Of all places, my husband and I met on Tinder a little over four years ago. We had no mutual friends and our only “matched interest” was probably a pretty common one: The Beatles.
However, after a handful of dates, I was sure he was the one. We fell hard and fast and it turned out that The Beatles were not our only common interest.
Throughout our engagement, we talked about our “future kids” pretty flippantly, figuring that we would have many years of staying out late, going to brunch at 1pm, and drinking craft beer to our hearts’ content before we would ever meet them.
We got married in November 2015 with hopes and dreams of traveling to beer festivals, visiting new places, and opening our own brewery. My husband had brewed for years and I planned on using my painting background to create a brewery that would meld beer and art together. It felt like we had only possibilities ahead of us.
But — surprise! I was pregnant within a couple of months of marriage and, although I hate to admit it, it shook me to my core.
I vividly remember going out on St. Patrick’s Day after I found out, determined to still have fun. There was a point that afternoon when everyone around me took “Irish Car Bomb” shots and I just walked to the bathroom and cried. It could have been the pregnancy hormones, as I don’t like Irish Car Bombs anyway, but I remember having this sharp slap of reality where I felt like my freedom was gone and was never getting it back.
We still had the plan of opening our own brewery, so sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, we welcomed our little baby girl into our home and settled in for what we thought would be a life of starting our own business with a kid.
Eleanor came along to look at locations, and once we decided on a place, she would sit in her pack-and-play outside while I painted the mural on the front of the building, pregnant again, with her little brother Simon.
We have these two little ones now, and although I miss the days of sleeping in and staying out, I can’t begin to imagine my life without my precious, goofy, toothy angels.
It truly melts my heart when Eleanor pronounces “elevator” like “alligator” and when she gets excited to see little brother “Sigey” when she wakes up from her nap. I love how Simon laughs just because he sees Eleanor laughing. I am not able to pay attention in Mass like I used to, with my two very loud squirmers, but I just pray for God to continue to let me grow in love and patience and appreciate every spit-up-covered moment.
A few weeks ago, my mom sent me some thoughts from a daily Gospel meditation that really hit home for me. She had meditated on the gospel in which Jesus calls some of the disciples to follow Him and become fishers of men. She thought about how God called Matt and I much earlier than we had expected — to start being “fishers” and sacrificing for our little babies.
It was in God’s perfect timing that my two little souls came into existence, souls that we are raising for eternity. That is so beautifully true, and it made me clearly realize something I knew in my heart: is late night post-dancing pizza more important than getting my babies into heaven?
On Halloween 2018, my husband and I officially opened Celestial Beerworks. It is quite the balancing act, spending time with the babies, fitting in brewing, working the taproom, doing behind the scenes art and planning, and trying to make sure that we make enough meaningful time for each other.
The kids are often with us at the brewery and have certainly made themselves at home, learning to crawl on our taproom floor, putting toys in pieces of brewing equipment, and making friends with each person that comes through the door.
It is a completely different experience having a brewery than we thought it would be now that we have children. Oftentimes we aren’t there together. When we are, we are either constantly pulling Eleanor out from behind the bar or stopping Simon from licking the floor of the back lot. When we aren’t with the babies, we have to be mindful of when our babysitter is leaving and rush home.
This business is so much more meaningful now, though: it is an extension of our family. It is something we will build and grow together. It has also made us so much more mindful of families now that we are open. We have changing tables, games, and an overall kid-friendly atmosphere. It is our second home and we want all parents and their children to feel as welcome and wanted as possible.
Oftentimes, it is hard to say that I am “making it work” as a mom. There are piles and piles of undone laundry and poor Simon has eaten breakfasts consisting solely of Eleanor’s Lucky Charms cast-offs that she has poured all over the floor. Often the Celestial Beerworks social media posts are riddled with typos as I write them while I am trying comfort a child who is crying from a fall or dig my earring, which Simon pulled off, out of Eleanor’s mouth. The water at our house was turned off (on the day of our Grand Opening) because I simply forgot to pay. Let’s just say that we have gotten very good at going with the flow.
Through all of this, I am always trying to make motherhood the priority of my day — despite my lack of patience when my toddler cries “Mommmyy, hold youuu!” for the tenth time in two minutes and when I have to change the only shirt that looks good on me post-partum because my baby has spit up, yet again.
Our dreams changed when we had kids, but they didn’t become impossible. Children can make things more difficult but so much more worthwhile.
Motherhood challenges me every single day, but it also has made me such a better version of myself. Through it all, I would choose my tiny creatures over the freedom to stay out all night any time.
If I have any advice at all for other mothers trying to open a business, work a full-time job, or even just trying to get through the day, it’s to make every moment special. Soak in each hug, call each everyday normality a “special snack!” or a “special show!” or a “special walk!” If the kids are excited about something, you will likely have more excitement when cleaning up the paint that is covering their body and highchair.
And when you’re working, let yourself fully be present in that space so that when you’re back with your kids it feels new and refreshing. Take each stress as it comes, not thinking too far into the future.
If you are stressing over the list of duties on your plate, stay up late with good coffee and get one big task done, but don’t beat yourself up if you need to crash the second you get the last kid down to sleep. And by all means get a babysitter and go on a date with your husband, have a drink with girlfriends, or do something that reminds you that even though you’re Mommy, you’re also you.