We're back with another inspiring interview with a mother we admire! Founder Nikki has been sitting down with friends she loves and looks up to, to discuss motherhood. You can watch each video on our IGTV. This week we're talking to Whitney Whatcott.
Whitney is a mom of 5 little monsters who drive her equally insane and twitterpated. She has a passion for health and fitness, a love for various areas of design, and is obsessed with the science of the human body. She claims her only talent is quoting movie lines and impersonations. She thinks it's useless.. but comes in handy when doing voices for storytime. She's happy to be here and so excited to share her excitement for our "dreamy, life-saving bag!"
- Who are you a mom to? "Nixon (7), Joey(Almost 5), Blair(2) and Twinners; Hutch and Cal (11 months)"
- Tell us about your life outside of motherhood. "I'm the least coordinated sports fan out there... I love to play, but I'm the last one picked if you know what I mean. I met my husband while I was cheering at the University of Utah and he was playing baseball... then I got to follow him around the country and live the dream of a cleat chaser watching him play pro for a few years. I love all things design, and while I was in the world of baseball, I created my own little business designing digital creations like home decor, wedding and baby shower invitations etc. and I still do that on the side for fun. I've always had a love for health and fitness and have enjoyed teaching classes and friends over the years. I love to travel, but have felt a bit limited with school and a hundred babies, but I think starting this year, we will make a big effort to let our adventure flag fly more!"
- How has becoming a mother changed your life? "I was always one of those kids who DREAMED of having babies. I've been obsessed with them (especially teeny brand new ones) since I was one. In fact, I got my degree with the intent to open my own preschool .... but then once I had a bunch of my own kiddos, I felt pretty fulfilled in that department. These babies are my WORLD. That world, as any of you moms out there know as well as I do, has lots of different categories and emotions. This is by lightyears the hardest job out there, but also the coolest. I knew it would be fun to have little mini humans of my own, but I didn't know they'd be my best little friends and I had no idea how fast they would age me."
- If you started your business after you became a mother, how did it influence the start of your business? Or if you were working before you became a mom how was transitioning to being a mom with some side hustles? "So during baseball life, as we call it, I continued having my itch to spend my time with the tiniest of people and got nanny jobs while hubs played. I loved it so much, and I also got a nice big fat reality check on what life with kids is really like. It wasn't quite like the 2 hours of teaching preschoolers and sending them on home. I got to play the role of a mom and see what it's like to have nearly all the uniforms moms wear. I got a taste of my future years.. and as hard as it was, I LOVED it. I grew such a love for those little farts and all I could imagine was how much I would love some of my very own. There were those really fun days, when the kids said all kinds of cute, squeaky things that I wanted to knit into my memory box forever and some days that were crazy hard.. like the day the family dog darted away and I ran around a random neighborhood in the boonies of Pennsylvania with a baby and two screaming toddlers in tow chasing down that dog for 2 hours trying to catch him. Oh ya, and the day the 5-year-old had very severe vomiting - then falling unconscious - seizure for AN HOUR, an HOUR people... I had no idea that was even a thing. Anywhoo. You get the idea. Moming is hard stuff.. and nannying is a pretty good taste of the good at the bad that comes with it. I also learned pretty early on, how important it was to me to have a little something of my own to be proud of. Enter DubDubDesigns... I had a lot of time to fill when my cute Jersey would be on the road for weeks at a time and I decided to throw some of my creations onto an Etsy shop to see what happened. Boom, people bought my dumb little designs and boom, it felt awesome! I learned that I loved having a part of each day that I dedicated to growing that little seed. I loved feeling like even though I was just out in the abyss riding the coattails of my baseball boy, I had something that people were depending on me for and praised me for.. and you know what? It totally gave me fulfillment to be doing. Silly as it may be."
