5 Lessons Learned as a Mompreneur

My daughter is turning ONE. It has gone by so fast but also feels like life without her just never existed. I’m getting nostalgic as I reflect on L’s first year of life, my baby is so big!

I’ve learned so much in the last 12 months having the little squirt home with me full-time and juggling work as a creative entrepreneur = mompreneur. She has taught me endless lessons and I’ve changed significantly but there are a few things she’s really drilled into me that also applies to my creative work and practices:
  1. Slow the heck down
    Ok so she’s has MADE me slow down, immensely. Talk about a crash course in patience. I’ve had to let all those multitasking dreams, get up and go attitude and  focus-focus mindset go and just play peekaboo for the millionth time because it makes for one happy baby. Also, resting and being present in the moment can be pretty great too.
  2. Done is better than perfect 
    So, I was already working on this one but the little babe just helped push me over the edge to ‘team good enough.’ Designers can get so knit picky and sometimes you just gotta let it go because no one else will know (or care!) that that single pixel is out of place.
  3. Finish what you start 
    Ok, seems obvious but now I really don’t have time to jump back into something or get back on that same train of thought so I gotta wrap it up and not leave anything half baked or without a plan for the next step. (This is really for personal projects and content creation that has no urgency to dive back in).
  4. The art of distraction
    You can get over almost anything if you’re well distracted. Sometimes it’s an emotional rollercoaster over here but you gotta harness that and put it to good use!
  5. A brighter tomorrow
    If you have a no good, very bad day just hold out until tomorrow to make a 180. In work you may just need to give it a rest until you’re in a better (perhaps more rested) state of mind. Almost always if L had a whiny, irritable day her best day follows.

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My Year in Review (2017)

January
  •  Rang in the New Year tired, pregnant and sober.
  • Took Society of Creative Founders Squirrel Challenge: goal setting and year planning (I’d never done serious goal setting and reviews before! Doing every year now thanks to this!)
  • Babymoon/last flight trip to New York City
  • Word of year momentum
February
  • JL new member project in my lettering T-shirt
March
  • Attended Creative Founders Conference where I had the best conference experience to date. Overnight and small/intimate is the way to go for me. So much information at this conference I’m still going back to my notes and plan to every year!
  • St. Francesville anniversary weekend getaway
  • Started MALWEST email newsletters
  • Started using Later for instagram which makes social easier and prettier
April
  • My baby shower (which was a lot more work for the mama-to-be than I thought but definitely did that to myself)
  • Had wood floors redone
  • Hired a junior designer (a first MALWEST design hire!)
May
  • Became a mama to baby L — read about the birth here
June
  • Newborn portraits
  • Barely left the house but reemerged into society for my first beer on Father’s Day with the fam. Yep, L’s first outing was to a bar. I had a baby… in a bar. (technically a family friendly brewery)
July
  • Threw a bachelorette party at my house, with a two month old.
August
  • Sedona trip and L’s first wedding/flight.
September
  • First beach day with L
  • Donated 2+ gallons of breast milk this was thanks to a hurricane scare but a definite mom win moment!
October
  • Being Boss NOLA conference/retreat. Met some amazing ladies- I always love NOLA but you know it’s a good trip when the location really didn’t matter.
  • Baptized L
November
  • Ls first Christmas tree cutting. A longstanding family tradition.
  • First CPA meeting for MALWEST design – no more DIY on tax day or even shopping around to find the best book keeping deals but beginning a relationship with a team to keep MWD and the family in check.

 

December
  • Snow in Pensacola!
  • Jax for the holidays
2017 Goals:
My word for the year was momentum and I am happy with the motivation that gave me as well as the results. There were several things I wanted to accomplish/complete in 2017 but when a baby doesn’t nap for two months straight you learn to let things go. Also, “learn to give yourself grace” was some of the best mom-work-life advice I got all year! Another fave was “be in and enjoy your season of life” – I butchered that one but the sentiment is spot on.
Money goals: I didn’t make quite as much in 2017 as I did in 2016, which I anticipated because: baby. I did, however, make what I was expecting/planning for at the beginning of the year so that is a win in my book!
Philanthropy: Proud to say I’ve donated my time, my design services and money to worthy causes this year. They have been for mainly local Pensacola initiatives and I’m satisfied with that.
For 2018 *spoiler alert* my new word is RESET. Stay tuned for what that means for me and for MALWEST design in 2018!

Designing Life: a graphic designer’s birth story

Graphic designers are known to be control freaks. We are detail oriented planners who set up rules and regulations for brands to follow.  We love our to do lists, setting and following guidelines, choosing what’s above the fold etc. I am well aware of this personality trait of mine, so when I was embarking on motherhood I knew I’d have to loosen up a whole heck of a lot. As a first time mom, there were so many things to obsess over but I was determined to make a conscious effort to relax about my birth plan. I decided I’d be very go with the flowwhich to me meant make no set plan. I knew I wanted an epidural and was shooting for a vaginal birth (seemed pretty standard) but was mentally preparing for the necessity of a c-section, just in case. I even took the birth classes so I’d have full exposure to possibilities and how to cope with my optionstotally covering my bases (so I thought)!

