SIMPLICITY : Kristin Austin
March 31, 2015
Hi, I’m Kristin! I’m a stay-at-home mom and small business owner. I live about an hour north of Boston with my husband and 3 year old son, Chase (we’re eagerly expecting baby #2 at the end of July!). I left my corporate job to stay home with Chase when he was 6 months old. It was never my plan, but we had a family emergency and it was what needed to be done at the time.
While home with Chase I founded my company, Paige Simple. Paige Simple is a small design studio specializing in stationery and decorations for children’s events. When I was planning Chase’s 1st birthday I became frustrated with how difficult it was to find perfectly coordinated pieces of party stationery that had a simple and timeless look so I decided to design the party myself. This process sparked a new passion that I quickly turned into something I could do for profit. After launching Paige Simple, the 1 year I had planned to stay home with Chase quickly turned into 3 years and currently has no end in sight.
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I focus on tasks that absolutely have to get done, I ask for help, and I’ve learned to say ‘no’. I used to have to do everything myself, but once I had Chase that quickly changed. I realized it just wasn’t possible and that if I wanted to be a good mother I had to be my best self – which meant I needed to ask for help and stop committing to things that didn’t better our family. Every day I only do things that need to get done. Sometimes this means we’re in our pajamas all day, beds don’t get made, and that the house is a mess, but I’m ok with that now. I’m also very careful about how much I schedule for our family. When I have too many things to do and too many places to go I get stressed and that stress is projected onto everyone around me (which isn’t fair to them).
In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?
One word… teamwork! My husband and family help out A LOT! He comes home about 6:30 every night and takes care of dinner and bedtime (it’s the only time he gets with Chase during the week). While he’s spending time with Chase I do laundry, clean up, or get work done. We’ve hired out all of the yardwork and house maintenance tasks to free up Matt’s weekends so we can enjoy time together as a family. The only chore that really gets done on the weekends is grocery shopping – which Matt enthusiastically takes on. During the week while he’s at work Chase splits his time between home, part-time pre-school, and his grandmothers. We’re so fortunate to have both of our mothers 10 minutes away. While Chase is at school and with family I focus on my business and getting other household chores done.
What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why?
Celebrating our children in a big way is very important to me. In our house, we make a big deal out of birthdays and milestones. There are so many families that never get the chance to have children or that have children whose lives are cut short. We have been very fortunate and I’m taking every chance I can get to celebrate them and be thankful for the time we have together.
When I planning Chase’s 1st birthday I wanted to do something special that we could carry from year to year so I started the tradition of a photo ‘year book’. In the age of digital photos it was important to me that his childhood memories didn’t get lost in a sea of files on our computer. So, I came up with the idea of annual year book that we would put together before each birthday and then display at his party for guests to look through and sign – similar to a traditional school yearbook. This allows us to capture all of his memories in one place and also share them with people who are important to us (some family members even request copies of their own). You can read about some of the books I’ve put together here.
Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely not live without?
1. Flexible Totes: I bought these totes 2 years ago to manage our toy overflow and I LOVE them! They’re flexible, stackable (with their covers), sturdy, and washable. We can easily take toys to the beach, the pool, on vacations, or on family visits. When the toy clutter in the family room is too much for me handle I stack these totes in the laundry closet and forget about them. They are amazing!
2. Sugar Lip Treatment: I’m not a big make-up girl so this simple lip treatment is perfect. It’s a clear coat and perfectly moisturizes your lips.
3. iPhone: My phone is my lifeline. I rely on it to keep in touch with family and manage my business when I am away from home. I also rely on the camera because it’s not always convenient to tote around a digital camera with all of the other things that you need for a child.
4. True Blue Spa Hand Lotion: I live in the northeast and winters are brutal. The air is cold and dry and it does a number on your skin. I keep this hand lotion in my handbag and in every bathroom of the house.
5. Tory Burch Ballet Flats: There was a time in my life that I wore heels every day. Once I became a mom that became a distant memory and now I only wear flats. I love my Tory Burch flats because they make my feet feel pretty while also being comfortable. When Matt and I found out baby #2 was a boy a few weeks ago he bought me this baby blue pair.
6. Child Friendly Toilet Seat: Chase never liked using a small potty so when we started potty training he would only use the portable potty seat covers. I found them to be rather annoying to have to move every time someone needed to use the bathroom so I decided to invest in these child friendly seats. They are worth the money! You don’t have to move anything when the littles need to use the bathroom and they are clutter free. We have one in every bathroom of the house and keep the portable cover in the car for when we travel.
Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together?
I would just like to reiterate that you don’t have to do everything and you don’t have to have everything. If something isn’t working for you – stop doing it. If you feel like you’re overcommitted – quit something. If the clutter in your house overwhelms you – get rid of it. If you only use something once a year – sell it. Keeping a clutter free home does wonders for your stress level. Over the last year, I’ve managed to clean out and organize the main levels of our home and will be tackling the basement soon. Our 1,800 square foot basement… wish me luck!
Follow along with Kristin:
Instagram – https://instagram.com/paigesimple/
Website – http://www.paigesimple.com/
The Simplicity Series features busy gals, in different stages of life, making what matters happen and tips and tricks they’ve found to be helpful. Simplicity is about building margin into your life and spending time on and with that which fuels your heart. While we love to share products and services that help us day to day, but simplicity is about HEART and intentionally choosing the thing that matters most (your TREASURE) more than anything money can buy. We wear many hats and we know you do too, so we’d love to hear your thoughts as well! For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34