I never saw myself getting married or having children. I had a bit of a hard time growing up in a broken home and didn’t want to necessarily go down that path. But now, I realize that family life is never perfect but gives meaning to everything. In becoming a mother, I too was reborn a new person. And now I own a baby shop. A baby shop like the one I would have wanted when I was becoming a mom. It is a mom’s for mom place where you can nurse, change baby, socialize and even cry; place where moms can bring nurslings to work. A place my own daughter is growing up in. Just the other day she said to me that when she grows up she wants to own a shop. It made me feel like she was proud of me, even though I would rather she becomes the dancer (or singer) I did not.
My daughter, Circe, was 11 months old when I started ZukaBaby inside of another lingerie shop. I thought I could sling her to me and run a shop, and of course, it was much harder than that. Now, five years later the balancing act hasn’t gotten easier but has become our life and it’s hard to imagine it any other way. Entrepreneurs typically work 60-80 hours a week, and as a new mother, it was hard to put in that kind of hours. I didn’t want to jeopardize seeing my own child grow since, after all, she was the reason I was doing this in the first place. I would work in the shop during the day and work at home at night. I always slept with my daughter despite my husband’s complaints; it was some of the most precious time that I could be with her (and him) no matter what. I fought for that time, and I fight for every moment I spend with her not at work.
There is always a price; there is always something not getting done. But I believe that my customers know and are patient and forgive, and I am very grateful for our amazing customers. We are here for them and they keep us here. It is an honor to get to work for and with other mothers. Motherhood humbles you in a way nothing else can. You work harder than you knew you could. You do more than you thought possible, and you do it all for love alone. There is often no thank you or praise for your work as a mom. It is very much the same for being an entrepreneur, except the praise part. Other moms give me so much encouragement, and I think sometimes it is the only thing that keeps me going. And I hope I give that kind of encouragement to other moms through ZukaBaby because that is our mission.
Natural parenting is how I describe my shop and is the type of lifestyle I aspire to. Before having children, I was interested in nutrition, holistic health and healing, gardening and being in and protecting nature. It was only natural to me to apply those interests to child rearing. The lifestyle is my passion that keeps me interested in life on a daily basis. I am always trying to find new recipes, new gardening tricks, new parenting techniques and new business skills. I want things to work better and I always see room for growth in myself.
Yes, I am a self- improvement junkie, but there is a lot to improve. I am a far cry from the poster child for natural parent or natural anything. I am a participant in the world that has rejected nature for air conditioning and gasoline. We are bombarded with so much information and so many choices that in a way we are confused and lost. We have lost our instinctual knowledge of things like breastfeeding and caring for a baby and even what to eat. We need to get back to that knowledge, but as individuals with more than just the rote of tradition but with our head and our heart. That is the journey; back to the beginning; back to the ways of old. ZukaBaby is supporting traditions as old as humans: cloth diapers, baby wearing and breastfeeding. I love the circular nature of life, and as a mother you are right in the middle of it and you have the power to mold the next generation. I applaud you this mother’s day for your bravery and your faith and your love.
ZukaBaby has been a loyal sponsor of New Orleans Moms Blog and did not compensate us for this post.
About Erin Reho Pelias
Erin Reho Pelias is the owner and founder of ZukaBaby and a certified Holistic Health Counselor, avid community gardener and classically trained dancer. ZukaBaby is a natural parenting boutique located on Magazine St. in New Orleans that specializes in natural baby products and also hosts classes and support groups at the store.