock / bounce / shush / feed him while singing Iko Iko until he falls asleep. And it works. Sometimes it takes an hour. Sometimes it only takes 20 minutes. And then I have the rest of my evening with Jeremy to cook dinner, watch The Daily Show, and enjoy a night cap (which for me these days is a bottle of Kombucha).
• Radiate love: I remind myself that my baby is just trying to figure out how to live in this world – just as much as I’m trying to figure out how to be a parent. So I like to imagine a soft lime green light pouring out of my heart and filling the room with love. I Imagine that love soothing my baby down to his cells. Yup, it’s totally woo-woo. It doesn’t magically make my baby stop crying but it does make me feel a little less shitty.

Are you a new parent managing a new baby’s tears? Or maybe a been-there-done-that pro? Tell me about it. What works for you? 

Creative Block

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My good friend Danielle Krysa, aka The Jealous Curator, wrote a book called Creative Block: Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists. I got my copy of the book in the mail the day it was released, and you guys, it’s really good. Danielle interviewed 50 artists about their creative blocks, inner critics, and creative process. It’s a big book, but one that can be digested in bite-size chunks. I love reading the behind-the-scenes and stories of artists I know and love (like Alyson Fox, Wayne White, and Lisa Congdon just to name a few) but I’m also discovering new artists to admire.

Last January Danielle and I were chatting about her then *top secret* book and she confessed to me a big lesson she learned in writing this book – which is that you just have to ask. You see, Danielle was scared and intimidated when it came to asking kind-of-a-big-deal artists to be interviewed and published revealing their insecurities and creative blocks. But she did. She got vulnerable and she asked. And 9 times out of 10 they said yes. If they said no, it was usually done with kindness. And now she has gifted the world with this amazing compilation that will help hundreds of thousands of artists and aspiring artists feel less alone in the struggle that is being a working creative.

At the end of my DIY Coaching for Creatives email series I provide a list of resources and books to check out. I will definitely be adding this one to the mix. Brené Brown says it best here:

“Danielle Krysa’s Creative Block is truth-telling balm for all of us who wonder if we’re the only ones who get stuck, second-guess ourselves, and dance with gremlins. I loved every page – the art, the interview, and the unBlock challenges.”

– Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, author of Daring Greatly

You can buy Creative Block here and check out The Jealous Curator here.

DIY Coaching for Creatives

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I was recently asked the difference between life coaching and the Coaching for Creatives that I do. Life coaching, depending on the coach, can take on many forms. There are some coaches who focus on the mind / body connection and help their clients tackle weight loss. Some coaches focus on what sucks and help their clients hurdle road blocks that keep them from where they want to go. There are relationship coaches, health coaches, and money coaches. But the one thing most coaches have in common is goal-setting and action-planning to live the life you want to have.

Me? I’ve tailored my coaching program (both 1:1 and the DIY email series) to blend the techniques I learned in the life coach training I’ve received from Martha Beck with the patterns I’ve uncovered and tools I’ve developed from consulting hundreds of creative entrepreneurs over at Braid Creative. So the coaching I do is specifically for creatives who are looking to design and live life, both at work and play, according to their own rules. When you are creative for a living the line between work and life is easily blurred. Your work is personal and the life stuff often gets put on the back burner. To compound that, if the work you’re doing (and the clients, or perhaps day job, you’re doing it for) isn’t satisfying then life “off the clock” isn’t going to feel very dreamy either. My style is to help my coaching clients get clear about their vision and commit to a self-perscribed action plan to make it real.

In my coaching experience I’ve found that most of my creative clients crave the same things:
• they want an attitude of prosperity & abundance (specifically around money)
• the desire a morning routine
• they would like more time to make things with their hands
• they want to write daily (blogging / journaling / or even a book)
• they want to pick up a meditation practice (or at least find a few minutes a day to still their mind)
• they want to cook and eat tasty meals
• they want to cultivate courage and confidence
• and finally, they want to feel creative and happy – it’s as simple as that

So it’s my job as a coach to help them get specific about what that dream life looks like and hold them accountable to designing it. I also throw in a bit of intuition, personal experience, and resources when appropriate. But because I am only able to take on a limited number of one-on-one coaching clients and because my coaching fees are out of reach for some creatives I decided to create a DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. It’s $40 for 4 emails per week for 4 weeks (that’s 16 emails total). The emails are a blend of practical tips, tools, and worksheets but also touch a little on meditation techniques and weekly mantras (but I promise it doesn’t get too terribly woo-woo). If you like the Coaching for Creatives blog series I post weekly here you’ll probably enjoy going a little deeper and holding yourself accountable to make small changes with the DIY Coaching for Creatives emails. Unlike our Braid ECourses, you can sign up to receive these emails any time. So if now isn’t the right time, that’s cool. It’ll still be there when you’re ready.

You can learn more and sign up for the DIY Coaching for Creatives emails here.
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Related:
Grounding Exercises for Dreamy Creatives
Coaching for Creatives blog series
Braid ECourses for Creative Entrepreneurs

1 Month In

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It’s been a whole month since we became a little family of three around here. The photo above says it best. We spend most of our time in bed, which I’ve renamed base camp – because just in the periphery of this photo are laptops, iPads, remote controls, books, more blankets, a diaper changing station, water bottles, a heating pad, Kleenex, and a few snacks.

So, I’m tempted to say this is hard. Eating a cold dinner with one hand while managing inconsolable tears between the hours of 6PM and 10PM, the amount of coordination that comes with simply leaving the house, infected boobies, interrupted sleep… it can feel really hard. But those things too, while easy to fixate on at times, are in the periphery of what it is to be Fox’s parents. And really, it’s not so hard. It’s just very different. And those hard things will change daily – as will our ability to cope.

But the good stuff is really good. It’s not unlike falling in love… and getting to know Fox is the best. So yeah, it’s not always picture perfect, but it’s absolutely beautiful.

P.S. I’m posting lots of the daily goods to my Instagram

P.P.S. I’ll be writing more about blending work + life with baby in our Braid Letters for Creatives. You can sign up to get this exclusive content straight to your inbox here.

Girl Crush | Amy Poehler

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I almost didn’t post this because really, who doesn’t want Amy Poehler as their best friend? There’s little originality to girl crushing on the comedic genius that is Amy Poehler. But when I came across this quote in my Instagram feed (posted by my talented blog buddy Becka Robinson) I couldn’t help but share this girl crush. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been binging on Parks & Rec (I know, I’m late to the game) on Netflix and am inspired by Poehler’s character Leslie Knope’s work ethic, love for her less-than-glamorous hometown (I can relate), and unwavering enthusiasm.

So anyway, I saw this quote by Amy Poehler that seemed especially relevant after Monday’s post on being a lover:

“I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.” – Amy Poehler

It is so important for the creative community to support and uplift one another – especially women. This is very clear in Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s relationship (I love the stories Tina Fey shares about Amy Poehler in her memoir Bossy Pants.) The world is an abundant place and there is enough room for all of us to dream, create, support, and do. When we can encourage and inspire each other we’re not giving up our slice of the pie … we’re making the pie bigger.

Also, have you seen Amy Poehler’s webisode series Smart Girls? What’s not to love?

Who are you girl crushing on right now?