- Megan Baxter -

 
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I spent my childhood creating:

drawings, paintings, weavings, making faces out of my food, etc... My family fostered a sense of exploration. 

Most of the jobs I’ve had required me to create something. In high school, I assembled pizzas. During college, I helped couples design their engagement rings. My first real job as a graphic designer was for a leather handbag company, where I worked in the same building as the seamstresses who were physically sewing together each bag.

 

Now in the middle of my career as a designer, I solve problems for clients. But we never call them problems, we instead say opportunities. I help my clientele to communicate their stories in ways that are meaningful. 

But all the while, I periodically find myself thinking "What is the story that I want to tell?". It was during my maternity leave that I found an opportunity that resonated with me. A problem I was passionate about solving.

 
 

In the fall of 2011 my college sweetheart and I quit our jobs, moved to another state and got married.

The very next day we were on a plane to Prague for our honeymoon. We prided ourselves on that sort of spontaneity. Three years and several tiny Chicago apartments later, we nervously ate pizza while waiting for the pregnancy test results. And just nine months later we would find ourselves celebrating things we could not have imagined: 

She pooped!

Her scary umbilical cord flaked off!!

She slept through the night!!!

 
 

Our life revolved around these mini-milestones.

Parenthood became all consuming as I tried to get us organized enough to keep up with this new little person. I was convinced we had no idea what we were doing. 

Is her head flat in the back?

Is she eating enough, too much?

Will she not be independent because of how often I hold her? 

I had begun to question my every move as a parent. This wasn't me. I am confident in my many roles as wife, daughter, sister, friend, designer, maker... and now I was a mother. What changed? 

Well, nothing and everything had changed.

 
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I needed to define parenthood as a part of my identity, but not my entire being.

Giving myself permission to be the "me" I have always been, as well as a parent, was the best gift I could give my child. 

Read the affirmations within Pat on the Back and give yourself permission to be your definition of a parent. Read them in front of your child so they know you care for yourself, just as much as you care for them.

Self-care is a life-skill we should all share.