How one Mom does it all (& gets me to play dress up)

Shannon Mucha is a testimony to everything that is wonderful about the Artistic Mother life. For those of you that have my book you can see an introduction to her life on p16-17.

She is such an inspiration to me.

She homeschools her kids in a stylishly decorated (always clean) home, she does arts and crafts with her kids, she is married to an artist/musician, Marcus Mucha, she free lances as a graphic designer/illustrator and she photographs everything about her lovely life, posting daily on her blog regardless of how busy she is. 

And she is my confidant, accountability partner, professional listener! She makes time for my long-winded phone calls almost everyday and she always has something smart and helpful to say.

To top this all off Shannon is driven as an artist to seek ideas and skills and projects. I have never seen someone work so hard on any given project. And, if you didn’t thing that was enough, she is humble (and is probably horrified right now at me going on and on about her), and wants to learn more. So last month Shannon started a degree in digital photography online with The Academy of Art in San Francisco (online classes).  I can just imagine how awesome her photos will be at the end of her schooling!

So how does she do it all? Well I asked her and was not at all surprised at her answer, what she says is pretty much an affirmation of the central thesis of my book.

Her focus is on vision & priorities, deadlines and schedule. All bathed in a love for family.

Vision & priorities: Mom duties first. As a Christian, she believes in the high calling of motherhood. Family time and kid’s school come first. Shannon keep firm to the idea that each hour of the day counts and will never come again. This vision keeps her productive and constantly appreciating the importance of doing her best every day.

Even her downtime is productive – at 5:00pm everyday, when the kids are occupied with after school activities, she does a workout and watches a movie (usually some kind of Indie flick). She finds the exercise gives her energy for the evening and the movie relaxes her mind.

Deadlines: Shannon has quarterly deadlines – for iStock photo, stock illustration, PACES and some ongoing deadlines with Mortal Muses and our photo collaborations. Now, as I mentioned, she also has her own art college classes! These deadlines dictate what she needs to get done and by when. They are short term goals that keep her motivated to keep on working.

Shannon’s whole day follows a tight schedule, for herself and her kids. Every hour of her day is accounted for. So, yes it seems rigorous indeed, but it works. Art gets done in the Mucha home. School gets done – and I am telling you those are smart, well adjusted kids she is raising. 

One side note worth sharing is that in light of her commitment to her family, she even involves her kids in choosing their schedule - each of her 3 children has a hand in designing when they do the subjects & chores that they have to do in any given week. It is so cute that Nomi, who is 5 this week, added trampoline time to her schedule – and Shannon finds that she does better at her K work after a few minutes of jumping. Zeb, 8, added bacon and egg breakfast Monday, Wednesday and Friday to his schedule! Such a boy! And as a testimony to her commitment to family - each of the kids made sure there was family time built into their day besides their subjects and chores. By involving the kids Shannon finds that they are more committed and productive, this in turn helps her get through the day without resistance thereby freeing her to do art in the evenings.


I love seeing Shannon in action. She has to do many photoshoots for her digital photography classes. On Friday she came over to my house as she needed some models to bring to life a narrative she wanted to shoot. She had come up with the theme of a child growing through literature. So we did a photo shoot loosely based on Alice In Wonderland.

Shannon brought the wig, a ladder and a boat load of ideas. I took some photos with my new point and shoot as we went along. It was SO fun. Here are some of my out takes. Matthew, 10 took some of the photos.

Me and my girls are looking forward to doing more photoshoots with Shannon.

Shan has posted a couple of photos from this shoot here and here.


  1. this is so inspiring! thank you for sharing! and the photos are just AMAZING!!!

    have a wonderful week!

  2. gretchen9:35 AM

    WOW! I second that first comment- these photos are AMAZING! I'm thinking you may have found "your" perfect point and shoot camera!?! (I think there are ways to work around the video issue).
    ~ gretchen

  3. I'm in agreement. Amazing! Such fun. You are both very inspiring.

  4. My mouth is wide open. I am in such awe! You both are an inspiration. Truly.

  5. i'm so bad about commenting shona...please forgive me. :-) i saw those 2 photos over at shannon's place and thought, 'that might just be shona!' came over here last night to see if you might have posted anything about it. i was so happy to see this post this morning and get the 'story'. what fun! and i can't think of a better place or better family to do this for shannon. you and shannon both amaze me, and it has been a priveldge to witness you both unfurl your wings and fly! what a treasure you have in each other's friendship. you two are a living example of ecclesiastes 4:9-10 lived out. 'two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.' love you ladies!!

  6. Shona, thanks for this post! I have been inspired by Shannon's work since picking up your book in the spring, but now I am inspired by her outlook on mothering, too. I am coming around to seeing other moms' abilities as positive encouragement to my own, instead of *choosing* to feel overwhelmed or left behind by them. Your insight here, as always, is immensely helpful.

    And you look great as a blonde to boot! :)

  7. Such an inspiration!

    And how fun to see you all dressed up!

  8. thank you all,

    Amy, I do wish you were still here with us in south TX, just think of the projects we could do!

    Rebecca, you are right about choosing to not be overwhelmed... I am in the middle of an article for the Wishstudio on that topic. We are in control of how we see our lives and it really is important in setting the tone of our lives and taming our responses to our kids. that is why building a community of mothers with a positive view of motherhood is so important, we can inspire each other.

  9. Anonymous1:12 AM

    Very, very cool!

  10. Excellent photos!

    I think I need someone like Shannon (or you!) to help me set up a schedule for my day. I never seem to get much done probably because I don't plan enough & haven't set up a routine. I really need to work on it! Thanks for the inspiration.


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