What I've Learned In One Year Of Mother Untitled
I was sitting on the ground floor of the Ludlow House, two cafe tables away from the club room fireplace, feeling flushed. It was last January 10th at about 10am when I took the password protection off this site and sent a very sincere email blast to 500 of my network. I loved every bit of that day - watching the cheerleading comments stream in even though I had really done nothing to deserve it.
If you're here, you've likely "met" us somewhere since then, in the course of our first year of Mother Untitled. You likely know I started here because I couldn't figure out why the image of the woman who chooses to focus on mothering was so antiquated and disempowered. Putting myself out there in the first year as a mostly mother was intense, happy and complicated. Made easier solely because I met woman over woman who had made similar choices to lean into motherhood for this time in their life. They were smart, modern and creative. And I wanted Mother Untitled to be a place where we could gather and celebrate that camp of women.
For me, this year has been about putting myself out there in a different way. And like the women I met in that first year of motherhood, the women who have rallied around this site in its first year have made me more proud, more confident and more committed. So keeping with much of our conversations, I'll tell you what I've learned, struggled with and come to terms with in building something alongside caring for my family.
1. Truth is my biggest asset
I got really lucky with the women I met in my first six months with Bodie. I started having them all over for coffee and wine and eventually wanted to bring those raw, happy and complicated conversations we had online so we could change the conversation about women making the choice to lean into motherhood. So by nature of that, this conversation has to be real, always. Trust me, I have to ask permission from my husband still before I hit publish on any post about our marriage but he gets it. Trust me, sometimes I want to re-write a line in a post to make myself sound a bit cooler or generally more something. But one of my closest friends told me, no matter what happens with Mother Untitled, if you're truly yourself you'll always feel proud of it.
2. Everyone needs a north star
When I launched, I wrote off the initial outpouring of support as my network being wonderful. Over the past year, the most incredible, humbling thing is to meet people in restaurants who follow along (which always blows my mind) or receive e-mails from women who I would have never known previously who found themselves here. Probably because of that ego boost, when I wrote my plan for the year, I thought I'd hit 10,000 Instagram followers at the end of the year. I'm at 4,000 following along on Instagram, where you get a little daily window to this lifestyle and brand we're building. Anyone who knows big media knows these numbers are still babies compared to other people and places.
But in that same plan, I wrote that my north star was impact. By that measure, it only took woman to make this year successful. She had just left her job in banking to raise her son and freelance two months prior when she wrote to say that for the first time she felt confident in her choices after reading about the ambitious, accomplished women who had felt that similar pull of motherhood.
3. You can't be everything to everyone
My biggest struggle remains balancing this conversation with the sheer privilege of having this conversation. I could defend the choice to be home by saying it saves our family x or y, but the privilege of choice of being able to stay creative and connected is not forgotten on me. I've only grown more aware of it.
My second biggest struggle is knowing that "blogger" comes with its own set of stigmas. Never have I had to grow up or thicken up my skin more than choosing to be home with Bodie and use my two days a week away from him to write about motherhood.
But for a niche and growing group of women the things we talk about, the people we meet and the ideas we toss around connect us and make us more content and creative. It doesn't mean I'm not aware or nervous that something we talk about may land funny, it means that this space can exist and be empowering even if it's not for everyone.
4. My family still has to come first
Over the last one year plus a few months of planning before, I chose a couple times to stay in my room and bang out a post or an email instead of going out to play with Bodie and Dan on a weekend morning. I found myself distracted playing with Bodie because I was overthinking a meeting I'd had. Never after one of those times did I feel very good. No matter how much energy I get, and suspect will get, from building this brand and growing this community, I have to always evaluate what is possible within the realities of choosing over and over again to make room for motherhood. That means going back to the wishlist and plans and re-setting expectations all the time, namely with myself.
5. There's enough room for everyone to play nicely
I talk a lot about insecurities. It makes some people uncomfortable and sometimes I think I'm going to screw myself because I basically talk about myself like a bumbling idiot. But truly, there are rooms I walk into and women I meet, who standing next to, I've thought to myself, WTF am I doing. I've been asked questions about the future of Mother Untitled that make me think I'm on an interview for the first time in forever and I'm truly sweating. But then I got home and I think about points 1, 2 and 3. I remember what sets me apart, why I started this and what is different about this community I'm committed to.
Motherhood and womanhood, and our sets of experiences within these spheres are so vast and unique that it leaves loads of room to offer your truth, connect with people - not everyone - on it, and likely make at least one person feel understood, which is impact enough.
Thank you to each of you for laughing and nodding along with us this year. I said this in my first post and I'll say it again, if I could have you all over for rosé and a playdate I would but for now, I'll settle for getting to know you better here in the year ahead. xo