Are you an active participant in life, or just surviving today? Conversations with Sisters

When you think about your life, are you an active participant? Or is your life floating away without you – you’re there, but you’re not taking the oar or rowing in any direction?

And even in your business, are you looking ahead to the future? Or are you just getting through your checklist and surviving today?


Courtney: But I am so proud of the fact that my daughter, especially sees me pursuing what it is that I want to do. What, what it is that I need to do, whether that’s like going to a conference or going on vacation, or like taking time for myself or pursuing something that I love cause I don’t want for her to believe that all of her identity has to be wrapped up in who she happens to be a parent of or who she happens to be married to. 

Courtney: Welcome to Hustle and Gather, a podcast about inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I’m Courtney, 

Dana: and I’m Dana,

Courtney: and we’re two sisters who love business. On this show, we talk about the ups and downs with the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey 

Dana: And we know all the challenges that come with starting a business. Between operating our wedding venue, doing speaking and consulting, and starting our luxury wedding planning company, we wake up and hustle every day.

Courtney: And today we’re talking, just the two of us, about last week’s episode with Beth McMillian, founder of Oh so cute designs. If you haven’t heard last week’s episode, go give it a listen and come back to hear our thoughts. 

Dana: All right, Court let’s get started.

Courtney: Let’s get started. I loved that episode with Beth because it was totally full circle. We plan their wedding. 

Dana: Yes. And I was actually good friends with Will. In high school we went to, I suppose, a young life or something, but I don’t know. I’ve always loved Beth. I feel like she has such a great, like, insight in life. Like she’s always been someone that has, like, you can like literally talk to her for hours and hours and hours on end. Because she has so many good tidbits and she’s a deep thinker. 

Courtney: She’s like an out of the box thinker. 

Dana: Yeah, but I feel like when you talk to her, she doesn’t just give you some kind of like anecdotal, like Hallmark bullshit. It’s just like really thoughtful. 

Courtney: She’s doesn’t like placate. 

Dana: Yeah. I always appreciate that. 

Courtney: I feel like, like a very kindred spirit with Beth. It was very interesting. She said that she relates a lot to me on the podcast. Yeah, because I was thinking very similar. Yeah, kind of our life thoughts, right? 

Dana: Yeah. What was your what was your favorite, favorite takeaway?

Courtney: Favorite takeaway. Well, I really loved, cause I’ve definitely felt this way when she was talking about before she made her 40, before 40 which maybe I’ll make that, just get all done next week that she really felt like life was carrying her along with it.

And she wasn’t really like an active participant and I could totally relate to that feeling, where your life is just spitting off without you. And you’re there, but you’re not like taking the oar, or rowing in any direction. And you’re just kind of at the mercy of what’s happening around you or people’s reactions or where the river’s flowing and at that point, yeah. 

Dana: No. I, I agree with that. I feel like, I think that’s a really hard thing to recognize too. Like I think it’s hard to take a step back and say like, am I an active? Cause she said, I wasn’t an active participant. And I think it’s really easy to get that way when you have a family.

Or like if you are a business owner, you just kind of doing that day to day normal, like just like checking the list, checking the to do list but. I think sometimes when you take a step back and it’s when you kind of get that burnout feel when you’re like you realize I’m not being an active participant in my life, I’m just surviving.

Courtney: Like you’re just kind of going through the motions and just doing the next thing and not really making any future-casting like not doing anything today for a moment there, when I was like, right in the middle of what I would call recovery from that I would make this list of like, what am I, what is today’s Courtney going to do to benefit future Courtney?

Right? Like what am I going to actively do today that I’m going to thank myself for later? And I realized that a lot of my life, I was just making a series of decisions that just got me through today. And it wasn’t really benefiting my future Courtney. That future Courtney like resented that past Courtney for that.

Dana: Yeah, but I think that, I think I do want to say, I think that there’s times in your life when that’s necessary to just get through the moment, get through the day, but I, I feel. I don’t know there’s been times in my life where I felt that, but I haven’t fully felt that. I haven’t felt like an active, cause, I mean, you saying like, what can I do today to help my future self like that,

I have always, and I consistently think of that, because I will tell myself, oh, I’ll push yourself to tomorrow, but I’m like, Nope, you’re not going to do it tomorrow. You’re going to get pissed that you have to get it done. You have XYZ to do you have all these other things you need to get done today. So you can do all these other things tomorrow or whatever.

