How one mom is getting through quarantine one creative transformation at time

Being in quarantine with your family is not something most of us ever thought we’d say. But here we are, four months into 2020 and most of us have been locked up in our homes for a month now. All the extra time with our kids can make us crazy. But it can also make us crazy creative.

Sarah Perry, who happens to be a dear friend of mine (not to brag), falls in the latter of those two categories. Sarah, who majored in art and has a degree in fashion, was not about to let her creative juices stop flowing when we were told to keep our doors closed. With the help of her adorable, 4-year-old daughter Sydney, who is a born performer I might add, Sarah began creating over the top looks that kept the quarantined people of instagram saying “I’m living for this.”

I caught up with Sarah because honestly, I had questions, and I also needed to let her know how much I look forward to seeing new looks as they pop up on my instagram feed. Anyone who knows the infamous Sarah Perry, knows she thrives in a costume. Halloween to Sarah is like Christmas to Santa and her daughter Syd doesn’t fall far from the Perry tree.

“Costumes have always been a thing in this household… Any excuse to dress up, we are in. The day Syd woke up and asked me to paint her blue and give her a beard to be Disney’s “Genie” was the day the quarantine looks journey started.” Sarah said.

The Genie
the look that started them all

“The face paint really made it’s debut during this time. Which is also my favorite part of it all.” She added.

Some of the duo’s looks have included, Genie from Disney’s Aladdin, Poppy from Trolls (which is Sydney’s favorite look to date because the girl lives for all things pink,) Maleficent, an Easter Peep, a carrot, Lady Liberty and most recently and in my personal opinion, most impressive, Rafiki from The Lion King.

The most impressive part of all, is all of these looks have been achieved with items they’ve had around the house—as running to the store for a few things is not an option with current social distancing guidelines. Some items used to achieve these impressive looks include; cardboard, wire, paint, headbands, cut up clothes, Jell-O shot cups, plastic easter eggs, construction paper, witch hats, rope and tissue paper to name a few. “Whatever you can look at and paint into something is key!” she said.

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To answer the question I think a lot of us are wondering, which is will there be more looks? Sarah says, “As long as Sydney is asking for it, my answer will always be ‘if I can make it happen you got it kid!’ It is a lot of fun to share this creative bond with her.”  Each look has been requested by Sydney, and Sarah knows that if her daughter’s heart wasn’t in it, they wouldn’t be pulling off such incredible looks! “Trust me, Sydney would not commit to the look if she wasn’t feeling it. Which says a lot about her when she chose to look like a carrot.”

To follow along on Sarah’s impressively creative journey, she has been posting the transformations on her instagram page.

Syd as Rafiki
Rafiki from The Lion King

“You just need to use your imagination… and that is something as a mother I will nurture forever. Her imagination is so big and I keep things as magical as they can be for her. I will forever be the mom that will encourage her to dream big and if I can help guide her on that path I will…One crazy idea or look at a time.”

If someone tells you you’re a good mom, believe them

Motherhood is one of those jobs that you can accomplish incredible, mind-blowing things, and at the same time, question yourself every single day.

You carried that baby inside your body for 9 months and gave birth, (pretty incredible and mind blowing) and you’re caring for that baby every single day. That baby is alive and well, (but is he doing well enough? Is he getting everything he needs? Questions, questions, questions.)

Something about motherhood makes you question if you’re doing enough, if you’re making the right choices on behalf of your kids, if you are enough.

Here’s the thing. I don’t think I’m a bad mom, but sometimes I don’t think I’m an amazing mom either. But instead, an average, just trying to survive each day mom. A “good enough” mom, if you will. But, when people look at me and tell me I’m an incredible mother, I wonder what they see that I don’t?

Sure, family and friends tell me I’m a great mom all the time. I thank them, internally disagree and go about my day. They love me and my son, so of course they’re going to tell me that, they’re being supportive. But the other day, we were out to dinner (at 4pm because, mom life) and a man came up out of no where, tapped me on the shoulder and introduced himself. He said “Hi, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I just want to tell you I think you’re doing an amazing job with him,” he said pointing to my 11-month old baby sitting in a high chair throwing puffs (hey, they were organic) all over the floor. He continued to tell me he had a 2-year old daughter, and he could just tell I was an incredible mother and that my son was a lucky boy.

Huh? If a total stranger seems to see this in me, why can’t I?

For some reason, the words of that stranger have stuck with me and have honestly  made me a little sad. I can look at another mom and tell her what an amazing job she’s doing, and truly mean it, but I have a hard time looking in the mirror and saying the same words to the mama looking back at me.

I think to myself, I don’t have it all together, Not in the least. These are the things the people who think I’m so great don’t see. I’m a stay at home mom—I don’t provide any financial support to my family.  This was a choice my family made together, and it’s a gift that I’m able to stay at home with our son. But yet, I feel incredibly guilty for this gift every day. If I was “working,” maybe then I’d be a “good mom.”

Some days, my baby fights me with all the tiny little fibers in his body. He refuses to nap, eat, or do anything other than being held. Instead of being nurturing and understanding during these times, sometimes, I break down. I get frustrated, I cry. And then, I fall deep into a pit of guilt. He’s just a baby, and he needs me, so get it together and be there for him. Be a good mom. Maybe if I could avoid breaking down sometimes, maybe then I’d be a “good mom.”

Some days, the thought of preparing a baby-friendly meal to therefore just clean it all up off the floor gives me more anxiety than I can handle that day, so my baby gets a store-bought baby food pouch and some Cheerios for dinner. Maybe if I made my baby homemade, healthy, nutritionally balanced meals like so-and-so does (for him to throw on the floor) daily, maybe then I’d be a “good mom.”

But after that man tapped me on the shoulder, I looked in the mirror and decided I needed to change my way of thinking. It would take time, but it was important to work on a mental shift on how I saw myself and my work as a mother.

Being a stay-at-home-mom is harder work than I’ve ever had in the workplace. It’s relentless. The days are long and a HUMAN BEING depends on me to show up every day. So instead of feeling guilty for not bringing home a paycheck, I will feel proud of what I’m accomplishing every day and watch my baby grow with the things I’ve taught and given him. Soon enough he will be in school, and I’ll be able to get back to bringing home some bacon. Now is time to focus on the present, not the “should be’s.”

Instead of feeling bad about having hard days when my baby is being difficult, or the fact that there’s no way I’m preparing a meal from scratch, I’m going to focus on the fact that everyone has hard days. If a good cry is needed, let it happen. If boxed mac and cheese is for dinner tonight, so be it. But know that tomorrow is a new day. I’m a human with feelings and I am more than my bad days. Because for every bad day, there are 5 more good ones, so don’t dwell on the bad.

Instead of waiting for someone to tell me I’m a good mom and rolling my eyes at the statement, I’m going to tell myself, YOU’RE A GOOD MOM. Your baby feels safe with you and needs you. He searches for you in a room and knows when you’ve left. You’re his person, the only person he needs. You would do ANYTHING for that child and you want nothing more in this life than to help that little person thrive.

Why do you do all this? Why do you care so much?

Because, you’re a good mom.IMG_0852