As a general rule, I don't follow other personal stylists on social media. I have enough crap going on in my head without comparing myself to what others are doing. One of the only exceptions I've made has been for Megan Jedlinski. Megan is a personal stylist in Chicago and has a similar aesthetic to mine (i.e. no pink or glitter or unicorns). Her daily style is clearly appropriate for real life and her daughter is ever present on her social media, which feels relatable to me, since there are no full work days over here. I really wanted to have Megan on the Creative Motherhood series because she's recently stepped away from working to stay home with her daughter, Parker. I'm constantly questioning how much I should be working or not working, especially with another one on the way, so I couldn't wait to hear from her! Enjoy! -Dacy
Q: Introduce yourself, your family, the work (aside from mothering) you currently do, and how that work has evolved as your child has grown. I know you've stepped back from working with clients, but what about managing social media and other projects?
I’m Megan and I live in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago with Steve, my husband of almost 9 years, our goofball of a daughter, Parker (who just turned 1!) and our 10 year old pooch, Winston. I recently closed up shop on my wardrobe editing and personal styling business, to become a stayathome mom to our daughter. When my schedule allows, I share my passion for minimalism, sustainability, wellness and cooking on my Instagram and newly launched blog, meganjedlinski.com.
The decision to transition to my full-time mom role was equally hard as it was easy, as I had no intentions of closing my biz prior to giving birth. The time, money and energy I invested, along with the incredible clients and people I connected with through my business, made it tough to walk away. Not to mention I felt like I was failing somehow if I quit, I wasn’t that mom that could ‘do it all’. But then there was Parker. Growing up week by week, then month by month. It was going too fast and I wasn’t being there for her in the way that I wanted to be (and I also wasn’t showing up to my clients the way I wanted to). Thankfully, my biggest cheerleader, aka my husband, couldn’t have been more supportive of this move and we’re fortunate to be in a position that we can live comfortably on only his income. So, as her 1st birthday approached, I was officially closed for business.
I’ve realized that since becoming a mom, I’ve embraced the progress over perfection mentality and have become a heck of a lot more efficient! When it comes to my blog, I launched before the website was done and I continue to move forward with it, even though I don’t feel ready or have a perfect plan in place. I simply don’t have the time or energy to obsess over small details like I used to. I’m still finding my groove and learning how to better balance my time with that and social media, somedays failing hard, other days totally killing it.
Q. Do you wish you could do more or less creative work? How do you manage those conflicted feelings?
There are definitely times I wish I could do more creative work (and not have major FOMO when Steve and Parker are hanging out!), however, I also wish I would let myself be okay with doing less creative work. While creativity is in my bones, I have this inner-struggle of feeling like I should being do more creative work as opposed to just being creative. Does that make sense? For instance, some nights I just want to turn on the Real Housewives and pick up my new hobby of knitting, but I feel like I ‘should’ be working on my next blog post. Often times, it’s when the shoulds creep in that I end up getting discouraged and neither the knitting or blog post gets done...but you can bet I saw what went down between Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump! So long story short, I’m still learning ways to manage those feelings and trying to be patient with myself in the meantime:)
Q. Does choosing to focus on motherhood affect any financial or career goals for you?
Absolutely. First of all, I never thought I’d want to be a stayathome mom. My ‘plan’ growing up was to be the one working and my husband would stay home with our kid...plans can be funny like that. In the short-term, it’s affected me in that my financial ambitions and career aspirations as a personal stylist have more or less come to a screeching halt. However, I’ve also changed career paths enough to know that my next passion and opportunity is out there when I’m ready for it. Being a stayathome mom may even open doors to financial and/or career opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise explored. The unknown of what my professional future has in store definitely makes me uneasy and anxious at times, but I’m learning each day to go with the flow and see where this crazy rollercoaster of life takes me.
Q. What kind of a “village” or help do you have around you?
Village or city?! The amount of support I have is more than I could ever ask for. My husband and I are truly partners in this journey of parenthood. The guy has probably changed more diapers than I and even with the demands of his work, makes sure to get in his dad and daughter time every morning and every night. We’re fortunate to have a close knit family that supports each other’s own endeavors unconditionally. My parents and in-laws live within an hour of us and my twin sister only lives about 5 min away (she actually lived with us while I was pregnant and for the first few months after my daughter was born!) My older sister is in Boston with her family, but is only ever a text or call away, not to mention they visit often.
My core group of girlfriends are the kind that will be around for life. They’re there for you at the drop of a hat whether you need an ear to listen or that glass of wine :D. The moms I’ve met since having my daughter have also been really incredible and have helped make the transition into motherhood a little less overwhelming. Can we also talk about this amazing community of creative women I’ve met locally and online? I love being a part of such a supportive group!
And finally, but no less important, there’s my therapist, acupuncturist (my daughter’s too!) and a health coach who have helped me on my journey of personal growth and overcoming my own issues.
I know I’ll always be a work in progress, but I want nothing more than to be the best version of myself for my daughter and I appreciate my ‘village’ for being there along the way.
Q. Do you feel as though your work and home life lines are blurred? How do you handle that challenge?
Yes. This was very apparent in the beginning when I still had my styling business. I remember Parker was a month and a half old and I started responding to clients and hosted my first event post baby. I felt pressure (from myself) to bounce back and balance both. I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t showing up 100% for either my business or my daughter. My husband could always tell when I was stressed with work related stuff and that’s when the conversation started about letting my business go. With starting the blog, I try not to over-commit myself and will give very realistic deadlines and expectations for any collaborations I do. When the blog or social media starts to feel stressful or take my mind away when I’m finger painting with P, that’s when I pull back and take a couple days to regroup and remember my most important role, being P’s mom.
Q. What’s a typical day like and when do you actually get your work done?
Parker usually gets wakes up around 7am and plays with dad while I get her breakfast together. Since she was 7 months old, she started attending daycare twice a week, and will continue to do so because we love it there and she has learned so much. Those are my days for appointments, meetings, coffee dates and catching up on projects (with a stop home to pump once or twice throughout the day). When Parker’s not in daycare, we’re usually heading out to a playdates or classes and I try to take advantage of my to do list while she naps.
My evenings are probably my most productive time of day with projects. Sometimes I’ll get up early on a weekend and go work at a coffee shop, but my early mornings can be hard because 1. I’m tired 2. I’m still breastfeeding and it’s those mornings she decides to get up early :P.
Q. What do you do when creative ideas hit you and you’re in the middle of mothering?
Write it down. This was especially hard in the beginning when Parker didn’t quite know how to entertain herself. We try not to expose her to screens and we didn’t have a play saucer (that minimalist in me!), so I didn’t really have any other choice but to write it down and hope the inspiration hit at a more convenient time. Now that she’s more independent, I can take a few minutes here and there to hop on my computer or phone to explore something quickly or send a quick text/email.
Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for other moms trying to do all the things?
You do you! It was really hard, and still is, not to compare myself to other moms and all that they were accomplishing, all while I could barely get myself showered and dressed for the day (btw, it’s 4 in the afternoon right now and I am definitely not showered or wearing a bra). There’s no right or wrong way. Our journeys are all different. Our experiences are all different. Our children are all different. Take a deep breath, drop the ‘shoulds’ and start trusting yourself. We’re all just trying to figure this thing called motherhood out and I’d say we’re all doing a pretty damn amazing job.
I definitely struggle with the "shoulds" and comparing myself to other moms who appear to be so productive. What a great reminder that stepping away can lead to doors opening in other areas and that we're all on our own paths. Thanks, Megan! You can find Megan on her blog meganjedlinski.com or on Instagram.
(family photo credit: Brooke Blakemore Montes