And I say that on the very, like, simple, like day-to-day level, not necessarily on the higher, I definitely make decisions that benefit me in the moment when it comes to like relational things or like big picture things, because it’s easier and I don’t want to deal with it. 

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, I think you’re kind of the opposite of that. Like, you are very much sometimes a future planner, what are these, how are these three steps going to affect my future that you neglect the today, Dana, think you’re the opposite. 

Dana: Yeah. That’s probably true.

Courtney: Yeah, but I love that. Cause I think I have just, I definitely have woken up and looked in the mirror at some point years ago and I was like, who is this person?

Like, this is like nothing. Like I want my life to look, or this is not how I would want to feel at this point in my life, and the only thing that I can change is me, right? Like I’m the only common denominator. And so really making those changes to be an active participant, take the paddles, take the, or steer it where I want it to go, because I think, I think you fall into like that victim mentality.

Dana: Oh yeah. I mean, personal responsibility is so hard, like sure, yeah. I mean, I feel that I feel not on that same kind of level. I was literally having this conversation with Sam the other day and I feel like it’s been like a rough, like relationship year for me. And you know, like, it’s been like, 

Courtney: like relationship in general. You’re not saying like yours and Sam’s right. You’re just saying general relationships.

Dana: Yes. Yeah. Thanks for clarification. Yeah, I was saying like, so like I like my relationship with my in-laws has been really, really like shaky and very shattered. And, you know, I have a functional issue with my parents, but it’s hard. I really have to.

There’s a lot. We don’t talk about because I can’t you know, me and you struggled for a couple years there for a while. And I was telling Sam, I was like an all I can sit here and think about is like, it’s me. Like, I am the common denominator in all of these things. It must be me. And he said, well, you’re a part of the relationships, so certainly it is like you quote unquote. 

And he said, but you just have to use, like, you have to make a decision how you want the relationships to go, and you have to decide where your line is and if you’re willing to fight for it or you’re willing just to let it be or what he’s like, you need to make that decision because it’s this in-between, he’s like is what’s killing you.

Right, it’s putting the expectation that they’re going to behave a certain way because you care about them and you, and you want that relationship and then they don’t rise to that occasion and then it stresses you out and it makes you upset, right? He said, so you’re going to need to decide, are you going to continue to have that expectation, or are you going to pull back and just say, this is just, is what it is, you know? 

But you can’t sometimes I think it is hard because for so many, so much, you take that victim mentality. This is their fault, this is this, this, this, and there is truth in that, but at the same time, like you’re responsible, how you feel a lot of ways.

Courtney: You’re responsible for the situations you put yourself in, like you’re responsible for not speaking up, speaking up or not creating boundaries or saying no. Or when you are saying yes, when you really mean no, and like creating an area for resentment, right. You know, like you’re responsible for all that. 

So I think they’re like, you can’t make yourself powerless in that situation? No, because then you don’t have power to change it and try to get better,

Dana: But It’s, yeah. And like what’s so bizarre is I feel like I have a lot of personal responsibility in business. Like I’m not afraid to tell you I mess up, like Sarah who’s our marketing director went and got married and left us to do all the marketing for 10 days, and it was very hard.

Courtney: I know, so thoughtless of her.

Dana: I know. And we, I thought we did a great job and it came around. I mean for us, we a great job, and it came around that weekend and we were about to release an episode, and I was supposed to make the cover art and she gave me the templates, and I didn’t look at it when, before she left, I just assumed it was all there.

Whatever, and I, I, I know graphic design, like I, I conceptually understand what I should have had in my possession right before she left, and so the night before I’m supposed to get this thing out, I open it up and I’m like, shit, I can’t do this. I don’t have the fonts. I should have gotten the fonts with the templates.

And so we punted, it worked out just fine, but I emailed her and I said I actually can’t do this. I know you’re back tomorrow. This is not an emergency. We figured something out, and I said, but I should have looked at this before you left. Like, I’m sorry, like, this was my fault. Like, this was not your fault.

Like I failed here because I did not prepare myself and, you know, and it was fine. But I don’t have a problem taking personal responsibility for things like that. But sometimes relationship wise, I have a hard time taking personal responsibility. 

Courtney: Well, yeah, cause there’s not a whole lot of emotion. Well, I screw that up in business or whatever. there’s a lot of emotion and relationships, and I think you have a lot of expectations. I had very low expectations for how well we were going to do on marketing. And I say we, I mean you, at marketing when Sarah was gone. So anything that we did do exceeded my expectations, honestly, and it was not like a like a high stake’s thing either. Like if the marketing went badly for one week, it wasn’t going to like make or break whatever situation we’re in. But in relationships, those are emotionally charged, high stakes conversations and interactions, and everything’s kind of building on itself. So it is, it is hard. Yeah. In those situations, I think that’s universal. 

Dana: Yeah, well, I loved kind of going on that same vein. She said that she made this comment. we didn’t really expound on it, but I wrote it down, as she said, experiences will shape you, but you can still choose who you want to be. And I love that because.

And I, she was talking about at the time when like twenties and thirties and how like you make different decisions in that different time. And I think that’s so true that like, we are who we are because of the experiences that we have, right. The relationships that we have, the, the hard roads, we went down, the great roads we went down and they do shape us.

But at the end of the day, we still get to choose who we want to be like, we can still choose how much that experience changes us, how much we want to internalize it or learn from it and like push it out. Do you know what I mean? I just loved the way she said it cause I’ve always heard like, oh, you’re a product of your experiences. Or it’s shaped me into who I was like, this experience made me who I am and I think there is some truth to that, but I also think that if it’s an experience and something you don’t want to be like, you can choose.

Courtney: Well, I think I see it as like, like two pronged, one, I think two people can experience the exact same thing and have two different perspectives on it and have two different outcomes.

Right you can, you can experience something really, really terrible and maybe even tragic. I mean, whatever that might be. And you can either choose to look back at that and garner strengths from what you’ve been through and what, how it grew you and take that information into the next, possibly hard experience.

And it can look, you can look back and say, I went through that. I can definitely do this. This, this is a bump compared to that hill, or you can let it shape you into like towards anxiety or towards like that victim mindset or towards the like nothing’s in my control kind of thing. So why, why should I give effort to this? When this ended in this way or whatever. 

So I think there’s that, I think it’s about perspective. And then I think too, like once you get out of childhood, in the vast majority of cases, you get to pick your experiences. You get to decide what you’re going to experience on some level and what you’re going to expose yourself to, what you’re not going to expose yourself to what you’re going to allow, what, what interactions with relationships you’re going to have, you?

Dana: But isn’t it so crazy that your childhood let’s just say is from zero to 18, right? It’s 18 years of your life. So by the time you’re 40, like you are 37, I guess you’ve over half your life.

Courtney: Hypothetically you’re 37. 

Dana: Over half your life, you’ve been an adult, yet the things that impact your life the most are those first 18 years, as opposed to the second 18 years, the ones that you always go back to what you remember, and that pulls you back into those questionable states.

Like why, why you have that inner critic, that voice that you hear, it’s normally somebody in something from those first 18 years. So why are those first 18 years so freaking damning?

Courtney:  I don’t know, I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that.

Dana:  It’s what makes being a parent so freaking stressful I, you know, I, you know, we believe in therapy and I will always support my children going to therapy. I will pay for my children’s therapy and I know they’re going to need it because I’m not a perfect parent, but like, I still struggle with what are the, what am I, what are we doing now that they are going to carry for the rest of their life? Like, how are the words that I’m talking to my daughter now that she’s going to carry for the rest of her life?

Courtney: Sure, but then you could also spend that to be like, okay. You’re a fairly reasonable person, majority of the time. And you had all those 18 years of experiences where it built you to where you are. 

Dana: No, no, I’m not saying she’s got, it’s going to be miserable or hard, but there’s definitely things that you have to overcome. There’s definitely like hard steps in life. And I’m not saying, I’m not saying we should create this cushy life and that they never have any like shit to deal with like at all, but when I think about the things that have impacted me the most as a child, I don’t think you would, if you would ask my parents in the moment, they would say like, oh, that’s not going to impact the rest of her life. Right. You know? And I, how do I know? 

Courtney: Like, I don’t think, you know, because I think everybody’s wired differently, so you don’t necessarily know. What someone could just brush off, like could be life altering for somebody else. Like even talking about our childhood, we had similar childhoods, but it was very different.

I mean, like when we talk about, you would think in a lot of ways that we grew up in different families, because my experience with our family, it was different than your experience with our family just based on like birth order. 

Dana: So was our brother’s experience, is very different than our own.

