In a world where everyone tries so hard to impress people they don't even know or like through social media, I am very careful with who/what I'm feeding my mind, and therefore life, with. I am not so much interested in those who impress me anymore, but rather those who inspire me. And for this blog's 'heroines and badasses' posts, I don't want to just feature famous mom-bloggers. I want to feature real moms who are achieving their dreams in their own way, without having to 'sacrifice' their kids. So I was excited when I found out about this event planner slash mother of two. This momma right here doesn't just plan kid-friendly events. Through her creative event studio, Maxwell and Gray, she plans events that provide mothers with creative and fun activities which allow them to bond with other moms as well as their children. On top of that, she puts a little more thought and depth in to them. Meaning, these events are with purpose, mamas. Meet Stacy Hillstead.
After having a little chit-chat at one of her events back in October, I invited her for a playdate a few weeks ago. It was a busy, chaotic day for both of us and I must admit that it wasn't as smooth as we'd like it to be. Our boys were a little fussy and sleepy, but thankfully we managed to have a good conversation and take some pictures in between our toddler-chasing, or as Stacy'd like to call it, our 'Juggle Struggle' :)
She seemed more calm than me though. And when she told me she had just gone to another meeting that day for her upcoming event, I wondered, "How does she do this?" and more importantly, "Why would she want all this trouble with event planning and mothering?" - especially because she just moved to Dallas too!
So I asked her these few questions. Read along and get inspired!
A lot of moms give up their dreams for their kids, but you seem to be discovering and pursuing new dreams after having kids. You used to plan weddings, and now you're planning events for moms and kids, with purpose. How did you come up with that idea? And in your opinion, how important is it for moms to pursue new dreams after having kids?
I've always had crazy dreams. Ask my husband and he'll tell you that I wanted to change the world in a day. I've always had a deep calling in my heart to do something to help women but I never knew what that looked like. And having studied journalism growing up, I always had a passion to tell peoples' stories but again, never knew what that looked like. Fast forward to when when I first got involved with events as a wedding planner... I realized I could tell peoples' stories through events. The events could go deeper and actually be the end result of really cool people planning something really inspirational. And after I had my kids, I wanted so badly to connect with other moms and to find things to do apart from "the norm" (as much as I love the norm). I realized that I could, in fact, combine my two passions of helping women and storytelling through events to create events designed around moms and for moms that are still creative and well-executed. And my purpose with these events is to take that next step and dig deeper. Rather than just throwing something together haphazardly, I specifically reach out to small business owners to collaborate with who have the same passion of reaching and inspiring women.
I feel like kids are the greatest inspiration for a mom to follow new dreams. God is always calling us to "go" in some shape or form and while scary, I think the most beautiful thing we can do as moms is to live out our dreams right in front of our children so they too can be inspired to reach for the stars. I'm a firm believer in timing and that there is a reason for everything. Whether your dream is to be at home with your kids or to be the next CEO, I've learned that if you're doing what you love, you will feel a confidence unlike anything else. And when you feel confident as a mom, you are able to love yourself more and in turn, love your kids even more.
What has been the biggest challenge in doing all this so far?
The biggest challenge has been time. Honestly, finding time to plan and network and share my business and dream and connect with other entrepreneurs and women while being a mom of two kids is just as hard as it sounds. It's possible but it's a challenge. And sometimes you feel guilty for wanting to work for a few hours when you want to be with your kids. Or when you're with your kids, you find yourself wishing you had more time to work - it's an honest challenge and it's real but I find myself praying for energy at 10 or 11 at night to make this work. The other challenge is doing it alone. It's scary. When I decided to start my own business and to just "dive in", I didn't know exactly how it would work or what would come of it, but I just followed my heart and continue to do so knowing that amazing people are being placed in my life to encourage and uplift and support, which is more than I could ever ask for.
How do you overcome it/them?
With the help of three things. 1. My husband. Honestly, I believe a marriage has to be so strong once you become a parent. And even stronger after you become a business owner. He is constantly supporting, encouraging, challenging and helping with the kids - all of which I could never do alone. 2. My faith and drive. My dad always said, "If you do what you love, work hard and serve the Lord, the rest will follow." And I believe that. There's a lot I don't know these days, but I DO know I'm following my heart and am on the right path. My faith keeps me going when I have self-doubt or fear or exhaustion. 3. Sharing. To my point above about it being scary starting a new business or following your dreams, I've come to learn that sharing your story and passion with others is the best piece of advice. People are always willing to help and if nothing else, lend an open ear. I've found by opening up, meeting new people, sharing about my mission and spending time with others has been the biggest blessing these first few months.