SPOTLIGHT | Ellie Knaus


I have listened to Ellie on her podcast 'Atomic Moms' ever since I gave birth to my daughter almost two years ago.  This woman is the real deal.  She is everything real, raw and fun.  Ellie and I have been in touch off and on over the past two years and I have always enjoyed how she is consistently herself and a grounded human being.  Find Ellie and her work : on iTunes & the Atomic Moms Website

How would you describe yourself?

My toddler would describe me as her personal assistant, my husband would call me his "manic pixie" pain in the butt, and I would describe myself as a sloppy perfectionist.  (But hey, aren't there studies out there saying that messy types are more creative?) I have to admit I spend a lot of time in negotiations with my critical thoughts, or what I like to call the Tribunal of A**holes in my mind.  And as much as I struggle with self-judgment, I am extremely empathetic towards others.  I am learning to accept that I'm definitely at my worst when I'm "over-prepared" and at my best when all my ducks aren't in a row, when I just have to let my instincts kick in.  Also, I'm pretty goofy and I laugh a lot. 

What role does creativity play in your life?

Excuse me while I get melodramatic for a moment: without creativity, WHAT IS THE POINT?!!! Creativity is the magic of life.  I love creating my podcast every week but never have I ever had to be more creative than in my role as mother.  When you forget to bring diaper wipes on a cross-country flight, you've got to get creative.  When it's been raining for three days straight and you're home with a kid who can't read yet and who shouldn't watch hours of television, you've got to get creative.  When you realize that you've been so consumed by the other creative aspects of your life that you haven't gone to the grocery store and now you have to pack a school lunch at 11pm, you get creative.  

What are you currently working on?

I'm in the middle of researching, recording, and editing our upcoming episodes of Atomic Moms Podcast.  On the show, we explore the joys and complexities of caring for our children and ourselves.  I interview best-selling authors, parenting experts, and moms around the world.  It's really important to me that each show feels fresh and honest.  Celebrating the messiness of motherhood is a very big deal to me.  And our international tribe of mom listeners keep us accountable.  If it were just up to me, I'd spend my whole life writing and never showing anyone any of it.  It's imperative that I be accountable to others and have a deadline.  That's when I'm most creative.  

What was the last book/movie/podcast etc. that left an impression on you?

I have a New York Times magazine clipping taped to my desk that I'll slap on a vision board if I ever get around to making one.  Sarah Jessica Parker says: "I have always loved to read for the same reason I love to act, which is that other people's stories are more interesting than my own."  While I think there is enormous value in exploring one own's story, this quote always propels me forward when I'm feeling a bit self conscious about sharing on the podcast.  It reminds me that the process of creation is so much bigger than any one of us.  And it reminds me of the Meisner acting technique:  "Put your attention on the other person."  When we do that, in acting, or in conversation, we drop our self-consciousness and end up revealing a much more authentic part of ourselves in the process. 

What advice would you give to other creatively drive people? 

Fill your creative tank every single day.  Befriend artists in different creative fields.  Some of us "creatively driven" types are so damn serious.  Use every excuse you have to PLAY.  And take more showers than is good for the environment...That's where I get my best ideas.