Candace has illustrated many books, the most recently released being North Carolina, the First Golden State, which was published this past August by Peblican Publishing. You can find more of her work at www.candacecamling.com. When she's not painting, she is taking care of her 4 year old and 10 month old.
Me: Hi Candace! Candace: Hey Meridth!
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule! I have a few questions for you...
How on earth do you manage your time?
I use a written daily planner that also has a monthly calendar page. I like to write a daily 'to do' list
but also be able to glance at a monthly overview. Digital calendars and apps never do it for me. I kind of like having a written record of time spent and occasionally I write my kids milestones or quotes in along side my lists. I also set alarms on my phone for school pick up, to make sure I get up at a decent time, etc. (that's time management right?!)
What do you do to balance your life between the demands of a freelancer and the needs of your spouse, kids, and your personal needs?
Everyone in our family is a team player and my freelance career is considered to be equally important to my husband's regular 'steady job'. I think that can be tough in kidlit if you equate success with money (I think most of us do to some point) but we all believe in my future as an illustrator and story teller, so we continue to invest time and energy as a family. This means sharing housework, cooking and watching our small children. My husband often watches the kids in the evenings and puts them to bed. I stay home during the day and get my son to school. Any nap times with the baby are used to catch up with my work, house work or my sleep too! I think it's always a constant push and pull to try and find balance. Sometimes I'm good at it, other times I try to remember to give myself some grace.
That's great advice! It seems like you're focused on positive realistic goals. What do you do about the mommy guilt?
I try to keep it in perspective. My kids are clean (mostly), clothed and fed. They both giggle a lot and seem happy. There are so many kids all over the world who don't even get the food they need. I'm pretty sure making my kids self occupy for a few extra hours a week isn't going to ruin them. I also let my kids watch tv. My son had cancer a few years ago and I kind of let go of many of my hang ups about ruining my kids. When we were in the fight for his life, I felt like it put a lot of things in perspective. Thankfully not every mom is going to experience that, but it helped my just chill out about things like clutter, laundry piles, too much tv or eating fast food.
I love your perspective. Speaking of laundry piles... Any tips on keeping a clean house? (It’s definitely something I struggle with.)
I clean when and if I can. I hate clutter and I hate dirtiness, but with little kids and a busy schedule, I have to tolerate it to some extent. We also live in a very small house so we try to purge a little every so often.
I hear you on that. What have you given up to make more time to accomplish your goals?
We used to go out with friends more. I also don't go to as many events anymore. I don't mind it, but I'm look forward to getting to do some of those things as my kids grow up. I also try really hard to be more conservative with spending so I can save up for scbwi events and art supplies.
Are there any resources that have helped you organize your life and accomplish your goals?
Birdby bird by Anne Lamott was really revolutionary to my young mind. Many things in it still ring true for me. For me, talking with kindred art mommies and commiserating about the challenges helps a lot.
I like chatting with you too! ;) Any more advice to us freelance mommies?
Don't stop! It's frustrating when you see people moving forward faster with their careers, but remember that this is your path! I believe in my journey and my calling. But I also love being a mom and I do what I do because of them. I want to make them proud! They also inspire a lot of my work. I get a front row seat in their childhoods and it's so special.
Thanks Candace, for your time! Happy creating and hugs to the kiddos!
Meridth McKean Gimbel is a freelance writer and illustrator who loves anything art related, story infused, and chocolate covered. When not working on her illustrations or writing stories, she is busy building a time machine so she can hang out with her pirate buddies and find buried treasure.
Meridth is happily represented by Linda Pratt at Wernick & Pratt. You can follow her work at: