How the haze of early motherhood made my path forward clear
I have had a side hustle of one kind or another for a long time. First, it was event design. Then I added calligraphy. Then I started Juniper & Salt with another beautiful mother, selling beautiful wood products online. All the while holding demanding full-time positions at branding agencies, working passionately for some of the best clients and some of the world’s favorite brands.
The term "restless discontent" perhaps defines me. I'm always itching for something new to learn and make my own and for new challenges and ways to stretch myself and what I know. I'm also really bad at sitting still, saying 'no', and taking 'me time'.
So for the past five years, I've been doing some combination of working (more than) full time plus these extras. In that time I also got married, bought a fixer-upper of a house, and try to spend as much time as possible with my husband and our friends. The demands on my time have been consistently, well, demanding.
When I got pregnant this time last year, I knew that something would have to give. I tried to prepare myself for what I would have to give up. I expected that with a new baby my days would be mostly filled with my two full-time jobs - branding and mothering. I didn’t know what would happen to the rest. Would I try to work my extracurriculars in in the very late hours of the day or the wee hours of the morning? Would they just fall away?
But shortly after our girl was born I felt strong tugs that I couldn't ignore. I loved spending time with her and I fell easily into the sweet rhythm of early baby days - waking, feeding, playing, sleeping - wash, rinse, repeat - a completely foreign pace compared to my manic agency days. I was up to the task of the new challenges at hand - breastfeeding, sleep schedules, reflux, fussy days. I also felt an incredibly strong pull creatively (which apparently, is a possible symptom of motherhood). In the moments that my sweet newborn slept, I was drawn back to the pursuits that let me express myself creatively: calligraphy and Juniper & Salt. Trying to scratch this new creative itch that was nagging at me. I was happier than I have ever been.
As the days of my maternity leave from my agency job wore on, a few things became clear. First, that for anything to take me away from our sweet girl I would have to be passionate enough about to miss that time with her. Second, that what I was passionate about had changed. I wanted to build my own brand, stretch my creative muscles on something we'd started from scratch, and really give it a go. After 10+ years in the agency world, I put a pause on that dream to realize this one.
So here I am, figuring out my new roles - as a mother and entrepreneur. In many ways growing a baby and a brand are similar. They require constant care and attention, they will stretch me in unexpected, challenging, and exciting ways, and they will be the cause of many sleepless nights. But they are both such worthy endeavors and I am incredibly excited to be here and excited for you to be along on this journey with us. I'm also unendingly grateful for the support of my husband and family, who saw that this path was the right one for me, and our family, well before I could.
We'd love to hear from you...how were you inspired to make a big change? Do you want to hear more personal stories from us? Let us know in the comments!
Photography by Danielle Hulsey