The one thing I hope you remember — by Guest Mom Amy Smart

April 17, 2009

Motherhood is good work — the best kind — but it’s work nonetheless. And sometimes it feels totally overwhelming.

Having a creative outlet is the aspect of my life that has kept me sane. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. It’s therapeutic for me to have some short-term creative projects in the midst of the long-term creative process of raising children.

I have a feeling this may be the first time Dolly Parton has ever been quoted on Design Mom, but it’s always good to break new ground, right? I recently found these lyrics and they spoke to me.

It takes all I’ve got to give what life demands.
You’ll go insane if you give in to it,

Life’s a mill and I’ve been through it,

I’m just grateful I’m creative with my hands.

So here’s the one thing I hope you remember from Amy Smart: Find something you love to do and do it.

Not because you want to get a bunch of new comments on your blog, or because you want to become the next Martha, or because you want to win a blue ribbon at the state fair. But because it feeds some part of you that needs feeding.

Just don’t try to do it all. You’ve really got to narrow your focus. For right now, I’ve narrowed it down to one thing.

And I set up shop in the middle of the family room with the kids buzzing around me. I try to avoid using the computer when they are around because I don’t like the thought of them just looking at the back of my head. But I do sew with them around. (This doesn’t mean there aren’t frequent interruptions and occasional balls thrown at my head or Hot Wheels cars driving across my back). I like them seeing me do something artistic, and I’ve seen the way it affects my kids’ creativity.

In the meantime, I totally enjoy admiring the work of other women. Especially when they do something I don’t do. Don’t feel guilty or compare what you do to what other people do. Enjoy the beauty they create as well.

So, pick your thing. And love it. Whether it’s baking a loaf of bread, or playing the piano, or doing Pilates, or knitting socks, or digging in the dirt. Nourish your soul. Then you can better nourish the little souls that live with you.

Thanks again to Gabby for letting me come hang out this week and to all of you for your encouraging comments. I’d love to hang out with you more in the future, so drop in for a visit!

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lettie April 17, 2009 at 11:46 am

What a great guest author. I’ve book marked the messenger bag to make later and about the words today – thanks. I needed this. I feel like my projects aren’t so much for me now as they are for me to SHOW someone that I made it. I feel like I can’t just create whatever I like and post it on my blog because it might not be original or new and fun. I’m not going to be the next Martha and I’ll likely never have a fancy blog – thank you or reminding me that that is ok! :)


2 rookie cookie April 17, 2009 at 11:48 am

Love this post. It reminds me of the talk by President Uchtdorf about creating. I do not sew, but I don’t get myself down on it. I just enjoy the things people make for me!

This little video about creating was on the LDS church website and I thought I would share. Very inspiring.


3 awesomeasaone April 17, 2009 at 11:53 am

I love this. What a great post. I connect to it on many levels — from feeling like I shouldn’t be on the computer while my baby is awake (although sometimes I fail at this! Ah!) to making sure that I’m doing something I love with my down time…

Well put!


4 Steph April 17, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Oh Amy, this post made me so happy(and it’s been a week of Guest Mom Greatness, let me tell you). I think I’m going to print it out and hang it on my fridge.

And the pictures? Love ‘em.


5 Allysha April 17, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Lovely. I’ve enjoyed your guest posts, Amy. And this was my favorite. Thank you!


6 sara April 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I adore this post. Thank you!


7 Mixing Bowl Mama April 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm

What a great guest mom…thank you Amy for the great posts


8 The Smiths April 17, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Thank you I needed this post!


9 myimaginaryblog April 17, 2009 at 5:55 pm

I was just telling my husband that seeing what some people can make has taken some of the thrill away from sewing for me lately — but when I just do it and try not to compare myself to others, I do enjoy the process. Thanks for the reminder to let what little I can do count for the enjoyment it brings me.


10 Kathy April 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Well said! When I was working on my doctoral dissertation, my advisor would always tell me “don’t try to move the ocean. Just move one grain of sand and do it well.” Wise man!


