The Struggle Has Been Real
We almost left… we whisked away to Ecuador and found a peaceful little village with abundant food, mountain views, and perfect weather. Really a paradise. We sat and contemplated every morning again - we can start all over - what are we going to do? This question has been torturing us from the beginning of the pandemic. We thought we would escape it while in Ecuador but it only amplified and became louder. We’ve lived in other countries, we’ve thrived in South America… we could do this again! It’s all we have thought about in the last few years. When we arrived in Ecuador, serendipitously, we were even handed a business we have dreamed - an American couple owned a beautiful hotel, restaurant, and spa with 17 rooms and nestled in a mountain with jungle like features and they were ready to retire. We ran the business like it was ours for a month but something kept tugging back at us, not only the low occupancy rates because people were not traveling but we couldn’t get our makers life out of our system. We came face to face with a life we thought we wanted and realized it wasn’t what we wanted at all and the passions we fell in to and had are exactly what our souls need. Hats and sustainable products are part of every thread of what we do. Charlie continually repeats at how amazed he is to find a profession and craft that as he ages he grows and gets better. And as we grow as product developers and conscience people, we grow towards more sustainable, responsible product.
I had been struggling for years on supporting our business. In Ecuador, with peace and time, the layers of my life started to peel away and as I reflected, I faced my own doubts. The feelings of balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship were ultimately my biggest blockage. I couldn’t admit to myself that I loved being a business woman, that would mean I wouldn’t be a good Mom. How funny it is that your own judgements get in your own way of who you really are. I had this ideal of what I should be and do and wasn’t thriving in either. You see, I LOVE being a Mom. It is as if I was put on this earth to care for these growing humans. So much so, that’s all I could be, a mom - there were no other parts of me. I became lost in the sea of motherhood - where I wasn’t April anymore, just Willow and Luz’s mom. Their needs were my needs.
As I looked at my children and felt their needs deeply, I realized I was doing myself a disservice and a disservice to them as well. I am a business woman at heart - I’ve always been. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t come up with a million new business ideas or ways to do this and that and how to pursue these activities. So much so, my kind husband has given me a gag order as it makes his head spin.
However, I wasn’t giving myself permission to be a business woman as it clashed with my “idea” of being a Mom. So I’ve been floating in no-mans land. Trying to be a good Mom, trying to be a business woman being torn in two when doing one or the either.
While in Ecuador, a healer gave me a little verbal kick in the pants by saying - your children are older now, they don’t need you in the same capacity as before. It’s time for you to be you and take care of you. This isn’t just what you need, it’s what they need to see you do. I’ve been soul searching for years and nothing I’ve read, watched, or listened to had hit me so hard until then. They don’t need me anymore…. Well shit - who does that make me now? I cried and cried when the realization hit me that, sure of course they need me but they ARE older now and they ARE their own little people and instead of being the orchestrator of every single aspect of their lives, it’s time to play a support role and let them roll on their own. The best example for them is for these girls to see a strong Mom roll model who takes care of herself, loves her family fiercely and is true to herself in pursuing her dreams of being an entrepreneur.
Then, as we debated daily of how to stay in Ecuador, where do we go back to in the U.S. what is our next step… we just decided all of the sudden, it’s time to go back. We knew our next step forward was to face what we had to do head on and our hat business was both too ingrained in our hearts. Even if we were to face massive unknowns, we needed to return to it. We spent three days traveling back up to Guayacuil, stopping again in Cuenca to work on hat designs and finalize everything, and we headed back to the U.S., one month later, we had a house, signed lease on a retail location, and a massive amount of trials and tribulations ahead - but there is no more debating - we are right where we are supposed to be now, doing exactly what we need to be doing.
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