Michelle Katseanes is the Blog Coordinator for our giveaway sponsor The Ribbon Retreat. She’s also a mom and a super lovely person. I asked her if I could interview her for the series, and she was gracious enough to take time out of her very busy schedule to share her “mommy perspective” with us today.
For our readers who don’t know the background of the Ribbon Retreat (and its blog), can you tell us a little bit about the company?
The business was started with ribbon alone and has grown and grown and grown. The company is now ribbon, fabric, and much much more! 🙂 Our blog has been around since 2010, but I have only been the Blog Coordinator (and blogging) since February of 2013. Prior to taking over as the Coordinator, I had zero blogging experience.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family life.
I am first and foremost, a wife and a mom…who loves all things crafty, fall, things that make me laugh and smile. I love to sew, read, go for drives, go fishing, golfing, and hanging out with my 4 best friends (my kiddos and hubby). I am married to the most amazing, kind, good looking and AMAZING man! We have 2 awesome boys and 1 beautiful little baby girl. They are all smart, fun, kind and a blast to hang out with. 🙂
For many, sewing/crafting is a big part of who you are as a person. Why is “creative expression” important to you and how has it affected the quality of your life?
That is a great question. I have always loved all things creative and crafty but have only found my true appreciation for “creative expression” when I started to sew about 3 years ago. I am self taught, and because of that, I truly appreciate and LOVE everything I have ever created, designed, or sewn…no matter how good or BAD the project’s end result has been. My “creative expression” is still growing and maturing just like my life. Although I am in my thirties, I still feel like everyday of my life is a growing experience where I learn and mature with every success and hardship. It is my hope that as my “creative expression” grows in knowledge, love, understanding and wisdom…so do I as my path will lead me to new and AMAZING adventures.
Working inside or outside of the home (or running a blog or website on a part to full time basis) can be especially tough because of the difficult choices we have to make with how to divide our time between work and family. Have you ever felt guilty about the choices you’ve made, and what advice would you give to someone struggling with those same types of feelings?
Again…great question. Yes, I have felt extremely guilty as I have been staring at my computer screen with my 3 little kiddos patiently awaiting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as their little tummies are grumbling waiting for me to edit “just one more photo”. Prior to my little girlee being born, I was working outside of the home, which as every working mother knows is so hard to do. So, when blessed with the opportunity to work from home I was thrilled. However, working from home has had it’s own challenges and that is where the guilt starts to set in as dirty dishes lay in the sink, clothes are left unfolded and unironed, and kiddos stay in jammies all day, because I am home and should be able to get it all done and still have an amazing blog…right? Well I am here to say don’t let guilt get you down. Although you may have the desire to have the best most thriving blog, the cleanest home, the nicest ironed shirt…my biggest advice to anyone would be to keep your first and foremost priority hugs and kisses for those little faces that call you mommy or wife or friend. Your families mean the most…and as the ever popular saying goes “Clean houses never last…hugs and kisses do,” let’s expound a little more and say, blog posts will always be there…but your little kiddos happy faces will always be the most memorable.
What has been your greatest reward?
My biggest challenge with this job is prioritizing work related tasks in order to keep my most important priorities where they need to be. My greatest reward is being able to stay at home with my kiddos and to network and work with the most creative human beings on the planet…BLOGGERS and faithful blog readers/followers!
For most moms, multitasking is synonymous with motherhood. What’s been your biggest personal challenge with juggling so many things? Have you found a way to stay balanced? If so, what are some of your strategies?
My biggest challenge with juggling so many things is feeling guilty for not being able to get everything done. I have the idea that I am a stay at home mom…although a working stay at home mom, so that should mean the laundry is always done, folded and put away. The bathrooms should always be sparkly clean, the floors vacuumed, and a home made meal for dinner every night accompanied by a fresh baked batch of cookies. Hehe…right!?! The way I have found to keep it all balanced is to make a schedule where I have broken down my mom duties and work duties so everything gets done each week. For example, I do all my laundry on Mondays, clean bathrooms on Tuesdays, clean floors and dust on Wednesday…So, far so good. However, my biggest strategy is to not get stressed or down if everything on the list does not get done. I keep smiling and do the best I can. If at the end of the day I can smile and say I did my best…I feel the day was a success. Phew!
Finding the time to mother AND craft or sew can be a big challenge. How do you carve out time to create? When your children nap or are at school? Or have you found other ways to “sneak in” some time?
With my two boys now in school, I have found so much more time to create, craft, sew, edit, etc. However, the time I have found I am the most productive (without feeling guilty for not attending to my house or children like I would always prefer to) is right after I tuck my kiddos in for bed and after my husband has fallen asleep. Unfortunately, that time seems to be anywhere between the hours of 10:00pm and 2:00am. Thank goodness I have always been a night owl. 🙂
What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have ever received is that “Kindness matters” and…(sorry for having 2) “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
In terms of family, career and motherhood, how do you define success?
My true definition of success is to have a happy, respectful, supportive family that loves each other fully and unconditionally and that at the end of each day can look at each other in the face and say I love you and I truly gave it my all today and did the best I could possibly have done!
How has being a mom changed your life perspective?
Holy moly…in every way! It has helped me become less selfish..although I still have a long way to go. It has taught me humility, patience, unconditional love and so much more (of course all of which I still have to work on each and every day). It has taught me that after a long hard day, my favorite part is to bend down and give my kids a great big hug and to realize that nothing else matters than those little peeps. It has taught me that life is way too short and that any moment a life can be changed forever. It has taught me that my kiddos hear and repeat everything…so being a good example ALL THE TIME is an understatement. It has taught me to strive to try to be a better person with each and every new day! It has also taught me that I have so so so much left to learn. 🙂
This weeks giveaway is a $35.00 gift certificate to The Ribbon Retreat. To enter, just click on the options in the Rafflecopter below. Leave a comment for one entry, and follow the instructions for additional entries. The giveaway closes at midnight EST, Wednesday, October 16th. The random winner will be announced on Thursday, October 17th. (For Week 1’s Pattern Giveaway winner, click here)