What My Three Year Old Taught Me About Goal Accomplishment

This is not another potty training blog post, except it kinda is. In September of 2015, all of Phee’s local buddies were potty training so I thought we should ride their momentum and join in. Phee had just turned 3, but was not that into it. She could make things happen, so to speak, to earn treats like M&Ms and Palace Pets (which come with teeny tiny choking hazard brushes, but I digress).

For a week she was like the Princess of the Potty. Then the treats stopped. I was too broke for any more Palace Pets and eating all of the M&Ms when no one was looking. When the treats stopped, so did all of of Phee’s interest in the potty. So rather than cleaning up pee all day, I popped some pull-ups on that. Because sanity.

Cut to Phee’s first year of pre-K coming to an end last month. I mentioned that when she was ready, we’d start trying to wear undies and going potty on the potty again later in the summer. I was pretty sure she didn’t hear more or care because she didn’t say anything. A few days later, she told me she had a question for me…

Phee: Mom, I have a question for you…

Me: Sure, what is it?

Phee: When preschool is over I’m going to be a big girl and wear undies and go pee pee in the potty. (All of her questions are statements)

Me: OK!

Cut to a week later, a Friday, the day after the last day of pre-K. Phee announced that she wanted to wear undies and go potty in the potty. I thought, “Wait, what? You were serious?” But I said, “Yeah you do!” And she’s in it to win it. Is it all going perfectly as planned? No. But she’s serious and focused on her goal.

So I’m taking a lesson from my 3yo. Setting goals, specific start times for my goals, and going all in with focus and determination. Missteps are just that, not insurmountable obstacles. I won’t let little hiccups discourage me and I know the reward is achieving the goal!

So get those big girl undies on (see what I did there) and set a goal for this summer and don’t let go. What is your goal? When are you going to start? Tell me! I want to know!

My goal: Get in a local shop I’ve had my eyes on. I will approach them in September. My goal is far in the distance because we are hoping to move this summer and I love my family too much to try to accomplish a big goal in the midst of a big move. But I will be breaking my goal into smaller steps and working on them in these summer months.

Your turn!

*Featured toilet paper roll image courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Although I added the smiley face! ūüôā

Finding the Happy

I do not have it all together. At all. It came to my attention, talking to a friend the other night, that it appears I’m doing it all–masterfully juggling a business and family-of-four life. I’m seriously not…at all.

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Not perfect, but happy

I do try to approach life from the positive and silly side. And I share that here because I’d rather make you smile or giggle when you turn to social media to de-stress from the latest tantrum, giant kid mess, or “Um, I know I’m a parent, but what am I supposed to do?” moment.¬†My truths are:

1. I’m silly but I also battled postpartum depression for the first year of Ivy’s life. She recently turned 13mo, so I’m just now coming back to my “old self” — meaning that it is less of an effort to find the happy, be patient, and take deep breaths.

2. I LOVE the business and parenting juggle, but that means lots of takeout, husband cooking, feeling torn when I really want to finish a piece but Phee wants to play “dance party” or Ivy wants to cluster feed.

3. I’m creating, getting orders out in one business day, keeping up with accounting, marketing and touching base with customers on multiple social media platforms throughout the day. I’m NOT remembering to reply to personal emails, I entirely forgot to attend two parties we were invited to last year, I forget to send cards to friends and family on important holidays, I don’t read for fun or exercise much anymore.

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But I love this life and this juggling act as I grow my family and brand together. I choose to find happiness and enthusiasm in the daily, weekly, monthly struggles. So am I as happy as I seem on social media? Yes! Am I silly with happiness every moment of the day? Nope! But I always look for the happy as soon as I can and pass it on, because I know how hard it is to find it some days, so I’d like people to know they can find it in my space.

Am I juggling it all masterfully? Not at all, but I feel like I finally have the mom and business parts down (this week), but always at the expense of personal life, common courtesy, and a good long solo run.

What keeps me going on a path of positivity is knowing that, like my iPhone’s battery, nothing lasts forever–tantrums, business ebbs and flows, naps, frustrations, and even those silly moments playing “dance party.” Embrace as much as you can, the parts that you want, and focus on finding the happy and emphasize it.

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These nerds in my workshop. We’re not working.

Keeping Watch: The Sequel

So my Keeping Watch post started some neat conversations here, on FB, Twitter, and Instagram too! Thanks for weighing in and sharing your thoughts on selling items with licensed characters. It was so cool to hear from both Etsy shop-owners and customers! And all of your input was so varied! Some shop-owners and customers suggested I go for it while other vendors and shoppers advised me against it.

Ultimately, the response that really resonated with me was that selling items with licensed characters just isn’t what my handmade shop is about. And that is what I was feeling in my heart. It isn’t even about “getting caught” (but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t take that lightly). What it comes down to is what my shop and the pen&thimble brand is all about.

So while this is cuuuuuute…

Super drool fighters!

Super drool fighters!

…it is being sent to my nephew (due in March) as a gift.

And a crayon rollup that I forgot to take a proper picture of, went to my daughter’s friend from gymnastics class, but it won’t be in my Etsy shop.

I’m going to stick to pen&thimble — handmade for babies&children, handmade for function& fun. I’m going to stick to combining my¬†quality and thought-out designs with fun fabric, just not licensed fun fabric.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to weigh in! It helped me more-deeply consider what my shop is all about and where it is going from here.

Plus,¬†I’ll have three nephews and two daughters come March¬†—¬†current and future Marvel fans¬†—¬†so this cool fabric won’t go to waste! ūüôā

Ballet and Taxes

Yesterday, my daughter was begging me to go play in the nearby park — specifically the sand box. It would have been a great idea, if we could put aside the frigid temps, polar wind, and the fact that the sand she wanted to play in¬†was underneath¬†ice-covered snow (and my ice pick is in storage).

My daughter is a toddler, so I did what any good mom would do, I tricked her into running an errand with me instead¬†compromised with her. Our compromise was “going to town.” She liked the sound of that, so we bundled up, took a break mid-bundle…

Don't underestimate the effort and sweat that goes into putting pants on a toddler.

Don’t underestimate the effort and sweat that goes into putting pants on a toddler.

…finished bundling up, and braved the frigid temps, polar wind, ice patches, and shame¬†of wearing pants (toddler life).

First stop, a toddler’s dream really, Town Hall. Mama had a plan. I filed a “DBA” Certificate for pen&thimble while toddler squeaked her boots on the waxed wood floor. Win-win! We left Town Hall $65 poorer but immensely pleased with ourselves. I had declared my business and toddler had made funny noises with her feet. And to think she wanted to go to the park! Ha! Mama knows where the real fun is, kid!

Squeaky and Legit!

Squeaky and Legit! A happy pair!

Afterward, we shared a celebratory lunch at the closest local sandwich shop. It was delicious! When we had our fill of the most delicious chicken sandwich we had ever eaten, toddler decided that it was time to go home and do ballet. She was right.

Pants free and tutu on, my toddler danced the ballet while I applied for an Employer Identification Number so that I can pay federal taxes too¬†— didn’t want to leave all the fun to local/state collectors.

I’m officially and legitimately self-employed!¬†Also, I’m pregnant and in my third trimester. Because why wouldn’t I want to start a business and a family at the same time? Oh 2015, this is going to be an interesting year!