realizations admidst restlessness.

Things I don't want to do, and things I do want to do.

The handmade marketplace is a bright and beautiful one. At least, for the most part. Sometimes it can be terrifying, and competitive, especially when there are so many similar products out there. I make ring slings, other people make ring slings, and it can be hard to figure out my role among all of these etsy shops and big-name companies. I used to think they were my competition, like I needed to have people like me more than them. Like I was superior if I had more followers, or inferior if I had less. Like they were the enemy, or something.

But last night, at two or three in the morning when I couldn't sleep, I had an awesome realization. It was so freeing, to realize all I want to do is: make lovely things and show love to others. I don't (and can't) make a sling for every mama in the world who wants one. So why do I need to feel competitive, or like I need to have a strangle-hold on the ring sling market? I have a wonderful, even overwhelming, amount of business. It helps me pay bills and take care of my family, it's allowing me to bless others with donations and giveaways, and it makes me happy to sew.

Also, another freeing realization: I don't need to compare my products with other products in order to feel successful or valued. It's common practice for consumers to compare products. And I get it, because it helps them understand something new based on what they're already accustomed to. When I baked cupcakes, they were compared to Sprinkles cupcakes because that's what people knew. It's just a part of being a business owner and maker, and I can't control it. But what I can do is: not let it rule my life. And be intentional about it. I can stay away from photos and feeds of other babywearing companies, because when I decide not to I fall into the "comparison trap" as Alison of The Alison Show would put it, I am free. My slings are awesome. I love them and so do lots of people. That's what matters.

I think I'd like to be friends with everyone, really. And I'd like to keep on being a wife and mother and sewing my slings and maybe other things in the future.  That's enough for me.