Joy Cho & Martha Stewart on Work/Life Balance & Raising Creative Children

Reflecting on Keynote Speeches at Altitude Summit 2014

Bonjour, les amis! I returned Friday morning from the Altitude Summit conference in Salt Lake City, and it was just as inspiring and informative as I'd hoped it would be. My highlights were dining with Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom (did you catch us on Instagram?), gaining practical insights about blogging, and hearing keynote speakers Joy Cho (of Oh Joy!) and Martha Stewart of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

  Taking notes at Alt Summit SLC summer 2014 (I'm on the front left)

Taking notes at Alt Summit SLC summer 2014 (I'm on the front left)

Joy's biographical speech resonated with me because we have a few life elements in common (our age, our firstborn daughters, and her parents' emigration from Thailand the same year my husband's Thai parents emigrated, for starters.) And I appreciated her perspective on managing motherhood, work, and guilt:

[Motherhood and work] is not a balance; it’s a juggle.
— Joy Cho
  Joy Cho speaking at Alt Summit 2014 by Justin Hackworth

Joy Cho speaking at Alt Summit 2014 by Justin Hackworth

Balance, Joy explained, implies a perfect equilibrium between all of one's roles and tasks, whereas life dictates that we constantly juggle and adjust our focus rather than seeking perfect equilibrium.  Joy explained how she had to completely readjust her work expectations after her firstborn arrived. She also shared about the guilt she sometimes feels as a working mama in contrast to the pride she has in knowing that her daughter will eventually be proud of her work.

Martha Stewart was intriguing too, of course, and it was an honor to hear her speak (in her lovely low voice) about the intersection of design and business and how she manages it all. (Answer: she has a team, of course! And she gets up two hours earlier than she prefers.) But mostly I appreciated her advice on raising creative children:

  Martha Stewart at Alt Summit 2014 by Justin Hackworth

Martha Stewart at Alt Summit 2014 by Justin Hackworth

  Martha being interviewed by Gabrielle Blair; photo by Justin Hackworth

Martha being interviewed by Gabrielle Blair; photo by Justin Hackworth

Have them work in the garden. Teach them to pull up carrots . . . . Bake with them. Don’t give them screens.
— Martha Stewart

Children like screens, but don't just give them what they like, she explained. Give them what they love AND need. They don't need time with screens, Martha explained. I agree with this parental push from America's queen of creative DIY media. As parents and educators, we can all prompt our children towards the experiences that will nourish their mind and creative spirit rather than simply occupying their time.

Do you struggle with guilt as a working parent? Are your children old enough to respect your work? What activities you do that seems to foster creativity in your children?