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BUILD IT, AND THEY WILL COME.

I have been on maternity leave for 8 months, and it has been fantastic.  That wasn’t exactly “The Plan”, though.  When I was pregnant, I had planned on taking 3 months off, then putting the baby into daycare, and adjusting my hours at the salon to accommodate the daycare’s hours.  

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Well, “The Plan” went out the window when I was 38 weeks pregnant and Mr. Heatherland and I decided to relocate from Massachusetts to Virginia.  I didn’t go back to work, I didn’t put the little guy in daycare, instead I have been happily building a new life in Virginia and enjoying time with my baby.

 

But, now I miss hairdressing

That kind of snuck up on me.  I actually didn’t expect to miss it.  I’m pretty sure there’s a part of me that just needs the creative outlet, the conversation, and the feeling of accomplishment.  But unfortunately, there’s the classic problem associated with “going back to work”,  and this is the problem all mothers face, no matter what you do for a living: How do you balance work-life and motherhood? Do you dive back in?  Do you stop working altogether?  Do you try something different? Even if you want to go back to work, or if you have to go back, your heart really does (and always will) remain with your little one.  It’s a bittersweet challenge.   Because you go back to work as a different person, with different priorities, and a different level of commitment.

 

My situation is a little complex because we moved, so I can’t go back to my old salon and pick up where I left off.  I have to re-build from scratch.  Which is fine, I’ve done it three times already, I am sure I can do it again.   But I’ve been pondering, and noodling, and day dreaming, and trying to figure out how the heck I can strike a decent balance.  Typically a hairdresser works late hours, and weekends, but I’ve been enjoying not doing that… So, how do I have my cake and eat it too? 

 

here’s the revelation…

Mr. Heatherland and I recently bought a beautiful new home in the a charming Town of Herndon, that happens to be very walkable to downtown.  And guess what… this house has about 600 sqft of unfinished space in the basement, and it already has plumbing in the floor! (trust me, that’s very important).  What do you think? Can I have a little salon at home?

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We certainly didn’t buy this house with the intention of putting a salon in the basement.  It wasn’t until about a month ago Mr. Heatherland and I were musing, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just work from home…” and I swear actual lightbulbs turned on over our heads.  Why can’t I?  People do that, right?  I googled home-based salons in Virginia to find out what the rules were, and the more I read about it, the more it appeared our house was perfect for it.  

 

  • Needs Separate Entrance, check.
  • Needs Bathroom for Business use, check.
  • Needs Parking on the property itself, not on the street, check.
  • No more that ⅓ the house can be devoted to the business, check.
  • No exterior signage, not a problem.
  • No more than 4 customers a day, excellent!

 

Then the big hurdle was this:  We live in a historic part of town, with pretty strict rules about the general aesthetic of your home and such, and I had no idea if the town’s zoning board would allow a home-based salon where we were.  

 

So, the next morning with my baby strapped to my chest I set off to talk to the zoning department, and at first the conversation was a bit of a head-scratcher for them because they hadn’t had this request before.  But as we went over the rules together, they took a peek at the property, and my plan, and before I knew it I was walking home with a stack of papers to read, permits to file, and a signature from the zoning board giving me the green light to do the build-out.

 

Giddy up!

I get to wear one of my favorite hats of all time: General Contractor!  I have a plan, a few drawings, a long shopping list, a schedule, a budget, and after meeting many, many subcontractors, I have a band of merry men to help me try to pull this together on time.  As much as I would love to DIY, now that I’m a mama there is very little time for my trusty tyvek suits and respirator masks.  On the docket this week: Concrete Floor Polishing. 

 

Oh, and here’s a little sense of what I’m trying to create.  Simple, clean, contemporary.  A space I actually want to spend time in!

Salon Vision Board

If I actually pull this off, this whole “Build it and they will come” idea, I will be such a lucky duck. Getting to work in a space I love, on client’s that I love, and do it “just enough” so I still love what I do.  What could be better?  Plus, I can lead by example for my little guy and show him that if what you need isn’t available, you just have to build it.

Sweet Baby Sleep.

Baby Heatherland has outgrown his nickname, “Lord Fussington”… and was quickly transitioning into a new one: “Lord Neversleeps”.

