A New Way Of Defining My Feminism

future is female kayla

A few weeks ago I asked Kayla, my just turned 5 year old, what she wants to be when she grows up.  She told me she wants to be “a teacher, then a mommy”.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  Why does my little girl think you need to stop working when you become a mom? Is my 5 year old so jaded that she already thinks you can’t have it all? Can she really believe that a woman has to give up her career when she becomes a mother? Then I realized she must feel that way because of me.  I like to think of myself as a feminist, a strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man, after all, I do own my own business.  But I’m not.  I am dependant on my husband because my income is neither steady nor as substantial as his.

I was having a few drinks with a friend when I realized that I was in fact financially dependant on my husband.  I cried because I thought I was a feminist.  I have come to realize that I can rely on my husband’s income while still being a feminist because that is how I choose to live my life.  I grew up in a family that values education, and I always believed I would have a successful career.  I graduated from law school and passed the Florida Bar, but I do not practice law.  My husband is a firefighter who works 24 hour shifts.  If I was a lawyer, who would drop off and pick up the kids from school the days my husband was working?  Who would take them to karate, gymnastics and ballet? My mother is a biologist and professor while my father owned his own business.  Both my parents wouldn’t get home from work until past 7pm.  I was fortunate to have grandparents and babysitters to take me to extracurricular activities and I was only able to participate in those activities because of how hard my parents worked.  If I practiced law, we could hire babysitters and rely on grandparents, but I CHOOSE not to do that.  I could find a job as an attorney that paid well enough for my husband to stay home, but why would I ask my husband to sacrifice a career he loves so I could have a career I don’t even want? I want to have the ability to be there for my children and choosing to put my family before my career does not make me any less of a feminist.

I know that I am lucky and many families do not get to make the decisions we have made, that many do whatever they must do to survive, whether that is working a job they hate or having to stay home with their children when they want to work out of the home.  My kids are in preschool, so I get to work, and get a break because staying at home with your children is the HARDEST job of all, but I also can drop everything and pick my kids up early from school if they are sick or if I just feel like taking them out to lunch.

So my daughter may think she wants to stop working as a teacher when she has children and I am no longer disappointed by that or ashamed that it is because of the choices I have made, because the most important part of being an independent woman is to choose to do what you want, to choose to do what will make you happy.

Besides, Kayla is only 5, I’m sure she will change her mind about her career aspirations dozens of times before she even joins the workforce.  I hope when Kayla does get a job, there is no more wage gap; afterall, I am still a feminist.  My own struggle with coming to terms with my own feminism led to adding “The Future is Female” tees to the kd Closet Etsy shop.  No it is not an original idea or slogan, but a portion of the proceeds from every shirt sold is donated to The National Girls Collaborative Project which encourages girls to seek careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.  I believe my son will be just as successful as his sister, so to me, The Future is Female means that there will be more opportunities for women in the future, that more women will at least have the same encouragement to pursue careers in fields that have been overwhelmingly male dominated.  And if Kayla wants to be a teacher, a career that is already dominated by women, good for her, as long as she gets paid the same as the male teachers.

future is female

 

Creating a New Way to Shop kd Closet

I recently made a very hard decision: kdCloset.com will no longer be shoppable, but don’t worry, you can still purchase designer new and like new maternity, baby and kids’ fashions through our eBay store and custom made to order items through our Etsy shop! kdCloset.com will still exist, but it will simply direct you to eBay or Etsy to shop or here to read our blog.

I am a work at home mom, working by myself, with no employees, though my husband, parents and even children help me out.  Since I began creating custom cups, tees and other items, I have been slacking on the resale part of kd Closet.  It was a difficult decision, but as most entrepreneurs learn quickly, making tough decisions is a major part of owning your own business.  Instead of maintaining three online stores, I will only maintain two, which frees up time to add new resale clothing to the eBay store and to create new original designs for the Etsy shop.  Thank you for your understanding! If you are reading this and have kdCloset.com store credit, please click the contact link at the top.

To thank you for being a loyal reader and customer, use this link to save 15% on your entire purchase in our eBay Store: http://ebay.us/XXm10c and you can save 15% on your entire purchase from our Etsy Shop when you use KDCLOSET15 at checkout.

Celebrating My Kids’ Differences

My children are too young to know it, and it really shouldn’t make a difference, but they truly are unique. Of course they have their own personalities and quirks, but I doubt they will meet many people with backgrounds as diverse as theirs. My mother is Chinese, my father is Jewish and a mixture of Eastern European heritages. I grew up in an incredibly diverse town in New Jersey so though no one was exactly like me, most of my friends were of mixed races too.  In fact, I didn’t realize being bi-racial was unique until I went to college.  My husband is white, he is Irish and Italian and was raised Catholic, but grew up in the same small town and was exposed to a variety of cultures as well. This means our children are multiracial, which shouldn’t matter in the melting pot of America, but it does, especially in the small town in Florida where we live now.

We have chosen to raise our family by exposing them to their various cultures and religions. We have decided their differences should be celebrated, not hidden, and I hope that this remains the case when they are old enough to realize they are different than other kids. We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, Easter and Passover, Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day. I know St. Paddy’s Day had real meaning in Ireland and is different than the green beer drinking fun we have in the states. But St. Paddy’s Day means the arrival of “Kiss me, I’m Irish” shirts in stores. Since my children are part Irish, I’ve always delighted in dressing them to “honor” their Irish heritage that one day a year.

It occured to me that because St. Patrick’s Day has become such a huge commercial holiday in the US, there is no shortage of Irish themed clothing and merchandise in stores, at least for that month or so between Valentine’s Day and Easter. But what about the other parts of my children? I have seen shirts from time to time celebrating Italian backgrounds, and there seems to be one Hanukkah themed shirt for every 20 Christmas ones, but  I had never seen a shirt actually celebrating Chinese culture. Yes, there are dragon shirts galore, but nothing truly embracing being Asian. So I decided to make one myself. And the idea to add custom shirts to the kd Closet boutique was born.

I began by designing shirts for my children, because of their unique cultural diversity and just recently added them to kdcloset.com. First I made tees for the kids that read “Mommy’s Lil Dumpling” with a pair of chopsticks. Is it a stereotype? Maybe, but I choose to embrace it and let my children be proud of being 1/4 Chinese.

Next I made “Mommy’s Lil Matzo Ball” shirts because it was spring and there was bunny and Easter egg merchandise everywhere,  but nothing to celebrate Passover, at least not locally in our small Southern town. So I made my own.

My kids call my mother-in-law Nonna, because she is Italian.  So then I made “Nonna’s Lil Meatball” shirts. I was having so much fun being creative and I love a corny pun, so I began making shirts inspired by Disney characters and hip hop music.

Adults liked my Wu Tang Clan inspired C.R.E.A.M (COOKIES Rule Everything Around Me) shirts so much that I began making adult sized tees too. I made a few Disney inspired ones that work both for kids and adults and make great matching tops for everyday or trips to Disney. The best part about making shirts is I get to have a creative outlet.  Every shirt is made to order, so custom colors, sizes and designs are all possible and I love working with people to design their ideal shirt!

Head over to kdcloset.com and check out the customized section. Soon I will add bags, cups and other personalized items so you can find both made to order and designer fashions at a great price!