WAHM: Masha Tikhonova, Graphic Designer

When I first saw adult colouring books, I thought, “Neat idea, but I’m too busy to sit and colour.” Then I received a colouring book from Indigo at BlogPodium in September. My girls were really excited that I had my own colouring book and so one evening I sat down to colour with them. Then I was hooked. They love having “colouring parties” with Mommy, but I also enjoy colouring by myself. It’s a lovely way to relax at the end of the day (and help my brain stop “working” before I go to bed!).

When Masha Tikhonova reached out to me on Facebook, I though her colouring project sounded really cool. It was also fun to chat with a fellow work-at-home-mom. Today, I’m delighted to have Masha here on the blog, sharing about how she balances work and family as a graphic designer and mom.

Masha Tikhonova, creator of Inky Treasures and a WAHM

About Me and why I became a WAHM

I graduated from Emily Carr University specializing in Communication Design. I studied Fine Arts for many years and took a Business Certificate program at Capilano University. When my son was born, I realized that working as a full time designer from 9 am – 6 pm (with frequent overtime) didn’t fit into my lifestyle. My family needed flexibility and it was very important for my son and me that I didn’t miss any important events at daycare and school.

I remember one day I was five minutes late to his group performance. His eyes were filled with anxiety as he was searching for his mommy. When he finally saw me, the tears were gone and happy twinkle landed in his eyes. This was the moment when I realized that I need to build my career around my family. My definition of success has to have the balance in place. At times my business requires more attention but then I know that I have to make it up to my family.

Currently, my son is 10 years old and I am expecting a second child anytime now.

About My Business

I’ve been running my graphic design studio GrafikaVision for over 5 years now. There were times when I was renting an office but most of my work still happened at home via internet. I have a dedicated office set up in our apartment with two desks, computers, printer and anything I need to run the business.

I take on a range of design projects in branding, graphic design and web design. I have a team of professionals I work with on daily basis. I also have a business partner (the mother working from home). We strive to deliver only the best to our clients and put pride in our work.

Besides my daily business work, I try to find time for personal creative projects. I believe that when you feel creative and have an urgency to express, shutting down the creative genius causes imbalance and unhappiness.

In the past 8 months I’ve been working on my new illustration project Inky Treasures—a collection of coloring illustrations for adults that come in a beautiful custom gift box.

Inky Treasures

Creating illustrations for Inky Treasures gave me a feeling of happiness and joy. It was gratifying and calming to concentrate on details of the illustrations, finding my own quiet place. As I gained the feeling of inner peace, I wanted to share my joy with others.

Masha working on Inky Treasures

Many studies show that coloring for adults helps to release stress, gain concentration and create lasting positive experiences. We, mothers, often feel like there is just isn’t enough time and space for our own expression. I am hoping that Inky Treasures can help many busy moms to get in touch with their creative self.

My Daily Schedule

In terms of my daily schedule, I start my days early. Usually I am at my desk around 6 am with a cup of tea or coffee. This is one of my most favourite and productive times of the day. I have about 2 solid hours to focus on my most creative work. Since my office windows face east I often get a chance to enjoy the sunrise to set up a positive start of the day.

Masha working on Inky Treasures

At 8 am I shift gears, wake up my son, cook breakfast and make sure he gets to school on time before 9 am. I start my business work at 9.30 am. Usually the night before I create a list of priorities that need to be completed the next day so when I am at my desk, I don’t wander around but start the work right away. Also my morning routine usually includes meeting with my business partner on Skype, checking emails, deadlines and any urgencies we have to deal with.

I pick up my son from school at 3 pm and drive him to after school classes and activities. Usually I bring work on my laptop so I can continue with business while waiting for him. Two times a week he has after school daycare until 5.30 pm which gives me extra hours to work. Most days I stop my business activities after 6 pm. Then we cook dinner with my husband, watch a family movie or go for a walk.

The key to running a full successful day for me is determined by my preparation the night before. I do most of the chores in the evening time: I make sure the kitchen is clean, lunches are ready and we have food in the fridge.

Challenges of Being a WAHM

I usually take weekends off from work and find a way to spend quality time with my family and do something special for our son. The challenge of being a WAHM is very strict organization and consistency but I feel that it is a very small price to pay for the flexibility I am getting to be with my family when and where I want.

WAHM Wednesday - where work-at-home moms share what works for them!

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