40 weeks pregnant rolls around and to my dismay, no baby. At my 40 week appointment my cervix was still completely closed. I had only even felt maybe one Braxton Hicks contraction throughout my entire 40 weeks, but I wasn’t even sure about that! The silver lining to this appointment is my doctor agreed to induce me at 41 weeks on the dot. Induction: not my initial or ideal “plan” but I warmed up to that idea realllly fast (at this point I thought any exit strategy would be ideal).

After adjusting my expectations, I awoke early the next morning to what I believed to be a few contractions. Excited at the prospect of something happening I clocked my contractions until they were coming about 5 minutes apart. After a lot of deliberation we decided I should swing by the hospital, get my cervix checked and just to see if there are any updates (not expecting to stay but maybe to get an idea if things can be sped up a little).

The OB Emergency Center was pretty quiet for the holiday weekend so far but, like all quick hospital drop-ins, the visit took forever! I felt like the staff looked at us like we were silly for wasting our weekend afternoon when I wasn’t huffing and puffing in pain. Fortunately, they seemed less put out when they learned I was full term and the machines confirmed my growing contractions. My cervix had only opened 1 cm (out of 10) so they did not consider it much progress. Being that it was my first baby the doctor and nurses said labor will take a long time so they recommended I go home and eat a meal, take a napprobably through the night, and take a brisk walk to get that baby moving. They said we’ll maybe see you in 24 to 48 hours at least to get this party started and to come back when the contractions hurt so much you can’t talk or breathe through them. At this point it’s after 4pm and my contractions have grown to be uncomfortable and occurring every 3 minutes.

Once we get back home (after an ice cream stop) taking a nap felt like a joke so we decide to take the brisk (and miserable) walk to my mom’s house a few blocks away and back. I’m sure my heavy breathing and breaks every three minutes for a contraction terrified the neighbors, but we did it. Next up is food and/or sleep. Eating anything is no longer an option and neither is sitting much less laying down. I took Tylenol, a trick the nurses suggested, to help the pain and to determine if it’s the real deal or not (if there’s no pain relief then it’s the real deal labor.) Trying to avoid another unnecessary stop at the hospital I waited 1 hour to see if the meds would kick in. I force myself to shower and my nausea comes back. Finally, I’m so miserable I tell my husband, Jake,  we have to go back to the hospital. It’s about 8:30 pm and I waddle to the car my mind only focused on all the real pain meds I’d be getting soon.

We pull up to the hospital and I tell Jake we have to leave the car at the frontno time for parking. Woman on a mission I can’t wait for a wheel chair and book it back to the OB Emergency Center. When I enter there are no questionable looks this time. Despite the very busy waiting area I was immediately made a priority. Jake begins filling out the paperwork as they prep a room for me. I require Jake to stand in the doorway to flag down the doctor immediately. We aren’t usually pushy people but I was not waiting around this time. Fortunately, my pain was very visible and audible so nurses and staff were bustling around to help us. In fact it was my same doctor from a few hours earlier. Jake never makes it back to the car and the doctor reports that I am at 7 cm. The nurses looked shocked as they nod approvingly and congratulate me on the success of that brisk walk. They tell me they are prepping my room in labor and delivery and ask if I want an epidural- I respond “I want all the drugs!”

In minutes I am wheeled in the most uncomfortable wheelchair down to the labor and delivery room but not before my water breaks all over the Emergency Care room. Once we make it to our destination the bustling nurses have cleared and it’s just me, Jake and our delivery nurse, Melissa. As I get into the bed I ask Melissa if my epidural is here, as a clever reminder that I’m ready for it! She quickly checks me and cool and calmly tells me it’s too late and I will not be getting the epidural. My eyes get wide and I respond, “fffff*ck” (I went from 7cm to 10cm in a matter of minutes!) Melissa replies “f*ck is right, but you can do this”. I turn to Jake and say, “This is my nightmare.” In all of my birth plan assessment I knew a natural childbirth could happen, and certainly felt sorry for those ladies, but didn’t think it could ACTUALLY happen to me. Jake attempts to reassure me as I’m convinced I’m not going make it. Alternatively, there is too much pain to really panic so I just do what I’m tolda Jesus and Melissa take-the-wheel moment. Fortunately, Melissa’s calm and helpful demeanor is wonderful, but it’s not over yet. The next hurdle is keeping the baby in until my doctor gets here to deliver. It’s not even my doctor on the way but one of her partners who is on call for the weekend (and I haven’t met), but again there was no time or energy to panic about that.

What feels like an eternity goes by as I hold in every urge to push. I can only focus on the door and the clock as I await the doctor and Melissa gets us prepped for pushing. Barely holding on, I finally see the doctor walk in and it’s go time. It takes three contractions and less than 10 minutes to push my baby all the way out. I felt every little wiggle as she exited and it was amazing. She proceeded to poop all over my stomach and I didn’t even care because she was perfect and I felt like a rock star!

Follow up:

Our car thankfully did not get towed. I was only at the hospital an hour and a half (the second time). There was no time to call family to be at the birth (which was a-ok with us!) I had second degree tearing, which I was told was normal. If I could do anything all over again I don’t think I’d change a thing. Except maybe doing more kegels 🙂

Check back soon for a post about my first week with baby… it’s not exactly part of the birth story but we do make another trip back to our favorite OB Emergency Care…!