Shower Thoughts: The May Holiday

I got an email the other day from our friends (and collaboration partner), Yearly Co. The gist of the email was “if you’d like to be temporarily removed from our list while we send Mother’s Day content, please let us know.” Wow. What a message. I love this so much and for so many reasons. I also felt a large sense of pride swell in me knowing that we actually work with this wonderful company - talk about being in good company! Being sensitive to those who don’t want to be bombarded by a holiday in which they feel detached, uncomfortable, or any other way around is an incredible example to follow.


(I’m about to share a bit about my motherhood journey so if this is uncomfortable to you in any way, just skip to the last paragraph where I share how you can be temporarily removed from our list, too.)


Becoming a mother myself while also trying to run a business (let’s be honest, my first child) has been, without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I remember people saying things like that before I was ever pregnant, and I assumed I could understand, could sympathize. But it’s the strangest thing, something I didn’t even quite understand while I was in it. Only now, three years later, do I see how it’s so deeply affected both me as a human and me as a business owner. It was the height of the pandemic, we had just moved to Charleston, bought a two bedroom home (in which we were both planning to work), and the stick turned pink. I had to google an OB, that’s how new we were to the area. I was terrified. Lord have mercy am I glad she is here now (my guilty conscious says as I type this, filled with fear that strangers on the internet will read these words). But it’s true - we were nervous and unsure; she was a surprise, to say the least. I’ve spent the last three years (she’s now three), writing letters to her as the topics arise, much like these Shower Thoughts - only they’re lessons I want to share with her, as they randomly come into my brain. Lessons on friendship, on moving, on the state of the world. So I suppose I could consider this ST to be a lesson on my experience of being a mother in business, sort of.


Since her impending arrival came as a bit of a shock, I had to immediately switch into my type-A planner-self and figure out a plan. At 5 months pregnant, I found a brilliant marketer turned friend in Charleston, Allie, who agreed to help take over the day to day functions of the business so I could enjoy “maternity leave.” (I say it in quotes because I was back on my computer checking in on stuff a week after G was born.) Allie stayed on to help with the business until we moved to Atlanta. As far as personal help goes, from the time G was born until she was 8 months old, we had a sitter (whoever the heck would answer my desperate texts; I think we had 4-5 people on rotation in eight months and the final two months of CHS life we were on our own) 2-3 days a week for a few hours at a time. In short, I maybe got 8-10 hours a week to work. And if G didn’t nap? Maybe 4. And I was the primary caregiver in our home. Hobbs helped when he was able, but my work always allowed for more flexibility than his. Not to mention, because we hadn’t bought a home big enough to allow for two work-from-home situations, I had to find a studio space. When G was a few months old, I moved into a different studio space - all the while, trying to establish myself and my business in Charleston (I had no idea we’d only be there such a short amount of time). When we chose to leave Charleston for Atlanta (where I had family in and nearby, plus Hobbs was offered a well-deserved promotion), G was 10 months old. We bought a house on FaceTime (the second time in two years we’d done this), and moved our family of four (I shall always include the dog(s) in my count ;)) slightly West.


In Atlanta, we had zero outside childcare the first 2 months. Looking back on our revenue, it’s abundantly clear that we had no childcare in Jan-Mar of 2022 because sales completely tanked. I worked whenever I could during naps. Other creatives will know it’s damn near impossible to “turn on” your creativity exactly when needed. So on top of keeping a human alive and a business afloat, I was trying to learn a new skill of turning my creativity on on-demand. Another divine intervention came when we met L, our part-time nanny for G when she was 12-18 months old. But still, L only came 3-4 days a week, and now I no longer had Allie for work help. I was trying to get more clients, make more sales, reach impossible goals with zero time to work on them, and I felt like I was spinning my damn wheels with no results almost everyday. Remember how I said I was a type-A planner? Yeah, God laughed at me on that one.


The thing about motherhood (and sometimes business) is you can plan and plan and plan - and then you can throw all your plans out the window. Naps don’t happen on the schedule you want, milestones are never exactly on target, and you can’t plan your brain out of losing its balance. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and severe anxiety at 4 months postpartum and continued to struggle with it for almost two years. I owe a lot to a dear friend who saw my struggles and gently forced me to share with my husband and doctor. I found talk therapy, got brave about sharing what was going on in my head with those closest around me, and recognized I needed help. (If you ever want to talk further on this topic, I am an open book and happy to share my experience.) I wish I could give you a date of when it ended, but that’s just not how life works. Motherhood changed me in ways I may never fully understand - I do still experience some anxiety, although minuscule compared to before. But the things I appreciate most that motherhood and my experience the past three years gave me are perspective and assuredness. I don’t waste my time on things that aren’t worth it anymore; and I have a clearer vision of what I find to be important. It’s ironic to me that one of the things I lost to my PPDA (confidence in myself) is one of the greatest gains I’ve experienced since being on the other side of it.


Do I regret continuing my business during those first two years of motherhood despite inadequate childcare and personal struggles? Absolutely not. I needed it. I needed the purpose of helping clients, using my brain creatively on something bigger than myself - and I still need that today. G is in mostly full-time care now (we adore her school), and work-wise, I’ve found what can only be described as divine intervention again in Ranna, our studio manager. With Ranna’s help, last year we grossed our highest revenue ever, and we’re expecting even more this year. I’m able to give around 30 hours a week to work now - a choice I’ve made (not one that was made for me) so I can pick my daughter up from school everyday at 3:30 and enjoy time with her. And honestly? The hours I give to work feel like plenty of time. With help from coaches, an internal team, my pr gals, etc, I get to spend that time doing the things I love and that I know require my personal attention (though there’s always room for improvement, and we’re always looking for incredible talent at MFM so get in touch if you’d ever want to work with us).


All of this was a very long-winded way of saying - I get that the upcoming May holiday can give complicated feelings. I’ve had complicated feelings with it for years. If you’d like to be removed from any email marketing about it, let us know! We’re not the savviest in tech, but we’ll figure out how to get you temporarily removed from our list so your peace is protected.


**PS - Orders for our collaboration bangles, the Birch Bangles with Yearly Company, end tonight, 4/8! I love that Yearly’s bangles are sized to fit your specific wrist size. They don’t have clasps like ours do, so you can wear them all the time (sleep, swim, shower, etc) and feel confident they’ll last forever. Plus, this time, we’re offering them in all three metal colors. If you’re a no-clasp bangle kind person, go grab one before they’re gone!

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