We are in awe of mums. Being able juggle multiple daily tasks, keeping home clean and family healthy, nourishing our tummies and of course making everyone feel loved and cared for. The word super-mum does not even cut it. So we at Resparkle want to HONOR the work they do with a Inspiring Mums monthly feature. We kick off with our very first spotlight with Anna Kellerman who shares how she keeps her family and home healthy AND started a game changing organisation called Mama Creatives. Think of it as a TED for mums. A supportive, collaborative and inspiring group for creative mamas to share their passion, work, expertise and ideas with other like-minded mothers, followed by a hands-on creative/ experiential workshops.
Keeping My Family and Home Healthy
By Anna Kellerman, Founder ArtBuds & Mama Creatives
All my grandparents lived until they were well into their 80s and 90s so I have always had a positive view of what life can offer. Working with children as an art therapist and in my online business ArtBuds, as well as running a creative community Mama Creatives I am around parents and children a lot. Seeing children run around and ask questions from an innate and pure place makes me realise that this is what it is we are meant to be doing – keeping our bodies active and our minds curious.
I’m a creative mum and do a range of things to keep our home and family healthy, drawing on a broader philosophy of keeping our creative spirit alive too. Here are 5 tips that work for us, mostly everyday, which provides better balance and joy around our home.
1. Eat meals together.
My husband is Spanish and we lived together in Spain for several years. Our daughter, now 6 years old, was actually born in Madrid. Despite the economical woes the Spanish foster a healthy relationship with food. They all take time to stop and eat together, either socially with friends, or at home as a family. You barely see anyone walking down the street or on public transport eating on the go. I think in Australia we have sadly lost this important habit of winding down and eating together, which is such a fulfilling and unifying experience.. There has been much research to support the benefits of eating together including building confidence and a sense of secure attachment. It also encourages young children to broaden their palate as they are more likely to eat what we are enjoying. Our young daughter is very adventurous and will try anything once, and enjoys eating a broad range of vegetables and flavours such as raw fennel, lychees, olives, garlic, ginger and has tried chilli.
2. Tech time out
My husband and I are very tech literate working in the online world, but I am adamant about our daughter not having her own device. If she can do it in real life then I encourage this.
Since art is our area of interest at home we are constantly creating little projects together, but it can be anything from sport, music, writing, reading or chatting together so they feel acknowledged and special. It’s also a nice transition for parents to switch off and engage in a relaxing creative activity. Kids will really remember you for it. My daughter frequently writes me little love notes when I spend quality time with her.
For example, I would rather she paints using brushes, paper and real paints than clicking a brush icon on a screen. Creating, doing, experimenting with art materials all contribute to improved hand/eye co-ordination, problem solving, critical thinking, fine and gross motor skills and can also enhance self esteem.
3. Cook from scratch
My interest and passion in cooking from scratch has definitely been influenced by my mother, who is an excellent and inventive home cook. She fostered a love of real food in me from a young age where I grew up only eating home made food. When my daughter was a baby I only gave her fresh pureed food. I once bought some baby food as a back up but she pushed it away! I also regularly introduced a range of flavours so she developed a very broad flavour palate from a young age, which we continue to build on. Cooking is something we enjoy doing as a family, plus it’s a fun way to educate children and give them some autonomy in the process.
5. Happy mama, happy home
I used to try to ‘do it all’ until one day I broke my big toe, nearly collapsed from a virus and could barely walk. I was *this close* to developing a serious irreversible gum disease and ordered by both my doctor and dentist to stay in bed for two weeks!
Being sick and incapacitated was actually no help to anyone, especially my family’s wellbeing. So now I make it a priority, without guilt, to take time out to exercise and eat well as it helps me maintain consistent energy levels and the stamina to look after my family when they need me most, like making chicken soup when they are sick and the patience to eradicate head lice!
I believe being healthy is not about adding extra pressure of ‘doing it all’ or ‘juggling’, but about how we integrate all the various aspects of life, creating a more fluid experience. We do it all anyway, but just not perfect all the time. The famous English paediatrician and psychoanalyst, Donald Winnicott coined the term the ‘good enough’ mother, where we only need to be ‘good enough’ 30% of the time and things will be fine!
Anna Kellerman, founder of Mama Creatives, decided to get together regularly with a group of friends to reclaim some of the creative time that often gets put to one side after we have kids. They started with a small group and each month someone from the group presented about their area of creative interest. Numbers have swelled and Anna Kellerman now offers a diverse calendar of events including Creative Mama