Tug of War

If I've learned one thing from numerous lay-offs, it's that one can't possibly be optimistic and hopeful every day. It's not natural. There's a tug of war in my head these days. The side that's pulling hardest lately is the one wearing a t-shirt that says POWERLESS. For most of the past three weeks, the WE SHALL OVERCOME side was winning.

There's no two ways around it. I feel rather powerless right now. When we made the decision back in 2003 that I would quit my well-paying corporate marketing job in Chicago and we'd make the move to a city that wasn't so expensive (not LA) so that at least one parent was a constant in our kids' lives, I never would've imagined the road we were destined to travel would be so full of massive sink holes. But it hadn't occurred to me that the economy would lose its footing either.

As so many women (and men) know, making that decision to step out of your ten year career to care for your kids is a really tough one. I agonized over whether or not I'd even be good at being a stay at home mom and when I finally did, the adjustment was brutal but I found my way. Carving out a new career was both exhilarating and exhausting and I couldn't be happier with the success of Mod Mom Furniture, but at times like these, I can't help but compare salaries and know that mine falls far behind what I was making before I left my marketing job. We're in that catch twenty-two stage of life where even if I went back to work full-time and did Mod Mom at nights and weekends, I couldn't even come close to making what Scott has been earning now that he's been climbing the ladder since 1994. And that brings us back to powerless.

I won't lie and say I haven't, at times, wished we'd just stayed in Chicago and I kept working at A&E and The History Channel while my kids were in daycare from 7am-6pm. But I've also learned through our ups and downs that it's ultimately what was planned out for us from the start. Life lessons and all.

We're definitely growing and learning from this latest lay-off in many ways we didn't from the last one. I'm trying to acknowledge the feelings of fear and lack of power but not let it always win the tug of war. I think you have to be allowed to feel what's real in order to work through it so I'm doing just that. Today I feel rather POWERLESS but tomorrow I plan on being back on the WE SHALL OVERCOME side tugging away.


Kind Words

I've been really blessed to have wonderful clients over the past four years. Some of them send me notes after receiving their toy boxes so I thought I'd share a few of them...

"Thank you so much - we just received the Owyn box today, and it is absolutely beautiful! We know that we'll be enjoying it for many years to come. Nara loves the puzzle element to the covers, and that's keeping her quite busy already. Our #2 kiddo is arriving this fall, so don't be surprised if you hear from me sometime with a request for a second one."


"I got the toy box today! I love it, and thank you. Just in time for the holiday weekend & it looks great in my game room. The kids LOVE it, and the craftsmanship is lovely. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to my friends."


"Just wanted to let you know that the toy box arrived right on schedule, in perfect condition and has been completely filled with Sebastian's stuff... (how did my 4 1/2 month old manage to accumulate so many toys already? oh right, grandparents) Thanks for designing and making such a lovely item. I have to admit I sort of hope he'll someday decide it is "too babyish" to have even a repurposed toybox in his room so that I can appropriate it to store blankets or sweaters!"


"Absolutely incredible craftsmanship! We LOVE this piece. Great customer service, quick response time and just a really great transaction all the way around! Love love love it!"


"This box is beautiful beyond description. It's flawless and very well made. I love the fact that it's built by a mom, who knows kids better than mom themselves. This will definitely be one of few heirloom pieces in my family. Thanks Kiersten for such gorgeous work." (Owyn Toy Box)


"I absolutely LOVE this toy box and am so happy I bought it in anticipation of the arrival of my little one! It is a beautifully crafted piece and will provide a fun and functional place to store toys. Kiersten was great to communicate with. I highly recommend this Etsy seller! Thank you again Kiersten!" (Owyn Toy Box)


600 Hundred Facebook Fans or Bust!

I know the last post was all down in the dumps but this one promises to be fun and happy!

I'm trying to get 600 Facebook Fans and need your help! When I reach the 600 mark, I'll draw from the folks who are fans (or clicked "LIKE") on Facebook and the lucky winner will receive a FREE custom, keepsake box!! I'll work with said winner to come up with a design that works for them. As usual, it will be eco-friendly and made by these two aging but capable hands.

To become a fan, simply follow this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Los-Angeles-CA/Mod-Mom-Furniture/121337859389?ref=ts

A few examples of boxes I've designed in the past...


Roller Coasters vs. Merry-Go-Rounds

When it comes to a mechanical ride, I'm all for roller coasters. I'm kind of a speed junkie. I actually like that feeling you get when you're at the top of that first unbelievably steep hill and you start the million-mile-an-hour descent where your stomach goes into your throat. You have no idea how happy I am that my kids like that feeling too. They are both coaster junkies like their mom.

When it comes to other kinds of roller coasters, like the one where your husband just got a promotion three months ago but suddenly, out-of-nowhere, you're being thrown out of the coaster car because the company is eliminating the position in order to go in a different direction, I have an entirely different reaction. We've become, for the third time in seven years, that family you hear and read about in the news. I know there are so many families out there like us right now and I'm sending you all love and hope that tomorrow's ride will be that of a slow-moving, steady, reliable, merry-go-round. It doesn't blindside you when you least expect it and dump you out with the promise of just one month's salary. The merry-go-round is so calming, predictable and steady like a friend that sits with you and pats your back and tells you everything will be OK.

I know we will be OK. We'll make it happen the way other families make it happen. But as rides go, for now, I think I'll just go get in line for the merry-go-round. Or maybe even that small kiddie train at the zoo that goes about two miles an hour around a track that appears to be the size of a small car. That's more my speed now. Nothing fancy. Nothing flashy. Just something that says, "Come ride me. I won't hurt you."

UPDATE: Good news is there's a margarita/beer cart right next to the kiddie train so things are really starting to look up! Fun but stable. Now that's the ticket. :)

I think she wants to be a teacher now....

....but back in kindergarten, she was well on her way to be a frnsi dsiner.