Courtney: So like, I don’t know. I think there just must be some grace. I think there’s this grace in parenting. I think no, one’s going to get it perfect, or we can’t strive for that. You can just do the best with what you have at the time, which I think was really one of the great points. Cause she was kind of talking about where she was in her twenties and where she was in her thirties and where she was in her forties.

And I just think that you do the best with the information you’re given at the stage of life that you’re in, right. You know, and like if you were a parent at 60, it’d be a much different parent than you, than a parent at 30, right, you have a lot more life experience, a lot more, a lot more that you’re bringing to the table.

You started as a parent at 25, right, so you’re bringing your 25-year-old self to that table. Very different than your 37-year-old self. Yeah, 

Dana: I’d love to her talking about like her voice and finding her voice and using your voice because, I mean, I just relate so much to that. And I think that a lot of people really do, like being told at one point that they’re not good at something. And it’s really interesting her talking about maybe even like her talking about her art as a child, like how her sister was this amazing artist and she had this little corner, and I’m curious, like going back and if, if you could step back in time and look at what her sister created, what she created, would she still find her art not to be perfectly beautiful cause, I’m sure. 

No, like I’m sure Beth was a very happy kid. Like there, the fact that you want to be a cheerleader, like I can only imagine that she was probably like, oh, this art brought me joy and I, and I loved that aspect that it was just like the attitude of you create something and we’re not just talking about art here.

We’re talking about, you just create something, whether it’s, you create something in business or you create a new business or you creates a wonderful dinner or whatever the case may be, that the only objective is that it should bring somebody joy. And if that somebody is only you, then that was worth it. And I know that those are really powerful. 

Courtney: Yeah. I think especially as a mom and as a wife and as someone that’s in a role of service a lot of times, and not necessarily service to yourself, I think it’s very powerful to do something that just brings you joy, right. Because I think it brings you back to being a human.

Is there anything that you do in your life that just brings you joy? 

Dana: I think I’m dinner, food. I mean, I know I’ve lamented about it before, like there’s times. And like, I think sometimes I get, I feel like I’m on the hamster wheel which is hard, but then there’s times in life when I don’t feel that way, and I feel really inspired and like excited to create new things. And, and I, and my family is the best family in the world to cook for, because everything they eat is the best thing they’ve ever had.

And I always say like, is this a repeater? And they’re always like, yeah, it’s a repeater. It’s great. It’s so wonderful. And they’re like, so complimentary. 

I know. And it can be like the weirdest thing, like I think literally I can count on one hand the dinners, they were like, it was really good, but it wasn’t my favorite thing. Like I really loved this part, but you know, I didn’t love like that flavor or whatever. So that brings me joy, yeah. What about you? 

Courtney: Wow. I think I’ve, I’ve fallen into, like Beth, like I don’t feel like I’m like an overly creative person. I like to create like design spaces. I think I have a good eye for like scale and what goes together and, probably more like interior design. but I don’t like overly, well, I create quilts. That’s not true, but I only like it seasonally, so I’m not in that season yet. So it doesn’t. cross my mind, but somewhere around like November to like February, I love to sew things. And then after February, like I’m done and it, the bug hits me again around November, but I do, I do like doing that. Yeah. For that season. 

Dana: I really loved when she said that, when she’s talking about her journey and she was like, how she got onto it, she saw something she’s like, I can make that, oh, I can make that. 

Courtney: I’m like you’re in trouble.

Dana: I know what have you seen that you’re like, I can make that, and you made it? 

Courtney: The Bradford. I don’t know, like literally I thought that my whole life. Like, oh, I can do that. I can do that. I can do that. Like I wanted to make a quilt, I made a quilt, like I made a quilt for your daughter and hand quilted it.

So I didn’t ever want to do that again, made a quilt for Nora’s queen size beds. I didn’t want to that. I had a friend that used to knit and I was like, I’m going to learn how to knit. So I would knit people, hats and scarves or whatnot. Whether it’s like any household project. I think I can do it. 

I can’t do all of them well, like all of our shower enclosures that we tiled have indicated that maybe I shouldn’t do that. You know, like I’m not maybe a great like vertical tiler, but I thought I could do it. But, I mean, think of all the things that we’ve done, like we’ve built decks, we’ve built cabinets. We put in floors; we’ve tiled things.

We’ve done the trim. We’ve painted things. We put up siding and our houses multiple houses. We did the deciding we’ve planted trees. We’ve laid sod, patios, like, what is it that we haven’t thought, oh, I can do that. 

