About four months ago, a very cool lady from Putnam Dental reached out to me to welcome Baby Botanica to the neighborhood (the neighborhood being Brewster, NY). She sent along a ton of toothbrushes and yummy treats and offered to share the news of our new space with their vast clientele. She also non-awkwardly called me a couple times to arrange a time to talk more about ways for our businesses to partner, and just generally was persistent and generous without ever being too much, which is no easy feat. (I know this because I can be too much in just this way.)
Around this same time, I was realizing that I needed an actual professional to assist me in honing in on my business plan, outreach efforts, and my budget. (Apparently, “winging it” when starting a new business is not technically a plan. At all.) I learned that this thing I was looking for was called a marketing strategist, that I ideally needed someone in my neck of the woods, and someone with small business expertise would be a bonus. Anyways, as fate would have it, as this was all happening, one of our Baby Botanica guests told me that one of her good friends, Stephanie, had just met me by phone. Oh, the marketing person from Putnam Dental! I also learned from this guest that Stephanie freelanced as well.
I was on the phone before that guest had walked out the door. And the rest is history.
My marketing strategist, Stephanie, has shaped the essence and future of my small business, which is perhaps to be expected. But I did not expect this person to also be extremely funny and cool, and definitely did not consider the most enviable hair I’ve ever seen to be a job requirement. Stephanie is simply ridiculously witty, clever, interesting, and chic without seeming to try. She’s also a cheerleader who has a real “grab life by the horns” approach but always tells it to you straight too. A content writer, marketing strategist, make-up artist, CrossFit weightlifter, and a thousand other things, Stephanie’s clear-eyed perspective was just the one I wanted on pandemic life with a tot, marriage in quarantine, etc. So here she is to share her insights in her refreshingly honest way!
(But one last thing before Stephanie takes it away: a shameless plug for her, since Stephanie has taught me so much about networking, outreach, putting yourself out there, and business growth. You too may need a marketing strategist in your life, or a content writer, or even a cool buddy with great style! Whatever the case, learn more about or reach out to Stephanie at Big H Content by clicking here.)
“Our Desert Island” by Stephanie Trovato
Now I’m not going to sit here to tell you about ways to be productive, healthy, educational, or any other pipe dreams you may have during this pandemic. The reason being, I don’t know either. We are all in this together, whatever that may be. But I do have a thing or two to say about this self-isolation and all the things that have proved me wrong so far.
So as I’m sure you are aware, there are millions of people home with their spouse and kids (I know there are a lot of single people too, but I can’t speak on that life anymore). When the state government essentially shut us down in mid-march, the rainbow of emotions blossomed. I’m not talking about the fear of or anxiety about ourselves or loved ones getting sick. I’m talking about actually being stationed at home, 24/7, with my husband of almost 5 years, 3-year-old daughter, and 2-year-old Yellow Lab.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. I really do. But I love my alone time too.
I love being able to dive into my work with no interruptions and know that I will have quality time with my family during dinner, and my daughter’s newest request on TV, Family Guy (way to go, Mom and Dad).
We are now in week four of this shutdown of sorts, and there are at least four things I have learned since it has begun. Number one, my daughter is hilarious. Today she told me that she had to hide her feet so the crocodile wouldn’t bite them off. She also told me that I’m cranky. She obviously has her father’s humor. But seeing her in this light, with this much time, and no outside distractions has been nothing short of incredible. There are plenty of times where I want to rip my hair out, scream, and go hide in the bathroom, but all in all, I’m really enjoying this. She has grown so much in these last weeks, both physically and mentally, and it is indescribable. This is such an imperative time in her life, filled with important steps, imagination creations, and fine motor skills being refined each day. I actually look forward to what she will come up with, songs and all. Right now she is sitting next to me in a clear storage bin pretending to take a bath with her baby dolls and singing them reassuring words in the process. This time is like a mirror, with her showing us all of the things she has learned from being around us. I gotta say, we’re pretty awesome parents.
But enough about kids. We know they are amazing —we made them after all. What I was most worried about was being with my husband, 24/7, while both trying to work, entertain a 3-year-old, and not get on each other’s nerves for silly things in the process. What has been most eye-opening to me is that I seriously somewhat doubted our relationship as a whole. I can proudly say that things are better than ever. Without the silly nuances of everyday life, the bickering has gone out the window. We have learned to communicate our needs, both for work and to keep ourselves sane, and allow each other the time needed for both. I can’t name one argument since this has started.
Who would have thought?!?
I’ve also learned some other things about my husband that have made me look at him in a more endearing, appreciative way. He will always allow me to feel accomplished within my work before asking for any time to himself. He is more selfless than I ever knew. He will take on any stress so I don’t have to. Whether it be finding new ways to keep our daughter busy or grocery shop with all the crazies, or dealing with the midnight wake-ups now that our daughter’s routine is completely messed up. He is always more concerned with me being happy and content before himself. I’ve always known it, but I’ve really seen it over these last few weeks. I’ve also learned that his Peppa Pig accent is ON POINT. Really, it’s any imaginary voice, but Peppa is on the top of the list. He gets into character and makes our daughter laugh with that deep belly laugh we as adults only seldom experience.
Don’t worry, there are also plenty of things he does that get on my nerves. Closing the cabinet he just went into seems to be an impossible task. Leaving his socks in the cracks of the couch is another one on the list that has recently appeared. But these minute annoyances are cast into the shadows by his ability to make us smile every day. He has become the man I knew I married, fell in love with, and continue to be in love with each day. I’m a tough cookie, and definitely not the easiest to deal with. But he hasn’t lost his cool, or allowed me to go too far on a tangent of negativity. Instead, he finds ways to make us enjoy the day, even if it’s for a quick walk around the lake or a dance party in the living room.
If quarantine life has taught me anything, it’s that I actually like my husband. So next time someone asks me “If you were trapped on an island, who would you want to be with and why?”, the answer will be my husband, and not because it’s expected, but because it’s true.