Mama’s Circle

So I’ve mentioned before how amazing The Crybaby Club is. How affirming it is to belong to a wonderful group of human beings who get what it’s like to be tough and tender. A safe place to be vulnerable and make real connections. As wonderful as they all are, most are physically far away, around the country, around the world. Super cool and real, but there’s also a need to have people to meet up with in the real world and do life with.

I recently experienced one of those magical moments when the stars align and the universe brings you exactly where you need to be. I reached out to a friend from high school, (I used to drive her to school in my ’66 Mustang – how I miss that car), and got real about how lonely I had been, especially since becoming a mother. She mentioned a friend of hers she thought I’d get on well with, so she connected us and I invited her and her son over for a play date. We connected on many levels and before she left she mentioned the mom’s group she’s part of and their upcoming park day, inviting me to come meet them.

I felt an instant connection with these lovely mama’s. They were authentic and awesome and they welcomed me with open arms. Cue happy dance!

Suddenly I have friends again! Places to be! Things to do! People to see! Mama’s Circle has park days once a week, moms’ night out about once a month, play dates, and friend time scheduled on our own. We stay connected via our group’s Facebook page, but the focus is on getting together in real life and it’s glorious.

JPEG

Dear lonely mama’s out there, I highly recommend finding your local mom’s group or making your own! Your fellow mama’s will be so very glad you did, I promise you.

I hadn’t realized just how lonely and isolated I had become, until it reached critical levels. Now I’m learning to balance my introverted nature with my social needs. Not burrowing for too long, remembering to also bloom. Taking time to recharge alone, but not staying alone too long. Not letting it get to such critical levels again before reaching out.

We’re not meant to do this alone. We need people to listen who understand because they’ve been there too. Friends we can talk to and be our vulnerable authentic selves with. The validation is invaluable.

I’d begun to doubt it was possible to find my people. I thought maybe those times were behind me or yet to come again – in about 18 years. This season of life can be so hard and isolating, but it’s easier when we come together. The burden gets lighter and the joys brighter.

It’s also a surprisingly wonderful way to collaborate and share our talents with our small businesses. You may think you’ve thought of everything, but simply getting together with a friend can reveal all sorts of “why didn’t I think of that” ideas and connections. Just talking about my shop with someone else keeps things fresh and growing. The honest feedback and “you can do this” support makes it easier to stay motivated and inspired. I’ve also traded doll slings for photographs with my friend and fellow mama, Lee Anne of Petal & Vine Photography. (Her birth photography and family portraits are particularly amazing).

5DB23342

When I was little my mom was in a similar mom’s group and that allowed me to grow up with lots of friends and adults I could trust outside my own family. I’m so glad I’ve found these lovely ladies. I needed them and my little guy needed friends around his age. Now we both have a community where we belong. It feels so right to be back in my hometown doing life with this wonderful community of brave mama’s of all kinds. I am so grateful for these wonderful mama’s and their sweet little ones.

Are you part of your local mom’s group? What do you guys like to do? How do you stay connected? Has it changed your life the way mine has changed mine? I’d love to hear your stories! 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Interview with Luggabug

After featuring one of her gorgeous ring slings in a Treasury Tuesday Jessica of Luggabug and I got to talking and found that we have lots in common! Among other things, we’re both work at home mamas who made special things for our babies and decided to share them with the world!

Tell a bit about yourself.

I’m a work-at-home mother of one (so far.) I grew up in Southeastern Idaho in a small town called Pocatello. I met the love of my life at a hot dog cart in Boise, ID, which led to Southern California. I enjoy the sunlight, tea, giggles and cuddles with my family, and of course – creating. Sewing, painting, crochet, haircutting, music making.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

I’m a little bit of a geek. I’m really into space themed sci-fi stuff, mostly thanks to my husband.. like the Ender’s Game series, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate Atlantis.

What inspires you to create?

Three things, I’d say.

My generation is starting to get into quilting and embroidery, and I love all the modern quirky fabrics coming out as a result! I still have a soft spot for vintage stuff too, so I try to fuse them together in my work.

I love sharing my art. I used to give away all of my paintings. I feel like once I’ve poured my love and effort into it, it’s not mine anymore and it has to be shared.

I started working at 14, and always liked the structure and consistency of having a job.  Although being a mom is a really tough job, it’s a different kind of job. It makes me feel good to create things that contribute to the family income, and to set and make my own personal tangible goals.

What did you like to do when you aren’t crafting?

I have a fantastic moms group in my area that does park day meetups and field trips. I also really enjoy reading, singing with my son, and hanging out with the husband.  

What is your dream in life, other than having a successful Etsy shop?

I want to live on a chunk of land with plenty of children, love, and fruit trees to go around. And a perfectly organized workspace. (Ha!)

How did you get started making ring slings?

I was pregnant with my son, searching and searching for a sling that was both affordable and adorable. If it was cute, it was usually a wrap conversion (and out of my price range.) If it was affordable, it didn’t make my heart sing with consumer joy. So I made my own! After that, I wanted to share the love. I thought… there have to be other moms out there who are looking for the same things I like. I should do this!

What is your creative process like?

When I see a fabric that gives me butterflies, I start to brainstorm the best way to display it. I try to find a coordinating fabric that will either contrast or compliment nicely, depending on the feel of the print. From there, it’s just adjusting the lines on the pattern to match what’s in my head. The rest is an assembly line, basically. I’m currently practicing embroidery, and experimenting with new patterns and styles of applique. So stay tuned for that!

I love the shapes of your coordinating fabric, like this one I haven’t seen ring slings like that. What was the inspiration?

Thank you! I loved how tulas and mei tais were decked out with cool fabrics, and noticed that the ring sling community was missing out. I saw fabric I loved, but quilter’s cotton isn’t strong enough to use alone. It was important to me to make safe, CPSIA compliant carriers. So I found a reliable linen source to use as the structural fabric. Then, I played around with different shapes and sizes of applique until I found a few that I loved.

Where can you be found online? (besides on Etsy)

I have an instagram account @luggabug where I post updates, sneak peeks, discounts, and behind-the-scenes photos.

How did you come up with your store name?

Early on, a friend on facebook asked what I was going to make. I said “Something to lug around babies in.” It came to me pretty quick after that, because I had already been playing around with rhyming names.

Any tips for others wanting to start a handmade business?

Sure! There’s a couple things I figured out that I didn’t think about in the very beginning, but they’re important. First – find and follow laws and regulations applicable to your product. Especially children’s products. Then – don’t let the bureaucracy discourage you. It’s kind of a frustrating mess, but it will make your life easier and it’s important.

Also – take the time to figure out your demographic. Think about if there’s a real demand for what you have to offer. Is anyone else offering it already? What sets you apart?

Finally – at some point you have to just take a deep breath and put something out there! You don’t have to start perfect, you just have to start somewhere.