Moms Know Moms Day 22: Jessica Abbott

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family life.

Me Sew Crazy Jessica AHi there! I am Jessica, creator of The Sewing Rabbit’s me sew crazy blog.

Wife to a traveling man, we have lived in many places. Having resided now in Virginia Beach for 3 years, this is the longest we have ever been in one place together…and I love it. We have 3 beautiful children, all under the age of 7. And boy are they SMART. I never knew just how smart kids could be, I swear our seven year old knows more than me already.

I am blessed to be able to stay at home with them, and run my business out of my house. It can get chaotic at times, but I love the business of it all. I get a little cooky if I need to sit still for too long, as do my kids.

What’s the name of your blog/website? What is the significance of the name and how long have you been blogging?Me Sew Crazy Blog Logo

The blog actually started out as Me Sew Crazy more than 3 years ago, when I was just looking to share some of my handmade creations. As my love for blogging and sewing grew, and I branched out and started doing other things, I realized the need to have a blog name that reflected more upon me and who I am. That is how the Sewing Rabbit was born.

Growing up, my nickname was always Jess Rabbit. When I married, my last name became Abbott – and with the first name Jessica, and middle name Rae…you get my drift. I was literally, the Sewing Rabbit.

For many, sewing/crafting is a big part of who you are as a person. Why is “creative expression” important to you, and how has it affected the quality of your life?

Me Sew Crazy Pleated ToteSewing and crafting is how I still connect to who I am as an individual. Everything else in our lives revolve around our family. Whether it is driving the kids to school, soccer practice and games, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, taking care of my husband, Girl Scouts, gymnastics, piano practice, etc. Sewing is the one thing I get to do that is ALL MINE. It connects me with my creative side, and gives me an outlet to relax. Sewing is my ‘me time’.

My husband can get annoyed with it at times, as he doesn’t always understand that concept. Or appreciate when I have let the dishes pile up, the laundry go undone, or the bathroom get unruly. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to stay sane every now and then, and if it means my home isn’t always Martha Stewart picture perfect, then I am ok with that.

Working inside or outside of the home (or running a blog or website on a part to full time basis) can be especially tough Me Sew Crazy Sew Set Logobecause of the difficult choices we have to make with how to divide our time between work and family. Have you ever felt guilty about the choices you’ve made, and what advice would you give to someone struggling with those same types of feelings?

Absolutely I have felt guilty at times. I think the hardest for me is my cell phone. I used to hate that my husband always had it in his hands, and beg him to take at least one day a week off, to put the cell phone down. But now I find it is ME doing exactly that. I LOVE what I do, and when you have a passion for something it comes natural to want to always be on top of it. But I need to catch myself and put my phone in another room just to stop looking at it.

Me Sew Crazy Boot Cover upSometimes I just need to remind myself, it just is not that important. I am only one person, and I can only get so much done. What is important, is right in front of me. And what I don’t get done, can simply fall off the plate. The important blogging stuff will always rise to the top.

But boundaries are very important in everything I do. I have special times throughout the day that is ‘Mommy work time’. Then after that, I try to get the kids outside. I found if I stay home, I will naturally get sucked back into work. Bringing it out forces me to engage. Keeping to my schedule is the number 1 way I am able to accomplish anything and everything.

If you’ve transitioned from hobbyist to business woman, what made you take the leap? What has been your greatest challenge? What has been your greatest reward?

When I realized I was working 40 hours a week on my blog, around my family life, I knew I needed to make the Me Sew Crazy Five and Ten Designstransition and start truly treating it like a business. In came the P&L’s, watching what I was spending, and making decisions based on financial gain – vs. purely for fun. It has been tough because all of this time I was treating it like a fun hobby, because I loved doing it. But if I wanted to make money from doing it, I needed to start treating it like a business. And that can be hard. Especially when you can no longer do every single post someone asks you, and you need to ask yourself the question, ‘How is this financially viable?’. That can be tough.

What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received?
You cannot do it all. I used to be embarrassed if someone came over and my house was less than perfectly clean. Then my Aunt said to me, ‘sometimes the person coming over needs to see a messy house. It lets them know that you aren’t perfect either, and makes them feel better about their own dirty bathroom’.

Me Sew Crazy Pleated SkirtThat really clicked for me, as it was so true. As women, we tend to hold ourselves up to such a high standard, an unachievable standard that will always result in us feeling less than perfect. When we start to give ourselves a little slack, and understand that the level of laundry we have in the basket is not directly correlated to our success for the day or who we are as a person, we start to understand God’s grace in our lives and are able to truly open up and help serve others. None of us are perfect.

How has being a mom changed your life perspective?

Being a Mom changed EVERYTHING. I think being a Mom is the most selfless thing you can do. I don’t think I ever realized just how selfish I was, until I became a Mom. I no longer have the ability to just do whatever I want, when I want. I have 3 little kids who look to me first, and I need to be their front line of defense. I inherently want what is best for them, and will squash anything that tried to get in my way. Lol. But seriously, being a Mom is the greatest gift I have ever been given. And when you get those moments of sheer joy amongst the insanity, I am so very thankful for it all. I now know what TRUE joy is.

Line-2Jessica, thank you for sharing with us today.

You can find Jessica at The Sewing Rabbit (Me Sew Crazy), Pinterest and Facebook.

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Join us tomorrow for Day 22 of Moms Know Moms and our interview with Tamika from Clouds Full of Rain

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A Question for You:

Jessica talks about how holding ourselves up to unachievable standards can affect our perception of ourselves (We feel less than perfect.). Why do you think we do this? Media, tradition, outside expectations?

2 Comments

  • Delia says:

    Loved reading this Jess! I look up to you so much!

    to answer the question…I think as women we are naturally inclined toward hating ourselves. I don’t know why, but we do! Just like men have a natural tendency to do other less desirable things ;), I think this is our Achilles heel as women. So much of life is learning how to tame those natural and yet unhealthy inclinations in ourselves. A great way is to teach yourself to not care so much about those things is to get so busy your eyes feel like they are going to pop out of your head…aka. work from home. ha! 🙂 Then the mess in your house turns into charming, rather than embarrassing and annoying. At least that’s what it’s done to me!

    – Delia

  • Shannon_CC says:

    I think for me, my “need” to overextend myself and set super high standards has more to do with perceived outside influences, like tradition. There’s always that whisper in the back of my mind that if my mom, grandmother or whoever could “do it all”, then I should be able to too, forgetting that “doing it all” back then doesn’t look the same today. Circumstances are different. The way we function as a family unit is different in many respects. Not only are many of us trying to take care of a home, but we’re also working, trying to further our education, starting our own businesses, etc. It’s a lot to juggle and we end up spreading ourselves super thin and then faulting ourselves when our homes aren’t “perfect”. I have to constantly remind myself to relax my expectations, so I can breathe.

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