pointing out rainbows

This post has been a long time coming. And I don't really know how to write it.

So here goes...

I have come to a realization over the past few months. (You Mamas out there with little babies, listen up!)

What I have realized is this. We have all been duped.

We have been duped into believing that our babies need us the most when they are brand new. And while, yes, it is true that they do need us to clothe, feed, soothe, love and protect them while they are so tiny and vulnerable, once you get into a routine and you find your mama-baby rhythm, things can get relatively easy at this point. Yes, I know, I am making some big generalizations here, but stick with me on this.

Last year I went to visit a friend in Toronto who had just had her third daughter. Her two older girls were 4 and 6 at the time. When I asked her if she was going to go back to work again after her maternity leave, I was very surprised to hear her say no, that now she needed to stay home with the girls. I assumed she meant because of the baby, but she told me that it was more for the older two. At that point I really did not understand what she meant.

Now I do.

My kids are 22 months apart. And while this was a challenge when they were say teeny babies and then at 6 and 28 months old and then again at 1 and 3, it is NOTHING compared to right this very minute when they are 3 and 5 years old.

They NEED me!

A LOT.

The questions they have need answers. They need to DO more. With their growing bodies and with their expanding minds. They are both in play school now and are starting to navigate the world of friends who are not always of my choosing.  And all this means we have activities to attend, playdates to go to, new skills to hone and way more emotions to deal with on a daily, if not hourly basis.

So I need to be here for them, while they are still little. I know, that to some degree they will always need me, I just can't let them down right now. These years are important ones, the degree to which they are learning and growing and becoming little individuals with their own opinions and feelings is astounding and I need to be giving them my full attention. It's my job to help them navigate through this time in their lives and it is the most precious and MOST IMPORTANT job that I have.

In the past year I have spent way too much time saying the following phrases over and over to my kids,

"Just one more email and then Mommy will come and play with you."

"I just need to pack up these orders and then we can go to the park."

" Please wait...."

"Just five more minutes..."

The list goes on.

And it is not only that. As a family, Natural Urban Dad and I made the decision that I would be the stay-at-home parent. We did not want to have both of us working, have our kids in daycare and have our money go to someone else to spend most of the day with our kids. We are very fortunate that we can make that choice and it is one that I never, ever want to take for granted or lose sight of why we made it in the first place.

In the past six months I have been increasing our babysitter's hours on a regular basis to the point that I might as well just call her our nanny and be done with it. Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE my babysitter, like, REALLY love her. And so do my kids. But for the months before Christmas, every time I would have to go to a meeting or an event or just lock myself in the office to get some work done, I would come home to kids who missed me the whole time I was gone, who became super clingy for the rest of the day and night and who kept saying over and over how much they wish I didn't have to go away so much. The guilt that I was feeling and the mounting childcare bill where getting to the point that I was starting to feel ridiculously overwhelmed. And I started questioning whether 'having it all' or 'trying to do it all' was really worth it anymore.

Turns out it is not.

And the time has come for me to make a few changes in my life.

The first of which is that...

Natural Urban Mamas, THE STORE, will be closing its virtual doors.

This was a very long and hard decision to make, but one that I know is right for me and for my family at this time. I want to thank each and every one of you who has supported me on this journey. I have learned so much about life, about business, about myself and about the strength and determination that lives in so many of you through this adventure called entrepreneurship. I have made some life long friends and probably a few frenemies along the way too. I thank you all for lifting me up and making me want to be a better person, a better mother and a better business woman.

I want you to know that I am not going away. I have spent a lot of time and effort in educating myself about and being an advocate for babywearing and breastfeeding and all kinds of aspects of natural parenting. This part of Natural Urban Mamas will remain. I will still be doing workshops and speaking engagements and you will be able to find me here on the Natural Urban Mama blog or on Twitter or Facebook whenever you need to. Just know that I may not respond as quickly as I have in the past, because I will likely be watching someone learn to float on their back all by themselves or I'll be hanging out at the museum with a certain bug-crazy small individual.

“The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work.”

Patricia Clafford

I want my kids to remember these years and our time spent together and I want to know that I did all that I could to make it memorable for all of us.

Thank you all!

Much Love,

Natasha~

And lucky YOU! Starting on January 30th and while supplies last,

Our "UNTIL IT IS ALL GONE" Blow-out Sale will be happening at Natural Urban Mamas.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyber Monday at Natural Urban Mamas!

 

Well, Natural Urban Mamas is an ONLINE store, so we had to have a big Cyber Monday SALE!!

Head on over to the site and take advantage of our "ABC" SALE!! All discounts will be automatically applied at checkout.

 

Happy Shopping Everyone,

Natasha~

 

 

It's decision time....

As you may know, the past few months have been a struggle for me.

Personally, I have been dealing with my yearly seasonal blues demons and just barely keeping them at bay. It is getting better though and I have my fabulous little family and some really great friends (new and old) to thank for that. And a healthy dose of Vitamin D every day seems to be helping too!

Professionally, it has been a struggle as well. Working as a solo entrepreneur is hard work.  Actually, it is VERY hard work. And doing so while also being the stay-at-home parent to two preschool-aged children makes it even harder. Somehow they NEED me more now then they ever have before (more on this later) and finding the time to focus on ALL of my babies is getting harder and harder.

