How to Have a Great Maternity Leave: Start a Side Hustle and Align it with a Goal

On Instagram this morning, I saw something along the lines of start a side business to travel. I liked it.

A lot of the coach feeds on instagram can be quotes overload – but the ones that matter to you, stay with you.  This one stuck with me this morning as I perused Instagram over coffee.

I enjoy the mix of foodie shots, outdoors adventures, fashion, life hacks and coaching brain food that makeup my Instagram feed!  It is part of my strategy each morning to fill my mind with inspiring visual images & my ears with inspiring messages.  This starts me off in the right mindset each and every day.

Let’s get back on topic…  So I started a small creative business on the side. I make medieval & tudor inspired jewellery and sell it on Etsy.

It literally was a hobby that paid for itself while I was in graduate school. I needed something creative when studying military & strategic studies.  I also liked the “wtf” face people gave me when I said I was a counter-terrorism expert & jewellery designer.  Kinda fun for a multi passionate.

Eventually, it led to a bit extra cash on the side & it has paid for a few international trips during which, I thoroughly enjoy going on buying trips for new supplies. For example, buying sunset seashells and freshwater pearls in a Kauai street side market in the glorious tropical sun (2014) and hunting down antique bottles in a British flea market, tea in hand, on a dark rainy day (2015.)  Pretty cool memories!

I don’t look at my side hustle as an income source though.

I look at it as a facilitator of my goals.

I really like sharing alternate perspectives on the GML that shift your mindset and facilitate growth. This is a great example of one in the making, live and unfiltered!

It’s my “cherry on top” income which I channel into my goal of seeing the world.

To ensure that my side business is connected to this specific goal, I have a tax free savings account set up.  This is because little nuggets of money, here and there can be easily frittered away on small things, because $3 or $5 or $7 at a time have little meaning attached to them on their own.

However, all those $5 or $6 deposits straight from Etsy (And I don’t see anything as my account is with a separate bank) add up over time.

I’m so busy on mat leave a year whips by in no time, and at the end,voila!

Having that goal attached to a side hustle is amazing, because let me tell you, you never lose motivation!  Another side benefit is that it facilitates creativity.

When I sit down to make a piece of jewellery, I never know what I am going to make.  Most of the time, I work on a state of flow which gets my creative juices going.

Thinking about income and expenditures is not conducive to that flow state for me.  In fact, during times of sleep deprivation or stress, I just cannot come up with ideas for pieces (I always sit down and just begin to create, I never start with an idea or plan; I let them come to me.)  During the early stages of mat leave, for sure, I took a break as my creativity was a bit drained by sleep deprivation and time with the little ones was very important.  But eventually you get your groove once you are settled in with the new creature.

My best ideas for making pieces come when I am inspired, imaginative, free of constraints.  Having the international travel mindset as I sit down? Magical.  It gets me going.  So do podcasts, and browsing through medieval images on pinterest, but that’s for another time!

I’m excited to share with you in my next blog, more on this “flow state” and why it is absolutely magical for idea generation & creativity.

Do any of you have a side hustle? Have you attached it to a specific goal?  I’d love to hear if anyone shares the same mindset.


Project: Get on a Plane



The fear of losing the ability to travel was a major obstacle for me.

It was one of a few things that made me truly debate whether to have kids.

In my internet travels I felt bombarded by articles and discussions on forums about the horrors of travelling with kids.  In fact, the terrible family with screaming kid dominates the narrative on family travel, doesn’t it?  People don’t want to travel beside families, and families are afraid to travel.

What I did not understand at the time, is that you do NOT have to listen to narratives that do not fit your own.  For every narrative that doesn’t fit with your life, you can find 20 others that do.

Yes your baby might cry on the plane.  But you know what?  Your baby probably would have cried at home that night, too, except you get to be in a different country the next morning!  And for every person who dislikes a baby, there are at least five people who LOVE babies (including flight attendants) who would love to hold them for a bit. Most of the world’s population have a family, or have been around babies… so ignore those vocal naysayers.
In 2013 and 2015 I hopped on 8 hour international flights with my 6 month old, to go see extended family in the UK.  I missed them desparately.  As a new mother I needed some love, too.

I found those voices as I prepared for my first international flight, solo.

 I bit the bullet and booked the flight. Only 5 minutes later I felt panicky and thought “aaaah what am I doing?!”

The flight was fine. I was treated like a rockstar.  Early boarding, 1st class treatment, TONS of baby cuddles and holding from the flight attendants while I ate, and the sound of the plane lulled both babies to sleep.  Logistical stresses like getting on and off a train were non-existent.  For every train I got off of, there were 3 people waiting to help me lift the stroller down.

The trip was one I will never, ever forget. Beyond disconnecting from the daily routine back home, I was able to fully immerse myself in being present with my daughter as we discovered new places together.  So much time with a newborn whips by at the blink of an eye; I think it is because s often we are also distracted with the daily routines and must-dos of home life.  On holiday, I sat and drank coffee in the garden of an old castle.  Got on the wrong train with with both babies in southern England, and went to visit special places that my Mum and I visited when she was still alive.  Each of those in itself is an immersive experience that bought me back to the present.

Looking back there was some kind of magical bonding on that trip. Just as newborn baby photos are beautiful to look back on, the memories of our trip fill me with the same sense of happiness.  Even though in the moment there were certainly meltdowns and diaper changes.

We adults love travel because it infuses us with the exact same sense of wonderment our children experience every day. Our brains and senses are revitalized as we explore new places.

I’ve been to England a thousand times but to go with a baby gave those same forest trails a new magic to them.

In so many ways, as a newborn mum, I was seeing things for the first time, with a fresh set of eyes.

Returning from an international trip also gave me a newfound confidence in my ability to take my daughter on micro-adventures and domestic trips.  I am much more comfortable with “would you mind helping me” also.

Travel provides a three fold reward. The anticipation, the experience itself, and the fond memories that last a lifetime.