Dana: Yeah. There is probably like not much of that I like, oh, I can’t do that, but a lot of likes, I don’t want to do that now. I don’t want to. Installation, never want to do that again.

Courtney: Yeah. I think I’m at the stage in my life where it’s not, oh, I can do that. It’s more along the lines of do I have the bandwidth to do that, and if I have the bandwidth, is that what I want to be using it for? Right. Most of the time the answer’s no. 

Dana: But don’t you feel like a lot of that, most of the like, oh, I can make that, I can do that, stemmed more from a necessity of a financial standpoint point? But I think what I loved about her mentality; it wasn’t about necessarily like a financial standpoint all the time. It was just like, oh, I can do that. That looks cool. I can try that, and let me make that.

Courtney: Yeah, like just kind of like staying perpetually curious, which I think is important in life. But for me personally, like that ship has sailed. I was curious, now I know. I no longer curious. I’m no longer, like for me I know how it ends. Like one of the craziest things to me when we were like, oh, I can do that. And we’re going to save money, obviously it was out of necessity for money because I hate painting.

I would never paint; cause we painted the Bradford. And it cost us, I don’t know, maybe a couple thousand dollars in paint and I’m sure that it saved us a ton of money, but I remember when we had things repainted, I was like, that’s all you’re charging me? That’s all it costs for you to come in here, and that included the paint? What did I just waste months of my life for?

Dana: Yeah, no, that is true. I mean, I think there is some things like that and I think that’s a lot of, I think that’s where a lot of professionals kind of bang their head up against a wall and they’re like, oh, it’d be cheaper if I just did it. You’re like, it could be nominally cheaper, but because we are able to get like so much, like things wholesale or whatever, like it’s never, to me, it’s not much cheaper to drywall a house by yourself as this to hire drywallers is pretty much comes out. 

But it comes out in the wash. When you think about the cost of the materials to do it, and not even including your time, even you would pay yourself some crappy $5 an hour, it would still be better for you just to hire someone to come and do it.

Courtney: I feel like, and that’s, we never dry walled anything like as adults, but I do distinctly remember drywalling as a child and my parents built the house in Florida. And I remember how long it took. Do you remember? It was like months and drywallers come in and get it done in like days. But it was like months of our life trying to dry and I’m like, how much money did they save? Like if you were to add up all the hours of all the people doing that. And it had to have been very, very costly. 

Dana: Yeah. But, you know, like when you’re an owner of something or whatever, like your time isn’t worth anything. 

Courtney: Well, I just don’t believe that anymore. 

Dana: Well, yeah, I know, but you’re in a different mentality.

Courtney: Yeah. What about for you? I can do that. Isn’t it just the same list cause I mean, you were there for most of these things? 

Dana: No. I have thought that perpetually about a lot of things in my life and I’m thinking more on the artsy level. I mean, I feel very capable about building something and, you know, Whatever. I’m like, oh, we can, we can handle that. But like, art-wise, I, I always, I want to be better at things than I actually am, and I think if it’s a technology thing, like, like the thing with Adobe, like, oh, I can figure that out. Like I can figure it out. Like I can, I have the perseverance enough to do it, but I think there’s something about you either are artistic in a technical term, or you’re not right.

So I’m not good at drawing. I just am not. I wish I was, and I always wanted to be able to draw and I, and I don’t do it well, but I’ve also never taken the time to practice and continually try. Like maybe if I did the doodle challenge, like I would be better at it. Like if I continually did every, a little bit every single day, 

But I thought that way about embroidering. I was like, I can make that, I can do that. And I did it. There was definitely lots of mistakes, and I think I restarted my first one. I restarted it three times. So I finally got the right fabric and tension and all that stuff. But yeah, I mean, I’m not naive enough to think that I can do anything. Like I used to think whenever I thought back on school in college, I remember being very stressed out like, and how hard it was to take tests and write papers and all that.

And how much I, for some reason, I don’t know why, but when I was in my thirties, I was like, I could probably go back to school and be fine I for some reason thought, like, I know how to take notes. I can absorb this information. Like, it can’t be that hard. Like it can’t be that hard to learn something new.

Right, because if you’re willing to learn it or whatever, and I know, and I’m thinking of this in my head, and I know it’s total folly. It’s not like if I was to take calculus right now, again, even though I was a math major, I mean, maybe some of it would come back, but I’d probably struggle. 

but there is something in me that just felt like I can do it. Like there’s no question about it. I don’t know why, maybe just false confidence.

