MAKING BIG LIFE DECISIONS

Some of you may not know this, but before I became “mom”, I had a career. Out here in Los Angeles, I acted in a bunch movies, television, and commercials for quite a few years.  You may have seen me in such classics as SuperCroc, from the makers of Sharknado 1-5. lol However, when that side of the industry got too dark for me, I used my film degree from Florida State University and side stepped into “behind the scenes.” I edited 11 movies, before moving into the production side of things. At my peak, I was creating and managing multi million dollar budgets and coordinating entire shows for HGTV. I won’t lie, the money was good. It’s what allowed for Anthony and me to buy our first home. I, however, had no idea how much my life would change once I had a child. Like many high powered women before me, I planned on taking my 6 weeks maternity leave and going right back to work. Until I saw his face that is. That's when it all changed. No money in the world could make me leave him. I dropped that little bomb on Anthony five days postpartum saying, and I quote, “There’s no way I’m going back to work. I'm not going to work these long hours for some corporation just so I can live in a big house in a fancy city. I lived in humble homes growing up and all that ever matter was that my mom was always there. I will live in a box in Kentucky, but I'm not leaving him. None of this matters. Sell the house, sell the car, sell it all. I'm not leaving him.”

Those words changed our family’s life and dynamic forever. To say the last couple years have been taxing would be an understatement. My husband shockingly refused my suggestion to live in a box in Kentucky, but instead found ways to compensate. In addition to his day job, he also made a steady income the past 6 years by producing music. He’s amazing at it and I always wished he’d go for it full time, but the timing was never right. He's recorded artists you’d know from Dance Moms, Smurfs, and a few hit tv shows. All in his studio he built himself.. Anyways he began expanding his clients. Additionally, I did everything I could cut down our spending, even making an excel spreadsheet budget that would put any accountant to shame. Even our grocery lists were planned to the cent. We figured it out and made it work.

Things, however, got more complicated after the election. My husband’s day job is in a finance field tied directly to the stock market. The worse the stock market is, the better his field gets. Despite everyone’s predictions regarding Trump, the stock market climbed higher than it’s ever been in the history of America. This is awesome for America but sucks for his field. And somewhere in all this financial struggle, I got knocked up again. Needless to say, big decisions had to be made and we both needed another game plan. So began 2017: The Year of the Hustle.

Beyond running my blog, which provides me with $0 income (just so we’re all clear on that lol), I started watching dogs in my home via Rover. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s true. I’ve been doing dog boarding, daycare, walking, you name it. I’m actually the #1 dog sitter in Los Angeles at the moment and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of it. lol I also launched a dog photography business which has been going well. I hustled and brought in enough income to still stay with Killian. Here's some fun dog pictures I took.

Anyway, with the recent stock market turmoil affecting Anthony's day job, he took on extra work to the point of exhaustion. We’re talking a full day of work, followed by a full night of work and it wasn't becoming sustainable for his health. I know that’s a lot of personal information to divulge to a bunch of strangers, but I’ve never been one for avoiding tacky subjects, because who knows, maybe some of you are struggling with money too, and my blog can help give you ideas? Dog walking? Who knew? So why do I bring all this up? To complain about how many jobs my husband and I have been juggling and how expensive LA is? No haha We made our bed. These are our choices. I bring all this up because no matter what we've done, it wasn't enough to ease the stress of bills, so starting January of this year, on top of it all, we began building a family business. It wasn’t something we specifically planned, it just happened organically and has led to some fairly big life changes. 

As many of you parents know, the clothing options for kids isn’t exactly the greatest. It’s bright colors, plastered with logos for Mickey, Cars, Paw Patrol, or silly sayings like “Little Slugger” or “Daddy’s Princess”. Your choices are cartoon characters or baseball. I just kept saying to myself, “Where are the normal clothes?” Like where are the normal people clothes, only smaller? What if I have a husband from England who has never even been to a baseball game and doesn’t like all these baseball shirts? What if I’d like my son to wear a nice outfit that doesn’t have a dinosaur or truck on it? And let's be honest, beyond Target, Babies R US, Walmart and Carters…there are no options. I did find some cute stuff at H&M here and there, but there were no other options. Actually, let me correct myself. You can find other options, but they’re incredibly expensive. And I’m sorry, but I’m not paying $40 for one outfit that will be ruined by a spaghetti dinner or poop explosion. I began talking to my friends who were also irritated by it. Moms of girls who were tired of pink and princesses. Parents who actually enjoyed and appreciated fashion. So I began looking.

Because my husband is awesome, he also started helping me. Long hours and late nights we began building My Indie Family Store after Killian went to bed. Splitting our talents between technical and creative we built this from scratch. We hand picked and researched every single product, reached out to suppliers to negotiate pricing, learned html, built the website, did it all between the two of us. And only 8 months later…it’s finally ready. I think. Look, I’m 2 months away from popping out another kid, so it’s now or never. 

So this is us closing our eyes, crossing our fingers and hoping that everyone loves it as much as we do. Our website is www.myindiefamilystore.com. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. My goal was to find awesome clothes for kids at affordable prices. Every product I asked, “Would I buy this? What would I pay for this?” Half of it I now own myself lol Somehow I may have gotten carried away on adding decor and baby gear too, but whatever. It’s awesome.

Believing in this business and his music, Anthony finally made the decision to leave his day job a few weeks ago. Not only had it become financially not worth it for him to stay, the morality of working in a job that essentially bet against American's retirement plans was keeping him up at night. He didn't feel good about it at all. He wanted to do a job he could be proud of. So he’s full time producing music now. I’m full time watching dogs and Killian. And now we’re both hoping all the hard work pays off and that we built something to ease the burden on both of us. So anyways…

Look around, share with your friends, send me feedback…or hell, let me know if there’s a product you’d like to see me find. I never thought I’d open a clothing store, but then again I never thought I’d do a lot of things. Motherhood surprises you like that. Here’s to hoping the hustle pays off. Here’s to risk taking and the spice of life.