One of the greatest parts of Tubby Todd is our community. We share highs and lows, cute baby pics, tips, and most of all, lean on each other. YOU GUYS are what makes Tubby Todd special. Our company's values are reflected in each of you: growth, nurturing, fun, connection.
For Mother's Day this year, we're highlighting five women who embody strength, resilience, and beauty. Each of them has their own story with their own unique path. It's our way of saying we see you in them. We see the amazing work you're doing and want to tip our hat to you, to say thank you. THANK YOU! And you're doing a great job. We're all in this together.
xx Team Tubby Todd
First, How are you? How is your family doing? What's it like to have cancer and be the mom to young children?
I am currently going through chemotherapy and that's a bit of a roller coaster. I have a couple weeks where a I feel really sick and am more bed-bound. That can be tough as a mama. I am not able to do all the little things I usually do to take care of my family, I have had to learn how to parent in a different way. I turned my room into a little sanctuary for my kids and I. There's a table right next to my bedside where I can watch them color and create, I've got a bench at the end of my bed with toys and games for us to play, and we get a lot of cuddle time in my bed watching our favorite movies. I usually have one week where I feel good right before I receive my next round of chemotherapy and I try to make the most of that week. We enjoy the sunshine and explore. I have such a better appreciation for the everyday activities like going to the park, attending birthday parties, and even going to Target with my kids! I have my hard moments, being sick is no fun, but for the most part, I am finding the joy in this trial and so is my family. Cancer has made us draw closer to one another and love each other deeper. Being a mom of three young kids I was devastated when I first found out I had cancer but I soon saw that in some ways cancer is a gift. My kids have a new saying, "strong like mom," it is an honor to hear them say that. They are seeing a strength in me they had never seen before, that I didn't even know I had, and I hope I can pass it down to them. A friend of mine who has also had cancer told me early on that cancer can only give and not take away. That is something I practice. It doesn't define me and it does not take away from me being their mama. We are only let it give and add to our lives.
If you have to pick one thing that's been the most helpful to you since your diagnosis, what would you say?
The thing that has been the most helpful to me is the support we have received. My family, friends, and church community have rallied around us and really made it possible to have cancer with a 2, 4, & 6 years old. They have blessed us with dinner, lavished us with gifts, done laundry, cleaned my house, helped with medical bills, and more. My hope is that the kindness and generosity my children are seeing is so ingrained in them at a young age that it becomes second nature for them to bestow that same kindness upon others.
Do you have any special rituals, good luck charms, or affirmations you do during your chemo treatments?
Yes! My faith in Jesus Christ is where I draw my strength from. I have a ring of my favorite bible verses that I bring with me to chemo. I always start off with reading those verses, it gives me such a peace. You receive chemotherapy in a room filled with others receiving it too and I try to walk in that room and bring a light and joy. I have many conversations with other patients and nurses where I can be a listening ear or a voice of hope. The last thing I always do is pray for the person who will sit in my chair next and I leave them an encouraging note. I share a bible verse that has spoke to me and I pray for their healing. I know God can make good of my cancer and I'm doing all I can to allow that to happen.
What do you do? What brought you to where you are?
I am a creative writer and have been doing copywriter and brand marketing for the last 5 years.
My career journey has been a bit unreal. When I suddenly became a single mom with a 2 and 5-year-old, I was sure I needed to go back to school and get a graduate degree with a specialized skill because my (nearly unused) English/creative writing degree felt so frivolous. I spent a year seriously researching potential careers, took some online classes and enrolled in a Physical Therapy program, which I ended up withdrawing from when I just couldn’t justify the time away from my boys or the expense. And then I was offered a part-time copywriting job that I did from home while full-time momming. This job turned into social media managing, PR, marketing and even wholesale, all for the same baby design brand until I realized where my talent was and what I enjoyed doing most. Three years into my career I created a portfolio and sent it to fifty of my favorite industry contacts and immediately secured ongoing independent contractor work as the brand marketing manager for Kid & Coe as well as smaller scale marketing jobs for Max Wanger, Briar Handmade and Solly Baby, among others. The last year and a half was so busy- beyond full-time hours while single parenting- but creative and exciting and an amazing opportunity to stretch, apply myself and really feel like I was where I belonged- among thoughtful, talented, creatives who valued my skills.
It was my personal (secret) goal to eventually streamline my work and be part of a single team I loved, and it happened sooner than I was expecting. Just this week I began a full-time job with Solly Baby and it already feels like the job of my dreams!
If you had to pick three sentences of advice for other moms trying to build their careers, what would they be?