Courtney: Well, cheers to false confidence. 

I think to like end on a, like right away, like I related to Beth when she was talking about that identity crisis, that she felt like she had after having her daughter. And I think that there is an identity shift, but I think women feel more than men when they become parents. Do you know what I’m saying?

Where there’s like this all-consuming role shift and I, and I think it just, I think it’s just the nature of the beast. Like when you have a child, as a mom, like you’re growing that child, then you’re birthing that child and yes, you might have a partner, but they are not doing the work. And then you’re feeding that child, especially if you’re breastfeeding or whatnot, and getting up in the middle of the night, like you’re literally that child’s whole world and the reason it’s going to survive, you know, from conception to the first year.

So, and I think that it is so identity altering and it’s so easy to get lost. In that like singular role, you know that, and it can be hard to find yourself again, outside of the confines of being a mother. And not that I’m not, I’m not saying that being a mom hasn’t like enriched or empowered, like I never felt more empowered than right after I had a baby.

I was like, I’m a bad-ass, I just did that. You know, it was like an amazing experience, but also it was a life altering experience in terms of like your perception and how you fit in the world and your personal importance. Do you know what I mean? 

Dana: Yeah, I think, I remember me and Sam had this conversation before we had Ada, because I was really, really fearful of that.

And, and there was definitely times where I had an identity crisis where I was like, who am I? I am literally just this person’s mother. There is nothing else. And it was really hard when the world around me only confirmed that. Like I remember, like really early on, like one of the things like, like one of my hardest memories I had with like, with my mother-in-law is like, I was, I was like a ghost, like after my daughter was born, I don’t even think they knew I was there.

Like, it felt very isolating because at that point on, I was only Ada’s mother, you know, like where we had this whole relationship before and now it was nothing compared to the fact that I gave them a grandchild, right? Is that how they felt? No, I don’t think it’s how they felt, but it it’s how, perception of how, how I thought it was, right. And a lot of that was my own insecurities, cause I felt like that. Right. And I felt like they were just confirming that, you know, for me and I can’t speak for them. So I don’t know if that’s what they actually thought, right. 

But, the whole world, is just tells you like how hard it is to be a mom and how stressed out you should be, how stressed-out moms are and how you, that you should feel this way and that you should feel like everything’s terrible and awful, and you need a glass of wine every single night when the minute your husband gets home. And you know what I mean? and so I struggled a lot with the fact that it was really hard to figure out, not necessarily who I was, but what kind of a mother did I want to be? And I felt like I didn’t have the space to do that because I was constantly bombarded by people telling me about what I should be and how I should raise my child and how I should be doing this and how they should be sleeping this way.

They should be eating this way. They should weigh this much. They should have this. They should be at this mile marker. You know, and, and I felt like I was silenced and a lot of ways of like, no, like, this is how I want to raise my kid. You know, I felt like I knew Ada better than anybody else. And I knew, which is true who she is today, like she gets overloaded like so quickly, so easily, like sensory, like she has anxiety, like that’s very well managed, she does a great job with it and she’s an amazing kid, but I knew this about her from early on as a baby. And I remember saying like, I want a very structured, rigid routine. I don’t want to stray from it. Like if we have to, like it’s not worth having the next day be awful. 

There’s so many people in my life that were just like you and relax. You need to relax, calm down. Why do you care so much? And I’m like, am I crazy? Like, you know, so I think there’s a lot of that. Like, we kind of go with that identity because you’re trying to not lose who you are, but you’re also trying to figure out this new part of you, because it’s an identity you’ve never had before. You hadn’t been a mom before; you don’t even know who you want to be. And people don’t give you the grace to figure that out. They’re like, oh, but you said, and like, yeah, I said a lot of things with my first child that I didn’t do with my second child. Like that’s okay, you know? 

Courtney: I was very keenly aware before I got married. So Mikael told you this, like I told him one time, I was like, I’m going to get married, but I really don’t want to lose my Courtney-ism is what I called it. And I did lose my Courtney-ism like somewhere along the way.

I was very keenly aware and entering into that relationship that there was going to be some part of me that was going to have to die and something new, and I just didn’t want to like lose the essence of who I was. I didn’t have those same thoughts when becoming a parent that, oh, I’m going to have this child and there’s going to be another part of Courtney.