11 tracy April 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm

oh my godness. thank you. thank you so much! i totally needed to hear this…what a lovely post!!! i need to print this post out and keep it around to reread, and reread often. thank you so very kindly again! all good wishes


12 Anonymous April 17, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Thank you for this post. I read it to my husband and he wanted to add “and remember to breathe.” :-)


13 Laurie1024 April 17, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Thanks for a great post! Confession-I am a 31 year old woman without kids and I color to relieve stress! Creative outlet with no calories! Can’t beat it!
I have been inspired by your posts this week to give my sewing machine another try!


14 Chloe April 18, 2009 at 12:51 am

Amy, I can’t stress enough how much this particular post “spoke” to me today- I really needed it. So thank you- it’s been great having you as a guest poster on Design Mom :)


15 The Swisstensens April 18, 2009 at 1:27 am

Being a lifelong sewer, my mom bought my first machine when I was 8, this post spoke to me. I also have the fear of my kids remembering the back of my head because I spent their time on the computer. I haven’t sewn since the birth of my second child and hate that she has zero hand made dresses in her closet. I’m going to change my ways, set up the sewing machine in the family room and sew! That’s what my mom did. Why haven’t I? Thanks for the thoughts.


16 Erin April 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm

This is the best post I’ve read (on any blog!) in a long time. Thanks for the reminder not to compare ourselves to others, but to rejoice in the talents of our friends and to indulge ourselves in what we actually enjoy. We simply can’t do it all at once! I think a potential problem with frequenting the blog community is that it sets women up to feel like failures because they’re looking at everyone’s exhibted strengths and comparing it to their weaknesses. No more! :)


17 Debbie April 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm

The best guest blogger you’ve had! LOVED her, thank you!


18 Kim April 19, 2009 at 12:17 am

Thanks for the great post Amy.


19 R-Eight April 19, 2009 at 7:57 am

Great post! I was given this same advice when I was a very young mother and have gone back to it many times over the years. Thanks for another reminder to take care of myself.


20 a not so desperate housewife April 19, 2009 at 9:05 am

this post is why you’re so fantastic amy! it was great running into you a couple of weeks ago…and fantastic job with the guest posting!


21 Cate April 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm

oh, amy, i was loving your posts, but after quoting dolly, you’ve sealed the deal. come back soon!


22 girlsmama April 20, 2009 at 10:51 am



23 Liz April 20, 2009 at 10:59 am

I think this is the best post I have read in a long time. It sums up my thoughts on my recent blog post as well. Why we do what we do and how it makes you feel. It is contagious. Thanks for sharing your fine words and I love the Dolly quote too!


24 Michelle April 20, 2009 at 12:47 pm

What a great post. I love to sew, quilt, crochet, bake, and read. (I have to rotate them in and out to get anything finished). I moved my sewing machine into the dining room so I could be at least in the same room as my fiance while I sew, and sometimes I feel guilty about sewing as much as I do. Thankfully the last time I started my new project, my honey said he was fine with it as long as it makes me happy. I love that he understands even though I give away most of what I make, there’s something so rewarding in simply making things.

Thanks again.


25 cally April 20, 2009 at 8:29 pm

So perfectly said.



26 lesley April 21, 2009 at 12:02 am

this is such a lovely post, thankyou for sharing. i, too, feel the absolute need to sew as my creative outlet. it is such a necessary part of my day, and i think it makes the mommy-job a little bit easier. i really liked your words about creating, enjoying inspiration from other moms/crafters, and the part about not comparing yourself to others. that rang so true! and about those hotwheels, such a great back rub, i get those often!!


27 jean April 23, 2009 at 10:20 am

I couldnt agree more…creativity…keeps me sane!I,m a new mum and my new blog or crocheting,or writing or drawing helps me remember that i,m important too.For those who don,t know how to start I recommend “the artist,s way”by julia cameron.I,ve seen it help people to draw,write,play…its incredible.


28 amine November 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

i just want to say you are amazing. i have a little princess 3 yrs old. and when i read yourpost it was a big shock for me to understand that there are people like me out there,have the need for doing art thing, have problems with balls and dolls while creating,have difficulty of being a creative mom.
it seems like moms in any place and any times have the same worries in raising kids.i’m really grateful to know that i’m not alone.thank you.


29 Sara June 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Amy, thanks for reminding me to do things what I love most. Your magic words capture my heart.


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