“Company Cleaning”

It’s hard for me to let the whole world know, but I’m probably one of the laziest people I know about housework- I hate washing dishes, and oh the laundry- it’s clean but piled everywhere and if one more person tells me to “just do one load every day,” I’m going to shoot them.  The point is I don’t want to do laundry every day- duh!  How would that help me?!  I do pretty much the bare minimum of everything- until someone’s coming over, then I throw the laundry in a closet & deep clean what shows with a toothbrush because God forbid they know how I actually live!  Company’s coming- let’s put a bow on this shit show.  What a phony I am!  I can be mostly ok with an imperfect house until my mom’s on her way or until I go to a play date at your house & instantly decide you’re never allowed to come see my mess.  My house isn’t dirty dirty- it’s clean enough not to alert the health department, but it’s definitely lived in.  I would honestly love to have a Martha Stewart home, to have it look like someone was coming over every day.  I just don’t like doing the work to get it there every day!

I have no problem putting my dishes in the dishwasher or my laundry in the washer/dryer, but most days it’s just too much for me to actually put all that clean shit away!  I’ve literally thrown away dishes & clothing rather than wash it again- I mean, we obviously didn’t need all that stuff anyway!  I almost never make my bed.  Look at my instagram and you’ll undoubtedly see a pile of laundry lurking in the background on any given day.  That’s just how I am and I’m not really committed to bettering myself today.

Laundry Couch



But every now and then, I get going.  We’ve got one room in the house I used to be able to leave messy- my craft/sewing/office/wrapping/catch all room.  I could go in there & play and just close the door when I was through.  It was like my hidden dungeon of crap.  But over the last few weeks, my room has been taken from me.  It will soon be our son’s room (he’s moving out of our bedroom at 16 months old) and I guess it just wouldn’t be right to have him living in that squalor.  So I’ve had to find places for all that crap to go.  And when I get organizing, watch me fuckin move- every once in a while when something like this spurs me, I get a hair up my ass and go Martha clean on everything- I mean, I’m throwing shit out, I’m consolidating, I’m cleaning closets, and junk drawers, I’m steam cleaning the carpets, I’m getting down & dirty with the floorboards & the doorknobs.  My husband stands back scared at what all I’m going to ask him to move or put away in the garage and my daughter starts hiding her favorite toys lest I put them in my donation pile.  I love those little fits- I figure it’s not gonna come often so I might as well tweak out on cleaning while I’ve got the burst of motivation.  I get a lot done, and our home looks so lovely for like 30 minutes.  That’s literally it- I’ll spend 2 or 3 days cleaning like a mofo & I get to enjoy it for half a friggin hour before it’s right back to our regular every day mess.  So fuck that- why would I want to do that every day?  No one in our house cares but me and no one’s coming over today.

And how much time must you other moms with tidy houses spend cleaning?  It can’t be worth it!  Or maybe you’re just cleaning for company, too.  If so, let’s give up this damn charade and let our dirty little secrets out.  Let’s let all that messy, ugly, unorganized crap show through.  Because I’m insecure enough to judge myself by how you look and who knows- maybe I’ve got you fooled into thinking I look pretty good too.  (if so, YES- major accomplishment for me!) So today, I’ll be lazy.  I’ll color with my kids and not pick up the crayons, I’ll cook & leave the dishes for tomorrow.  I’ll leave the laundry in the dryer and I’ll enjoy myself.

Just give me notice before you stop by and don’t dare open my closets!

Deeep Thoughts of a Four Year Old

I decided to find out more about our 4 year old daughter this morning, so I found these 21 (I made it 22 because it left out what mommy does for work- #amothersworkisneverdone) from one of my favorite blogs, Bebeblog and she answered them.  We did it when she first woke up, which is a fun time for little children (not so much for adults).  We had done a similar thing on Facebook about a year ago, and I’ll attempt to find those results to post, too.  I’d love it if you’d ask your children and post in a comment- come on, play along.  I promise it’ll be fun!

1. What is something mommy always says to you? Ummm, even if I’m mad at you, I always love you.

2. What makes you happy? Being with my mom

3. What makes you sad? Makes me sad…I’m not sure what makes me sad.  Maybe when my friends don’t wanna play with me, that might make me sad because I wanted, maybe if I wanted to play with them and they don’t want to play with me, that might make me sad.

4. What makes you laugh? When people tickle me (oh come on, she was just asking for it- had to take a tickle break here!)

