Dirt Road Diaries: Big Magic, Parenthood, and that Creative Feeling

Long time no blog post.  More like LOOOOOOOONG time no blog post.  It’s been (almost) a year.  A YEAR for crying out loud!  And boy have I missed blogging.  And house projects.  I’ve really missed house projects.  Painting skills are like riding a bike, right?  For the love of muscle memory, please universe, let me remember how to wield a paint brush!  I would like to blame the lack of blogging and house projects on parenthood, the stresses of balancing a career with parenting, and no longer having time for hobbies or me time, but I just can’t do that anymore.  Let’s unpack that today shall we?

Rowan and Mom family photo in the country by Kristy Burrell Photography

Rowan is one now, can you believe that?!  Technically she’s 14 months and 3 weeks old according to the BabyCenter emails I keep getting.  To say her first year of life has been a struggle for me would be a huge understatement.  I’ve constantly been feeling the pressure (often the pressure I put on myself) to be a great mom, wife, employee, community member, family member, etc.  And with all this pressure weighing down on me, I kind of (okay….REALLY) lost myself.  I felt like a blur stuck in a daily grind rut and constantly racing around.  Racing from the office to daycare to pick Rowan up on time, feeling like a jerk because once again she was the first to arrive at daycare and the last to leave, rushing home to burn dinner while frantically getting the cloth diapers into the laundry, rushing her up to bed and through story time in order to get her to sleep on time, and often crashing at the end of the day after the daily chores were done only to wake up and rush through another day of grinding it out.

I sometimes longed to be a stay-at-home mom so I wouldn’t feel the push/pull of balancing work and parenting, but I LOVE my job, and having a career of my own is truly important to me.  I wanted balance and to not feel like I was failing in all the things all the time.  But mostly I just wanted to find the excitement of truly living life again and making time to do the things that bring me immense joy.  Other moms prepared me for this struggle I was going through but I just couldn’t understand it until I was in the trenches myself.

Decorations from Rowan's first birthday party

(Our dining room was decorated for Rowan’s first birthday party with family.)

The last few months I’ve really felt like I lost all sense of my identity other than the title of “Roro’s Mom”, as I’m affectionately referred to by the other kids at Rowan’s daycare facility.  I’m a creative person; the type of person with an innate need to make things.  Creativity means different things to different people but for me, the place that I enjoy unleashing my creative fury the most is in our home.  Decorating it, renovating it, planning “someday” projects down to the materials list, building things, pinning ideas like a madwoman, and writing about my adventures here on the blog.  I may not have a huge following, I may not be great at these projects/sharing them, and I may not make money off my blog like so many others do, but the process gave me joy and that’s all that matters.  In this past year, creativity and making have been pushed aside.  It always felt like there were bigger, more important things to spend my time on.

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic.  And by “just finished reading” it, I mean I set the book down and walked straight over to my dusty laptop, opened it up, miraculously remembered my blog password, and started writing this.  For those who haven’t read Big Magic, the book centers around the idea that all humans are creative beings and we need to get past the fear of living creatively and essentially just go forth and do.  Do the creative things for the joy of it and get over your fear of doing it.  Confession…I kind of hated this book as I was reading it.  Maybe it was all the hype.  Maybe I was just too anti creative.  Maybe the book just wasn’t for me.  But as I was reading it, I found pieces and blurbs sticking with me.  Quotes from the book kept reverberating in my head, and suddenly I found myself thinking a little differently, more creatively.  It sparked something.  Maybe I did love this book.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Three things jumped out at me:

  • We are all creative beings and it’s a part of us that needs tending to and having “permission” to be creative.
  • We don’t have to be perfect in our creativity, we just have to do it.  Perfection can be crippling.
  • My favorite quote from the book is, “What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.”

That last quote was a gut punch.  It twisted my arm and the drill sergeant yelled at me to go write some words on the blog!  This space, Angie’s Roost, and all that goes into it matters enormously to me.  I have a passion for it but have let it slip away from me in the last year or so.  I let perfectionism take it away from me with thoughts of I’m not worthy or good enough to be creating and blogging about home renovations.  I’ve pushed this space aside because it’s not “important”.  I don’t necessarily have the “permission” I need to pursue this passion because there are more important tasks at hand like walks with Rowan and folding yet another load of laundry.  But there is always time for what matters enormously, even personal creative ventures that don’t matter much to those other than the creator.  I loved how Gilbert talked about the great authors who wrote books in 20 to 60-minute daily increments.  That hit home.  If Herman Melville can tackle a tomb like Moby Dick in small, daily spurts, I can tend a blog in a similar fashion!  So as Rowan is napping, I’m taking a little time here to draft some thoughts.  The post continues for another 20 minutes before bed.  And again in the wee hours of the morning before the family wakes up for the day.

Family photos on a dirt road in Vermont by Kristy Burrell Photography

So that is oh so many words to say that I’m back once again!  Hopefully for good as long as this space still “matters enormously” to me.  The laundry can wait until after I spend a little time creating.  My goal is to publish a new post once a week on Sunday evenings.  House projects continue to slowly creep along around here so when project content is light, I’m planning to post to this “Dirt Road Diaries” series.  Dirt Road Diaries will be a series of posts and musings about life in the country and living a meaningful life.  I hope you enjoy the series but more importantly, I will enjoy creating the series because I’m giving myself permission to create.  I’m creating first and foremost for myself and for the love of creativity, in true Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic fashion.


  1. I missed your blog! Welcome back! Motherhood is a wonderful thing but so challenging to balance it all.

  2. Welcome back!! Mommydom is hard. I still struggle trying to find time for me and the things I want to do. Rely on your partner, and make the time for yourself. ❤️ You can’t pour from an empty cup. And filling your cup makes you a better mommy, wife, and employee. And remember nothing lasts forever… at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

  3. First of all, I’m not crying, you’re crying. <3 And I'm so happy your're back at this!

  4. I’ve missed your writing and was so happy to see this post in my reader. Balancing motherhood with finding the space to be yourself is a challenge for sure. Welcome back!

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