As we started planning our Mother's Day campaign this year, I knew I wanted to do something different. We love celebrating moms and daughters and all types of women, but being a mom is so woven into why I started a business that I wanted to do something more personal.
Bear with me because for today's blog post I want to go back in time a bit and share my origin story and how for me motherhood really goes hand in hand with starting Nickel & Suede and so many other things that I do. I'm often asked how I do it all- and I don't have a great answer for that, but I what I can answer is WHY I do it all. So, let's dive in.
I got married young, in college, and soon after graduating I found out that I was pregnant. I was surprised, but happy and the timing seemed to fit. I had always wanted to be a mom and expected that being a stay-at-home mom like my mom had been, would be my path. We made a move to Seattle after college and my husband Soren started his career.
While I was pregnant, I had a part-time retail job and a lot of free time. To my surprise I really struggled. I learned later that I suffer from intense anxiety during pregnancy. For those nine months in the PWN I was battling depression, anxiety, loneliness, and really a lack of purpose. I tried taking a pottery class and going to the gym, but I was floundering. I thought that if I could hang in there, having a baby would fix everything I was struggling with. I knew it would keep me busy and give me back my sense of purpose.
Our oldest son Easton was born on Mother's Day in 2009. I was so overcome with joy and gratitude. I got to work doing my best to be a new mom, but again to my surprise, motherhood didn't fix all the things.
I quickly learned that having a newborn gave me a lot of downtime. I was ready to be busy, but I was kind of shocked at how much free time I still had as a new mom. Babies sleep, a lot. So, during naptime I learned I still needed something for me. When Easton was about six weeks old we had the idea to start our first Etsy shop and working in that shop saved me.
Once I opened my Etsy shop, I felt like a new part of me had come back online. I felt more like myself than I had in a long time. I was learning, I was creating. I was designing. I was taking care of myself in a way that I didn't know I needed. It was like a big gulp of fresh air and sunshine. Orders were not booming at first, in fact they were few and far between, but the real joy in it all was having something interesting to do! My personal drive was back.
I learned a critical lesson during those early years about being a mom. Even though I had taken on a new phase and a new calling in life- I was still me. I was still the me I had become until that point. Becoming a mom was a new job title, but it didn't replace who I was. And if I tried to let it and neglected the me that is the real me- I still felt kind-of empty.
I started to visualize a plant inside my heart that needs to be nurtured- my heart plant. If needs to be cared for or like most plants I adopt, it shrivels up and dies. No matter how great I do at taking care of other people's plants (my kids, my husband, my friends, or my employees), if I neglect my own heart-plant- I suffer. I'm unhappy, empty, and I don't have any new skills or knowledge to offer those I love- or the world at large. I fully believe that all women need do the things that helps their plants grow inside themselves. We need to feed and water her, we need to learn new skills, we need to create. Those are the things that light us up and keep new growth happening inside us.
Motherhood is one of my absolute favorite roles and it has made me better in so many ways. But I also live out motherhood differently than I had planned. As a full-time working mom, I now get to influence and am a steward over so many people. I do my best to put my family first and find ways to keep myself alive and learning and growing. It's a journey and I hope to inspire other women to honor their full selves as well- in all their varieties!
This next month as we celebrate Mother's Day, I'll be sharing a blog series celebrating and encouraging the many sides of women. I love and admire so many mothers in my life, and there are so many sides of them that I celebrate. We ought to encourage the women around us to grow their heart-plants. We can see them for the women that they are and thank them for all the sacrifices they make to be mothers and caretakers.
Today we launched our Mother's Day capsule and it's really a celebration of all the different sides of me and personas that I take on. I've curated many of my favorite things and there is something for everyone. I have a lot of different interests and style personas- you honestly never know what I'll wear next. But I enjoy it all and this capsule really captures that. I can't wait to hear what you love!
Happy early Mother's Day and remember, I'm more than a mom, you are more than a mom, your mom is more than a mom- and that's such a wonderful thing!