That’s going to be lost. So yeah, I didn’t have that same awareness. And then I just, at one point woke up and realized. I’ve lost all of it. Right. Like I just didn’t realize that there was going to be that aspect of it with mother, cause I was excited to be a mom. Like I was excited to have Mason, I really wanted a baby at that point, but I didn’t know like what that meant really.

but yeah, I mean, I think it can be definitely very, character altering for sure. And you and I, and I’m very proud of the fact like. I don’t think that I’m like mother of the year, anything like that? I, we’re very busy. We run our business. Mikael works, the kids are in school. They had their activities.

We’re into like the chauffeur a part of parenting, for sure. But I am so proud of the fact that my daughter, especially sees me pursuing what it is that I want to do. What, what it is that I need to do, whether that’s like going to a conference or going on vacation, or like taking time for myself or pursuing something that I love cause I don’t want for her to believe that all of her identity has to be wrapped up in who she happens to be a parent of or who she happens to be married to. You have a very rich and a much richer life by living separate lives in a parallel way. Do you know what I’m saying? Like your bubbles interact when you’re at home, but I have a separate bubble completely outside of my house and I want back for her.

Dana: Right. And then it’s so it’s so true. And I, and I think too, at the same time, you’re teaching your sons that their partner in life, whether they’re going to be whatever it’s going to be, that it, that they’re partners and one doesn’t have to sacrifice a dream for the other. And yeah, I mean, I, 

Courtney: I, that wasn’t, that wasn’t displayed to us. Like, I mean, I thought we had pretty progressive parents, but it was definitely more gender roles. Do you know what I mean? 

And it was more like, more like permission than understanding. Oh, this is what I need. Oh yeah, sure, take that. Or is it okay with you? If I,

Dana: Well, it’s really interesting. Cause you know, Sam does a bulk of like kid stuff since, since he started working from home and people ask me all the time, like how do you balance it? And I’m like, I have a partner who, I said, you should ask him, how does he balance it? And, and it’s literally, it’s a conversation every week. It’s a conversation every day.

Like what are you doing this week? What do you need? And okay, I have this, I have this, I can’t, I can’t move this meeting. I can’t do this. Can you do whatever? And it’s just, it’s an, it’s a negotiation every single day. Like last night I realized, I forgot that we had a crazy day today. So my whole plan was to clean the house in order to get ready for Sam’s birthday on Saturday. And I was like, I can’t do that. 

Courtney: Like, you’re going to have to clean the house for your birthday. 

Dana: Well, no, so I can’t do baseball tonight. If you want to do baseball, like I’ll say I’ll clean the whole house while you guys are at baseball. But I’m going to need for you to swing by the grocery store while he’s at baseball, because I can’t do it all, essentially.

And so he was like, yeah, that’s fine. It’s totally works. Whatever, you know, and I bet most women, or any like parent, may not have that. And like, and I can only imagine if you’re thinking, okay, I have to go to the grocery to take this kid to baseball, get the house clean, get ready for the next day. Like how you, there is no time for you.

Yeah. Like you just, you do lose yourself in it all. Yeah. Be 

Courtney: impossible. Yeah. Agreed. 

Dana: But I love Beth. She’s a great person. Yeah. And I, and to end, I think she had the best piece of advice. If you do one little thing every day, you will get better at it. Yeah. And we loved that piece of advice that if you want to do something you want to become better at it, just do a little bit of it every single day.

Courtney: Thanks everyone for gathering the best today to talk about the hustle. For our episode with Beth, we made a chocolate mug cake with Beth’s original recipe. We hope you’ll get the chance to make it this week and cheers to doing that one little thing. to learn more about Beth and her business, visit or follow her on Instagram @ohsocutedesigns. 

Courtney: And to learn more about our hustles visit,, and or follow us on Instagram at canddevents, at thebradfordnc, and at hustleandgather. If you liked the show, be sure to subscribe and leave us a rating and a review.

Courtney: This product is a production of Earfluence. I’m Courtney.

Dana: And I’m Dana.

Courtney: And we’ll talk with you next time on Hustle + Gather.


Full Episode Transcript

If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode with Oh So Cute Designs‘ Beth McMillian, check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other podcast app.

Hustle and Gather is hosted by Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, and is produced by Earfluence.  Courtney and Dana’s hustles include C&D Events, Hustle and Gather, and The Bradford Wedding Venue.

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