- Do what you love! That’s the thing with motherhood, isn’t it- that it’s necessary to be protective of our happiness? Of course, I initially prioritized flexibility and security but I ended up letting my happiness lead me and feel like I’ve lucked out with all of the above.
- Be yourself. I’ve worked so hard on knowing who I am and what my passions are and being the best version of myself in my personal life, and I sincerely feel like this has guided various opportunities and successes in my career.
- Have a (flexible) plan. This is actually my persistent life lesson! But really, every time I’ve thought I understood what was best for my career, I’ve been partly wrong. I like taking action, working crazy hard, and keeping an open mind about what to say yes to next. :) Some of my scariest moments (being laid off from my first job, choosing to freelance) have led to the biggest blessings.
What does your career mean to you? How has it helped you (or your family) grow?
Oh my goodness, it’s my lifeline! I remember feeling so worried about how I would suddenly provide for my family, how I would find a reasonable balance among (read: survive) career and motherhood and life, where I would fit, and if it’s even possible to start from scratch at 31. And now my career allows me to no longer worry (as much)- it gives me confidence, has shown me how much I’m capable of, requires some major prioritization, but has also pushed me to relax, love (and fully live) my weekends and holidays, and taught that I’m really doing it all for one reason: a good, happy life for my little family.
of that when life feels overwhelming.
Tell us about your family! How many kids, ages, names. What prompted you to adopt?
We have 4 kids. Josiah age 10, Kamden age 7, ledger age 4 and Mirjana age 1. We always wanted to adopt. Back when we first got married there were a couple of people that had adopted and that just pulled at our hearts. It was always the plan to adopt at some point.
What does it mean to you to adopt after having three children already at home to take care of? How do you balance it all?
We'll, life is crazy for sure but we are blessed indeed! I feel like everything worked out for the best because we prayed and really trusted God for his timing and bringing the right little girl into our family. We adopted to help a child in need so sometimes I have to remind myself of that when life feels overwhelming. It is a balancing act but my strength is in multitasking. Getting to the gym and having some me time definitely helps!
If you had to give one piece of advice to another mom who was thinking of adopting, what would you tell her?
I would tell her to do it!! There is an overwhelming amount of kids in need of a good home. All we did is say yes to that.
can teach, have fun, and really be present with my kids.
What was it like having your twins in the NICU?
Having my twins in the NICU was heart-wrenching. It went against every single natural and instinctual part of my being. Not being able to hold my babies and nurse them the second they were born was so counter-intuitive and heartbreaking. I couldn't hold them when I wanted and had to ask for permission to do anything. It was torture for me as a mother. My heart ached every day until they came home with us. It was such a strange feeling to be so happy and grateful that my babies were finally here...but terrified and worried at the same time. Seeing them hooked up to so many machines with tubes and wires everywhere in them was so intense. Every day was an emotional rollercoaster as it was two steps forward, one step back kind of dance in the NICU. Eventually, we adapted and kinda got used to it...we knew the nurses and doctors by name, the beeping machines were less scary, and we knew the daily routines when we walked in the doors. The happiest day ever was leaving the NICU but weirdly sad walking away as well...maybe because it was their little "home" for awhile. I dunno, it was such a mix of emotions for me.
You've really got to keep up your energy to take the best care of your babies as possible. What did you do to take care of yourself while your babies were in the NICU?
As far as self-care while the babies were in the NICU, well, that was pretty much nonexistent. If it weren't for so many of our friends and family taking care of us I don't know what I would've done. I was driving back and forth to the hospital twice a day to feed them and visit with them, as well as driving penny to drop her off at different friends and families' houses every day. I wouldn't even remember to eat I was so busy between driving, pumping, spending time in the NICU, and trying to care for Penny. I would update my Instagram so that I could save time responding to messages and just post the updates on the twins there for anyone who cared. I prayed a lot. There were also a couple times I skipped a visit to either rest or spend time with Penny. It definitely wore me down.
What advice would you give to friends of NICU families? What can we do to support our friends with NICU babies?
Advice for friends of NICU families would be to just be there as a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Don't try to act like you understand what they're going through if you don't. DONT TELL THEM TO BE PATIENT...that drove me crazy because every minute they spent in the hospital and not with us was so hard. So don't try to belittle that feeling. Just listen and be there. Bring food and offer to help with anything: watching kids, laundry, cleaning, shopping, etc. anything to lighten the load because the experience can be all consuming making it difficult to get your daily life in order. I remember feeling like we were in this alternate world where time stood still while the rest of the world was just going on about their business. To support your friends with NICU babies I would just keep praying and being there. I just felt comforted knowing how many people were praying for my babies and cared about them.