- How do you balance the constant chaos of motherhood? In addition, how do you prioritize self care? "I've always had the mentality.. or coping mechanism if you will, that if I have a problem (aka if I hear myself start to whine about something going on...) I figure out what is in my power to fix it. There isn't always something I can do to just "fix it" but there is ALWAYS something I can do to HELP it. I'll give you an example.. Baby number one happened.. It was all fun and games, all kinds of new things that I was discovering about growing and taking care of my little squishy ball of our DNA, but I hadn't read the chapter in the life manual about changing your entire life and identity in the blink of a push. I didn't have my full time job anymore where I was making deadlines and meeting with clients about bringing their vision to life... I was changing diapers, going on 3 silent (or crying) walks a day in some new state by myself.. because that's all I could do in baseball land. No money to go shopping or travel or get crafty.. just go on another walk pushing my tiniest boyfriend AGAIN. I felt like I kinda lost myself. I was OBSESSED with my little love, but I needed a little less whiplash with the lifestyle change. So, I had a little chat with ME. I said "Hey Me? What can we do about this? I don't like feeling like all I am capable of is going on a walk and being a milk factory." I said back "How about we play with the computer a lil' and make some cute stuff?" oh and Remember how we used to LOVE working out and talking to other humans there? Let's try doing that. That made us really happy" So I did! I stirred up my creative juices on the laptop during baby nap time and joined a gym where I made some fabulous friends and had an outing to look forward to each day. Those two little things made a WORLD of difference. Naturally, With each new baby and each new move came new "whines" and more brainstorming for remedies. Not bandaids, but ways to make each hardship a little better. When I had baby number 3, I found myself whining about my life being a juggling act on repeat every day and envying the adventures that what appeared to be everyone else on the planet was having. Again, I was pretty limited in the funds department, but I told myself... if you want some adventures... FIGURE OUT some small versions that I CAN DO. I wasn't able to go on trips and see far off lands, but I COULD take them on mini-ventures to farms, and trails and aquariums. We totally made fun memories and they didn't have to be on an airplane to make them. I could let the laundry and the dishes wait for the afternoon, go get some memories and some sunshine first. Real talk: the addition of 2 extra little surprises has kicked the term "circus" into a whole new category for me. Like, from the "I can totally find the comedy in this tantrum" funny category.. to the "I've never been a crier until now" mental exhaustion category. The current whine fest is this: now that I have way more little people than I do hands, I feel a little trapped. I can't just take them all to "adventure" like I used to. When I do, I break one, or just get more mad than I even do at home because it's too much. This brings me to a new level of importance for what I like to call MomME time, get it? Call it self care, call it a break, call it chocolate therapy in the closet. Whatever. It means more to me now than ever before and I appreciate small moments of peace like and root canal appreciates lidocaine. You know what I'm saying? What I've learned as of late is that what I need is to have consistent MomME time SCHEDULED. I need something that I know can be the light at the end of a hard day tunnel. Something that everyone is aware of, that I don't need to "ask permission" for or feel mom guilt about. It has purpose and it HAS to happen. My mental capacity is used up more than it ever has been and my "fix it" is having scheduled charging hours.. otherwise the battery gets so dead that things get ugly, and the charger gets broken.
- Tell me about your "life's Messy Moment" story. "I literally have buckets full of these.. Let's go ahead and pretend that it's because I have 40 kids.. which creates lots of opportunities for them.. not because I tend to get tunnel vision in a chat with another mom and completely neglect my tiny possy. K? k cool.. So One time, the moms of Stroller Strides and I were most likely discussing the glamours of bringing human life to the planet and all the glories that come with it. At which point I glanced over at my 10 month old girl who was laying on her belly off of the curb picking up CIGARETTE BUDS WITH HER LIPS. Like, I'm fired. So you're welcome for how wonderful you feel as a mother right now compared to me. Good day."
- How did you hear about the Ayla Bag? "My BAD@$$ friend from the greatest village on the planet told me she was creating it.. I'll be honest, I had faith that it would be dang cute (because she's quite the fashionista) and functional because she's a smarty pants, but DAAAAAANG it's so much better than I could have even dreamed up."
- What are you most excited for about the bag? "I love the little phone slot with the key hook, and the transitional straps! GENIUS"
- Tell us one place where you would use the Ayla Vac! "Let's refer back to how many people I made. That's a LOT of crumbs. I can't even see the floor of my car most days. Can't wait!"