This entry in the Creative Motherhood series is really special for me. Sarah Dobbs is someone that I started following on Instagram maybe two years ago (?) or more. I don't remember how we connected, but I immediately loved her aesthetic, her approach to living mindfully, and her supportiveness of other moms trying to fit work in around being really available as a mother. We had many conversations over Instagram about these topics, but imagine my surprise when she revealed that she was moving to St. Louis, my adopted hometown! Turns out she's originally from here, but I still think of her as a New Yorker, mostly cause she's just so freaking cool. Since Sarah moved back to the Midwest, we've actually been hanging out in person and she's just as down to earth and thoughtful IRL as she is online. Oh yeah, and she just happens to live in one of the most envy-inducing midcentury houses in town. Enjoy her interview. --Dacy
Q: Introduce yourself, your family, the work (aside from mothering) you currently do, and how that work has evolved as your children have grown.
Hello, I’m Sarah Dobbs, a woman with a deeply rooted passion in design and I have been creating my entire life. I’m married to Kyle (nearly a decade) and together we are raising two boys; Grey, 6 and Hollis, 4. We recently moved out of the NYC area to a midcentury modern fixer-upper in the Midwest. I'm the founder of a lifestyle company the Home Capsule, where I specialize in professional organization. Having children was the catalyst for my line of work. I became interested in helping myself and other moms build lives that gave them the balance they desired. I do this by crafting ways to organize lives and homes, merging design with function. Time = happiness and having your life in order helps! I started small when my kids were babies, each year doing a little more to build the brand and expand my expertise and services.
Q. Do you wish you could do more or less creative work? How do you manage those conflicted feelings?
Having kids actually reignited the creativity within me. I try to weave feelings of being creative in our daily lives. From kids toys, art, rearranging their room, packing lunches, and helping them find a personal style. It’s super fun, I’m happy with the amount of work I have but I’m interested in learning some new skills, like photography and woodworking!
Q. Does choosing to focus on motherhood affect any financial or career goals for you?
Absolutely! I completely walked away from my career for a solid 4 years. I see peers in my field who are now VPs, etc. I was a workaholic in the most competitive city in American and success for me was being at the top of my field. My definition of success has changed and the financial ramifications will affect us for the rest of our lives, but I wouldn’t make a different decision if given the chance. The experience I've had with my boys is priceless.
Q. What kind of a “village” or help do you have around you?
I didn’t have a true village until the boys were 2 and 4. I had 2 women in particular show up for me in such a big way that I’ve made it my personal mission to do everything I can to help other mothers.
Q. Do you feel as though your work and home life lines are blurred? How do you handle that challenge?
For a couple years they blurred and I hit a wall. My kids have been on tons of sourcing trips and showrooms. Now I structure my time where I have working hours and hours with my kids. School affords me the opportunity to work this way.
Q. What’s a typical day like and when do you actually get your work done?
Each day of the week I have a list of specifics. This is the first year the boys have both been in school full time. I have alerts in my phone that keep me on task the entire day. I put my phone away from 4-8 (after school to bed) and will pick it up again to finish up some tasks before my bed time.
Q. What do you do when creative ideas hit you and you’re in the middle of mothering?
I tell the kids ! They are excellent critics AND they ask a million questions. Which is great because it gets you thinking about your idea even more. I also think adulthood is mystic and mysterious to kids so anytime you ask, “can i tell you about this cool thing I just thought of?” They are on the edge of their chairs with interest.
Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for other moms trying to do all the things?
Don’t do all the things. OWN your particular situation and be proud of whatever decisions you make. Life is a learning curve. Take risks, see what happens, make adjustments and know you are you're own worst critic. So lighten up on yourself.
Thanks so much, Sarah! I love the idea of putting your phone away from 4-8, and of telling your kids about your work ideas - helps to show them that mom is a multi-dimensional person. Follow Sarah on Instagram here and find her website here.
photo credits: Heather Moore
Find the other posts in the Creative Motherhood series here.