Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Make—for a living (or at least for my own sanity!)

Web design is cool and all, but after several years of doing it, just like with any other job, my passion for some aspects of it has diminished a bit.

I’m not sure that I can pull this off, but if I could, I would love, LOVE!, to become an illustrator, and to get back to making handmade things, and why not? Make a living out of it… Or at least generate some revenue. Throughout my life I’ve always found opportunities to craft items or make art, and when I was a teenager I used to make a lot of things and successfully sell them at school. It just doesn’t feel right then, not to attempt this at least once in my life. Not with marketplaces at my fingertips like Etsy, which I recently discovered.

Illustration may be a much longer shot, and I definitely would need to invest some time and energy on more formal training. But even if I can’t get good enough to sell my art to clients, the least I could probably do is to sell drawings to sites like istockphoto, and maybe use my own illustrations on the things I make.

Yesterday was my first official “mommy’s afternoon off”. Although I used 70% of my free time shopping for Joaquin’s growing body (when else can I do it if the kid still hates going out?), I made a point of stopping at Barnes & Noble at least for my favorite guilty drink (Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino) and a quick looksie at some ammunition to read during Joaquin’s going–out–of–existence naps. What showed up while slurping my drink made my little heart beat faster. I found “Cute Stuff” and “The Paper Home”, and I knew it in my gut: I have to get back to my roots. I need to.

Taking care of Joaquin is beautiful and rewarding, and I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I reasonably can in case he’s the only child I ever have. But a lot of times it can also test my patience like nothing else in the world. Bollitos should understand how cranky and difficult they can be when they skip their naps. Somebody who speaks baby, please tell’em!… In the meantime, I’m excited to have found a little long–term dream I can cherish in the solitude of motherhood. That’s why I found it amusing when this morning Joaquin’s little hand found and grabbed my book. He let out a squeal of surprise and joy, and quickly moved to flipping the cover. It made me wonder: Will this bollo stop me from pursuing this project?… or will he be my inspiration?… It could really go either way.

Let's make cute stuff


  1. On , Petie wrote:

    I can’t wait to see what “cute stuff” you come up with. Everyone loves your taste and the beautiful birdie you made Joaquin.

    By the way, I did buy the “butterfly” pillow from IKEA yesterday! :) I have to finish changing up the playroom (making a slip cover for the ottoman in there now and recovering the chair in there) and then I can take a picture for you. :)

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    Thank you Petie!… Well, hopefully it will be cute, and then my sweet little nieces can get cute handmade presents every once in a while : )

    Can’t wait to see the playroom…

  3. On , Marla wrote:

    Go Maria! Losing yourself in craft is soothing when you always feel a demand on your time and your body. I hope you’re inspired. Your stuff is gorgeous and I’m sure that motherhood has brought you a different perspective. I’ll be glad to offer encouragement and prodding anytime.;)

  4. On , Maria wrote:

    I’ll need that Marla… So many of my plans (more so long–term projects) seem to disappear like water through my fingers now that I’m a mom. There’s no time for anything different than the most basic things (bathe, eat, maybe sleep).