A day with Dean
When I decided to start a business and work for myself it was partly because I knew that I would want a flexible schedule when I had a kid. A work schedule that allows me to make a full time income on part-time office hours. A schedule that lets me take him to the swings on a Monday afternoon as he gets excited at the sight of city buses and smiles at the other kids.
I’m proud to say that I’ve been working this magical unicorn of a work schedule for the past year with only a very small dip in sales (but actually the same income) compared to 2015. I can spend Mondays and Fridays with this cute little guy around our Brooklyn neighborhood. These days are usually filled with Dean crawling around the crossfit gym while I back squat what feels like a million pounds, a stop of the local coffee shop, and the swings. Always the swings.
There is constantly a lot of chatter in the part of the internet where all of the entrepreneur moms hang out about the struggle to put down our phones when we are with our kids. To stop trying to multi-task, to be present, to be at work when we are at work and with family when we are at family.
I have an idea: stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. Who cares if you respond to an email every now and then? Just because you became a mom doesn’t mean you have to stare at your kid every second of the day.
For a good fifteen minutes that he’s on the swings I’m responding to emails and posting to instagram. I don’t feel guilty about it. He’s having a blast pointing at trucks and could care less at what I’m doing. He’s constrained in the swing – can’t fall down the stairs, eat an acorn, or slap the other kids at the park – it’s a rare thirty minutes on Mondays and Fridays that my eyes and ears don’t have to be glued to him.
He smiles in the swing and I check in on my clients.
Moccasins c/o Freshly Picked.
Why Wedding Decor Details Matter: the story of a baby quilt
If you read the introduction to the Michelle Edgemont Shop blog post, you might remember a little story I told about scrounging up interesting textiles to use as table linens at my wedding. For anyone who didn’t read that post, 1) how dare you, and 2) a little back story…
I planned, designed, and decorated my own wedding in 2009. We threw a seated dinner reception for 100 guests on a budget that, basically, was, how to I put this, as tight as the slightly inappropriate shorts I wear to Crossfit. No more room to squeeze in anything not absolutely necessary. Since I love a challenge, love designing, love textile design, and love searching for treasures – off to flea markets, random side of the road barns, and fabric stores to find some fun color to jazz up our plain reception space.
I found vintage bed sheets (the pink and blue floral), retro curtains (the green and teal geometric), and modern cotton twill (the navy and pink fabric) that would all soon decorate the tables at my wedding reception full of our closest loved ones. The vintage, shabby chic look was all the rage for weddings back in 2009.
Our best people dined and laughed and cried over these linens. People who have since passed away, like my grandfather and my dad, ate a meal over these beautiful fabrics that I spend hours searching for.
Since our reception, the fabrics spent five years in our wedding memory box buried in a closet. I had always wanted to make something out of them, but never really got around to it or had much inspiration. Then I got pregnant. The weeks leading up to my due date were spent eating spicy food, bouncing on a yoga ball, and sewing this baby quilt out of the fabrics that I used as table linens at my wedding. Eight days past my due date, I was still hand stitching the binding over a gigantic belly full of baby.
This quilt now has a bigger story. It has a legacy that can be passed down. I can say to Dean when he’s at an age when he’ll care, let’s say 25, “your dad and I were married around these fabrics and you used this quilt when you were a baby.” Then, in my biggest dreams, my grandkids will use the quilt too.
This is why wedding decor details matter.
The details matter in the long run. They matter when you can fetch a keepsake out of a dusty box in a closet to show your kids something from your wedding. I couldn’t have made this quilt from the basic white linens provided by my caterer. You can’t display a cake topper in your home if you didn’t purchase one. That incredible custom welcome sign? Yep, it won’t be hung in the foyer of your first home if you didn’t have one welcoming your guests at your ceremony.
For me, I finished the quilt the day before I gave birth at over a week past my due date. Since then, I took Dean’s monthly photos on it (month 3 and month 9 above), played on it, napped with it, and all around treasured it as a memento from all of my favorite people (two of which are no longer here) being all in the same room in 2009.
The details aren’t about throwing a “blog-worthy” wedding. They aren’t about impressing your friends or living up to your pinterest board. And for goodness sake, please do not go into debt over some party decor. The decor details are about creating an aesthetic space at your reception that makes you feel relaxed, rejuvenated, loved, cared for – however you want your wedding to feel. Keepsakes, mementos, that little, physical piece of your wedding that you can decorate your home with – that’s what the decor details are for.
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Shopping the flower market with a baby
My dad used to say something along the lines of being sure to always have the right tool for whatever project you are doing. The tool is going to make or break the project. It’s either going to be easy, simple, like deciding to finish off a summer bbq with a scoop of ice cream. Or the experience is going to be hell, like having gestational diabetes for the whole summer of ’14 and not being to eat any ice cream, because the tool you choose is not working for you. Owning a business with a baby, I have learned in the past nine months, is either going to be blissful or the seventh layer of hell depending on your tools. In this case, the diaper bag.
I get asked a lot by my industry friends how it’s going with Dean. Am I able to get work done? How do I balance my time? First, I get most of my work done Tuesday through Thursday when we have a nanny. Getting any kind of computer work finished and taking care of a baby simultaneously is impossible. Our nanny is amazing. She cleans my kitchen. She loves on Dean. She imparts her mother wisdom on me.
Mondays, Fridays when I don’t have events, and early morning flower market runs are Dean and mommy time. I first took him to the flower market when he was five weeks old. I had him in a carrier and he slept the whole time. When I reached down to grab flowers, the diaper bag I had at the time fell off my shoulder.
Reach while trying to balance the bag on my butt. Fall.
Put bag on wet, dirty floor. Reach for flowers, run out of hands to pick bag back up off of floor.
I was slowly entering the seventh layer of hell at 6:30am on two hours of sleep with my hands full of hundreds of dollars of flowers, a cuddly baby, and a bag that was making my experience less than enjoyable.
Had my industry friends seen me then, their next stop would have been the drugstore for a lifetime supply of condoms.
Look at this picture! The diaper bag isn’t going anywhere! Both of my hands are free! It’s a miracle. Actually, it’s a lily-jade, buttery smooth, leather diaper bag that can be worn as a backpack and has basically changed my life. I can take Dean to the flower market with me, choose all the flowers I want, and the bag doesn’t go anywhere. My job is suddenly much more enjoyable at 6:30am in midtown. Which is why I’ve started this whole shebang, right? To be fully enjoying myself at all hours of the day? Thank you, lily-jade diaper bag.
It’s all about the tools. Dean and I can jet around the city buying fabric, ribbon, and props for my clients’ weddings without an annoying bag falling off my shoulder every two seconds. I’m happier. He’s happier. We are all happier. The world keepings turning and the flowers get bought and no one is annoyed to the edge of exhaustion. Because that’s why I started this business is the first place, right? To be happier. To be able to simultaneously hang with my kid and get a few work errands done.
Thank you to Lily-jade for the beautiful bag and for restoring sanity to my NYC errands with a nine month old. Baby wrap: Solly Baby. Shirt: Old Navy. Jeans: high rise BCBG. Photos by brklyn view photography.