I think we can all relate to the feeling of losing your self identity as a new mom. When you can barely be bothered brushing your teeth and your three pairs of pajama pants are on constant rotation. You are surviving on mouthfuls of whatever you can shove in your mouth fast enough before the baby wakes up, and you have probably forgotten what your voice sounds like in an adult conversation (besides calling the internet guys for the one hundredth time this month.)
I get it mama, trust me I do! I know the feeling of “wait, who am I again?”… I really freaking do! I spent River’s first year just completely consumed in my role as a mother and a housewife, and in the midst of all that, I just forgot about looking after me.
Instead of researching off beat destinations I was cooking curry twice a day and breastfeeding around the clock. I swapped my vibrant silk skirts and crochet tops for leggings and stained t-shirts. I was just not me anymore, and I didn’t know if I would ever come back.
And Then Desperation Led Me To Etsy
One day my husband came home and was like “oh, I think I might need to look for a new job.” It was like getting my nipple bitten by a toddler! Jeez I freaked out. I went into survival mode and thought of all of the things that I could start that would generate some income ASAP
Long story short, Sudan didn’t lose his job that day. What did happen though, was I started an Etsy shop selling printables. Now, these printables were uuuuugly. I had no idea what I was doing on Illustrator or Photoshop, or even what kind of printables people wanted to buy.
But, I got into it and I kept learning. I spent Rivers day naps lying beside her in our bed with the laptop propped up on a pillow (co-sleeping life) and at night when she finally would go to sleep at 10pm I would do the same until well past midnight.
At first I was tired and drained and like I was just running blind at nothing… Until the sales came in
I sold my first printable picture about a month after I started my first Etsy store. I woke up one morning to a notification on my phone that somebody had purchased not one, but two of my pictures! I had made a whopping $18 and I was stoked!
When Sudan got home for breakfast after milking the cows, I couldn’t wait to tell him! I felt so proud. He thought it was just kind of funny and was like “oooooh cool Becci you made $18 for a month’s worth of work ha-ha” sort of thing.
Well, that just fuelled the fire and I wasn’t done yet.
I made over $1000 profit last month
Eight months on and I am now cracking the thousand dollar a month mark. My Etsy shop has evolved from ugly printables to pretty t-shirts. I taught myself about print on demand and how to draw designs using an iPad.
I am not usually one to say this, but I am pretty freaking proud of myself! I know that $1000 a month isn’t huge, but it’s money that I am making while feeding my child or painting in the sun with her. It’s money that I can help pay for our trip to Nepal this year, and hopefully many more!
Sometimes I get ten, twelve, thirteen notifications a day telling me that I reviewed a new order. Every time I get these notifications I don’t just feel successful – I feel sexy and intelligent and cool again!
When you start to see that you can have a career and be at home with your child at the same time, you kinda just feel like Superwoman!
When you start to see growth and success in whatever you decide that you want to work on, you really start to see that anything is possible – even with kids!
You’re making money and you’re making snacks at the same time and it’s a pretty empowering feeling.
You will start to see changes in yourself as your business grows. Slowly you will start to feel creative sparks flying and you will begin thinking about wearing something nice again – because although you might just be at home your day is still going to be action packed!
I love that I am still capable of learning new skills and slowly these skills are started to re-shape my identity and how I see myself. Yeah, I may not be a nomadic drifter in the wind – but I am way more than that now! I am a mother, a designer, a writer and a super juggler of tasks. One day soon I know that I will be able to travel long term with my family, but in a fashionably responsible and stable way of course 😉
Having your own income is so empowering
I have worked since I was 15. I worked on prawn trawlers, I worked behind bars, in hostels, in supermarkets. I’ve worked all around the world and 99% of the time managed to stay afloat on my own. Okay, there may have been a few cases where I have been stranded in foreign countries with no money and overdue visas and had to be saved buuuuut for the most part I have always been very independent.
At first, having Sudan bring in all the money was fine. I have never liked working that much, so to have him do it all was cool. But then slowly it became less cool. Having to ask for money to buy a mascara or new leggings (only pants I buy lol) was starting to become really shit.
Sudan is usually pretty good, even though sometimes he thinks I spend money on stuff we don’t need. But it just started to feel like I was asking my mum for pocket money, and as a 25 year old it kinda sucks.
I didn’t feel in control of anything.
I even started putting my “business investments” like photoshop and tailwind subscriptions on the credit card because I didn’t want Sudan to see them on our bank statement and ask why I was spending all this money on nonsense things.
Now though, I have my own money! Yeah, it’s still like shared, but I now have a sense of power and say in how we spend our money. I can say things like “we could live in Bali for 6 months at the end of the year” without Sudan being all like “oh yeah, and how are you going to be able to pay for that?”
You kind of feel like you’re in amongst the action of the big wide world again
You know what it’s like being a stay at home mom. You just feel kind of isolated and alone. Like the world outside is carrying on and moving ahead without you. I mean, yeah being at home with a toddler is pretty action packed (similar to being a hurricane relief volunteer), but it can feel like you are just on a little bubble by yourself.
Now when I am scrolling on social media, instead of feeling like I couldn’t relate to empowering quotes and entrepreneur bad ass women kicking ass, I kind of feel like I do. I’m at home, but as soon as I open my laptop and start creating things, I am amongst the rest of the world. I am creating things and building a career, just like all of the cool women I see every day on my Instagram feeds. It doesn’t matter to me any more that I don’t look like them, or that my house is not perfectly tidy, because I am now confident in myself enough not to care.
You can do it to – I promise
You don’t have to have hours of time every day. You don’t have to have a seperate office. You don’t have to be educated – you just need some drive and desire to learn.
I dropped out of high school (to join the Navy and then decided I didn’t like doing push ups so I went travelling). I have never had any formal education and considered myself to have zero special skills.
Besides travelling, I didn’t really think I knew about anything. I thought there was no way that I would ever create something that would bring me any actual money.
I was flakey as hell – or as I like to call it now “a dabbler”. I never stuck to anything and started and failed at that many things that I thought success was just not something that I was capable of.
But I stuck to it this time. My Etsy shop is steadily growing and so is my blog. I’m so happy with myself and I honestly just want other women to feel this feeling too!