 

So, I purchased a sleep training plan from The Baby Sleep Site, and we began sleep training about a month ago.  And “sleep training” means different things to different people, so what it really meant for our family was this:

  • No more bouncing/rocking him excessively to sleep
  • No more nursing him to sleep
  • No more sleeping on Mr. Heatherland or I
  • All sleep at home would be in his crib
  • There would be crying involved, but in a controlled fashion

 

Full disclosure: The first 4 months of Lord Neversleeps life he NEVER slept in his crib, in fact… the crib was pretty much storage for the never ending stream of baby products I was trying out. Which meant the first step to his sleep training plan was to create a cozy sleep environment for him. Here are our essentials:

SWEET BABY SLEEP ESSENTIALS

 

ONE: Babyletto Pure Core Organic Mattress, $199.  I was in search of a mattress that was not only comfortable, but was made out materials that were non toxic.  After A TON OF RESEARCH (!!) I found this crib mattress and I couldn’t be happier.  No off-gassing, yes please!  And FYI, I ended up buying this online from Kohl’s during a sale and with Kohl’s Cash, so it was only about $100 including a Babyletto organic cotton mattress pad.  

TWO: Love To Dream Swaddle Up, 50/50, $26. Lord Neversleeps requires a swaddle to sleep.  But, there comes a time when your baby starts rolling all over the place and they need their little arms.  So this swaddle is a multi-purpose product.  It’s unique because the arms are up, so baby can suck on their hands to soothe, but the arms also unzip so you can turn it into a sleep-sack. It’s worked great for us.  I tried the whole Love to Dream line, and he liked having his arms up the best.

THREE: Threshold Light Blocking Curtains, $35/ea. What can I say… I LOVE the drapes at Target.  You can’t beat the price and the fabric is always on trend.  The windows in Lord Neversleep’s room also have blinds on them, so his room is seriously dark when he sleeps.  Without those blinds, these drapes would filter out the majority of light, but not all of it.

FOUR: Nest Cam, $199.  I really can’t say enough about this Nest cam as a monitor.  Besides the great image quality, and easy mount-ability, it also offers your motion/sound history so you can see exactly what time you put your baby down, or what time you picked him back up.  Which, during sleep training, is very valuable information.  However…  I said this before, if you use Nestcam for your monitor, you are beholden to their server, so if it goes down, SO DOES YOUR MONITOR.  So I have a backup monitor on my iPhone with the Cloud Baby app, $5. 

FIVE: Fitted Jersey Crib Sheets.  Soft sheets are the make or break item for a comfy, cozy sleep environment for your baby.  I think a great sheet can make or break a great night’s sleep, so here’s some additional info about my search for the best (and most cost effective), drumroll, please…

 

The Best Sheet

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There are actually two I love.  The first is the Living Textiles Fitted Jersey Sheet, $28.  It’s soft and deep, and is holding up to the abuse of frequent washings.  A close second is Ziggy Baby Jersey Crib Sheet, 2 for $25.  These sheets are half the price of my first pick, but they are almost just as awesome.  The only complaint is they are a tight squeeze for the Babyletto Mattress.

The Bad Sheet

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I have already proclaimed my love for Target (over and over again), but…. The sheet in the Circo Crib Bedding Set, $70, is horrible!  It is so stiff, and so scratchy, I totally thought a washing would soften it, but NOPE!  The rest of the set has been great, so I don’t regret the purchase, but the sheet is total garbage.

The Worst Sheet

 

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I’m quite sad to write this, but I had a disappointing experience with Giggle regarding their Organic Cotton Crib Sheet, $35.  I bought it because it was organic, it was super soft jersey, and it was in a cute little sheep print.  But after one washing the seam holding the elastic to the jersey had ripped in multiple spots.

 

But here’s the thing…I called Giggle, and (shock, horror) they offered me no solution.  They wouldn’t replace the sheet, I was told that they have “never heard of that happening.”, and “your washing machine might be too rough.” The end.

 

So, that’s $35 I just lit on fire.  Quite frankly, that is the first time I have ever reached out to a company regarding a problem with their product (I’m never shy… I call about baby stuff, beauty stuff, home improvement stuff, whatever) and they have not stood behind their product. Bad, Giggle, bad!

 

But, Cest La Vie!  With all this quality sleep training in a super cosy nursery, hopefully Lord Neversleeps will grow out of his nickname soon!

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