Please understand that I love what I do.

I love being able to introduce parents to the incredible world of babywearing. I love helping anyone who asks about breastfeeding, natural birth, and the many aspects of 'green' parenting that I have garnered some knowledge of over the years. It makes my heart happy when I see the look of sheer relief and the physical relaxation of a mama's shoulders when she puts her baby in a proper, safe and beautiful baby carrier. And I seriously almost want to do a happy dance of joy when said baby is asleep in under 5 minutes of being in a new carrier.

I also love being able to find great products from both local and not-so-local mama-made and baby-inspired small businesses. It has always been part of my mission at Natural Urban Mamas to support local Canadian manufacturers and mainly mama-owned or family run smaller companies in North America and Europe. I have stayed true to this throughout the life of my business and I am so honoured to now call quite a few of these manufacturers and mamas some of my dearest friends.

I love the community of mamas that I have on the Natural Urban Mamas Facebook and Twitter pages. All 3800+ of you!! This is simply amazing to me! I appreciate your comments, feedback, funny posts, beautiful pictures and all the questions that you feel comfortable asking me. I love sharing wonderful and informative posts with you and introducing you to some of my favourite blogger friends, cool sites and general internet happy places!  I also love how you all share so freely with me and with each other when questions are asked. This to me is a true community. We may not always see things the same way, but sharing ideas and learning from each other makes us all better! Thank YOU!

So why the struggle?

Running a retail company on your own (and on the internet) is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week kind of job. You are the CEO, COO, CFO, Marketing department, Sales force, Purchaser, Accounting/Book-keeping department, Shipper/Receiver, often the IT department and the SEO/Social Media/Communications department as well. There is always something that needs doing to keep the business running smoothly and often this involves an investment of time or money. It is exhausting and to be completely honest, most of the time I am running low of both time AND money!

Here's the thing. When my business partner and I went our separate ways in late 2009, for the sake of simplicity and to avoid the addition of more legal fees (and to keep things from getting ugly), I had to pay her out. I don't really want to get into all the ridiculous details of this transaction (because I will just get angry again), but essentially Natural Urban Mamas has not yet been able to climb out of the hole that this 'pay-out' created. And I don't see it doing so anytime soon. You know that old saying, "you need to spend money to make money", well, at this point, there is just not enough money to spend!

So at this point I am NOT loving the day-to-day running of Natural Urban Mamas, the business. And not just because of the financial factor. It is the time factor too.

Like I mentioned above, my children need me more now than they have before. Little C will be 5 years old in two weeks and he is more inquisitive than ever. He has questions that need well thought out answers!  LOTS of questions. Princess L is in the weird and wonderful transition phase from toddler to preschooler and is figuring out that she is not a baby anymore. There is a lot of independence and then very strong attachment going on at our house these days. I need to be there for my littles. It is not just my physical presence that they need, it is more of my mental and emotional presence too and I don't want to deny them any of this. Unfortunately, because I squeeze in work hours when and where I can throughout the day, I feel like I am doing just that.

And it is not just the kids, my husband needs me too.

We both knew that this year was going to be a tough one for us. Financing and building a new house can be rough on any relationship. And although yes, this is our third time doing it, I fully admit that it seems way harder this time around. I think we are both feeling a lot of pressure to really GET IT RIGHT with this house and have a lot of our heart and soul and hopes and dreams wrapped up in this little construction project. And a lot of the decisions about the house come down to me. I am the one visiting the site almost every day to ensure that our dream is taking shape as we planned. I am the one talking to the trades people (I am there so often, that the guys have all started calling me Nat, it's my site nickname). I am the one trying to keep us all on budget. So you see, I have yet another job to add to the list -- unofficial Construction Site Supervisor!

You can imagine that with all of this going on - the store, the kids, and the house - Natural Urban Dad and I don't get a whole heck of a lot of alone time together. And we NEED it! All marriages need this. For us we especially need our time together because of all that is going on! Even if it is just an hour a week at Starbucks or a walk through the mall holding hands, we need that time to reconnect and know that WE matter as a team, a couple and yes, as lovers too! (oh, he is so going to love that!) We are the foundation that all else is built on and we have to keep that foundation strong.

Over the past few weeks, it has become glaringly apparent to me that certain things in my life need to change. I need to change. I am no longer completely happy with the path I am on and I need to find a new way, a better way to keep living my purpose and my passion without losing my mind! This week I sought the advice of a fellow entrepreneur I recently met IRL and for whom I have always had mad respect for... and then she posted THIS! I swear to God, it was like she jumped into my head and then wrote her post. And I can't thank her enough. (Big Super Hugs for Alex from @Clippo!!)

And so here is what is going to happen now. I am taking a page from Alex's book.

Natural Urban Mamas, the store,  will be closed from December 12, 2011 until January 31, 2012. 

During this time I will be figuring out what is best for me and my family and also for Natural Urban Mamas. I will continue to write on the blog (I have a couple of carrier reviews coming up and some step-by-step carrier instructional posts too) and also keep the Facebook page current. I will be available for babywearing or baby carrier advice via Facebook or Twitter, but will not be running any babywearing workshops during December or January.

I appreciate your patience and understanding and your continued support while I work through this challenge and transition in my life and my business.

Thank you,

Natasha~