5. How old are you? Four, Four and a Half

6. How old is Mommy? Haha, I don’t know! 25?  (Emma for the win!)

7. How old is Daddy? Ummm, I’m not sure… mote.  46? (haha!)… 41. 41.  Daddy’s 41. (correct).  And my brother is one.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?  I’m not sure.  People tickle me (guess she really likes tickling)

9. Who is your best friend? Ummm, Alyah, Diego and Mckenly

10. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a lot of things- I want to be a teacher, a doctor, a singer soccer player, a astronaut, maybe you guys can come with me so we can see space- outer spaaaaaaace!  Why do you need to wear those helmets?

11. What are you really good at? I’m really good at….playing dress up

12. What are you not very good at? I’m not very good at….of waiting

13. What did you do today? I did….uh, we went on a walk, but what did we really do yesterday mommy?  Selled stuff (mom was selling old baby stuff on Facebook).

14. What is your favorite food? Um, my favorite food is baby food.

15. What is your favorite song? My favorite song is, I Got the Moves Like Jagger and You’re Welcome.  Ya, Wish You Were Here, too.  Let’s listen to it!

16. What do you want for your birthday this year? I’m no opposed to know.  (Re-asked question) I want a new….uh, uh, um, I want a new uh it’s like a house with balls in it, with a lot of balls in it.  I’ll get one of the balls!

17. What is your favorite animal? Uh, penguins and giraffes.

18. What is love? Maybe love is like kisses and stuff maybe (snuggles up to me- heart full!)

19. What does daddy do for work? Oh, build houses, right?

20.  What does mommy do for work?  Type.

21. Where do you live? In Santa Paula

22. Where is your favorite place to go? My favorite places is to go, uh, to Mimi & Papa’s.

Meet Honey BaeBee

Regina McCarty, the mommy maker of our new teether clips is really an inspiration.  We are proud to partner with her and we just love her stuff.  Her story is quite remarkable so we asked her to share it with all of you.  In her own words, here is a little about Honey BaeBee and how her shop started

“Our story began when our last baby was born at 27 weeks with a complete cleft lip and palate. I, mommy, was diagnosed placenta preevia and increta at 12 weeks. I had my 5th hemorrhage on June 20th, 2016 and was bleeding out fast! In order to save me and baby a ER c-section and complete hysterectomy was preformed and 7 liters of blood was given to me in the 1st day. Weighing in at 2lbs 3oz we knew that things he needed would have to be way different than the average baby. After 5 months in the NICU and a nasty complication from one of his first surgeries, a gastronomy tube , things got a little tricker. Isaac was life flights out of his then hospital to the top Nicu hospital in the state to preform a life saving surgery (not even sure if he would survive the operation) to fix the stool leaking through his abdomen. He lost some of his colon, has a weakened stomach wall, and his complete cleft make life sometimes super hard for our mouse ?

Poor Isaac spent over 5 months in the NICU

Like most mommies, I wanted only the best thing for my baby! He had his cleft repair and now toys in the stores were near impossible to find! Nothing can go too far into his mouth, be too hard, pop a stitch, etc.
After much research… along came Honey BaeBee!

The wood is naturally antimicrobial, and the beads are nontoxic, antibacterial, and free from tons of icky things we want far away from our sweet babies, such as lead and BPA!
Each toy is thought out in depth. We want our toys to be friendly for all our special needs babies like Isaac ?”

The strength of a mother is absolutely amazing to witness

Regina hand beads all of our Silicone Beaded Teether Clips in between playing super mom to her littles.  Regina was one of Tough Love Teethers’ first customers so when it came time to add teether clips to our lineup, she was a sure fit.  One of the things I love so much about owning a small business is getting to work alongside other small business owners.  It’s so great to build each other up, support each other and watch each other grow.  You can see the heart in every piece made by someone’s hardworking hands.  The quality really shows.  Regina uses only the highest quality vegan materials that she carefully sources.  She’s got a real eye for design and will happily create a custom necklace, bracelet or keychain for you.  Check out our new Teether Clips she’s created and read more about Isaac and his journey on his Facebook page.



I got this coupon code, HUSTLINBOSS, from another maker mom recently and I had to laugh to myself- so NOT me!  I never really considered myself a “hustler” (I’m not even cool enough to use words like that!), and if I were your boss, you’d for sure laugh at me.  Hustlin boss I am not.  What I am is trying to hold it all together.  I feel like I’m still adjusting to being an adult, let alone a wife and mom, a mom of two, a stay at home mom, a work at home mom, a business owner, a marketing manager, a blogger, a web designer, a distribution specialist, a woodworker, and all the other hats I seem to wear these days.  Do you ever have those moments where you look at your life from the outside and think, “If they only knew…”?  I walked into the dining room the other day after serving my family dinner and thought- wow, these kids think I’m in charge- they have no idea!  If they only knew I’m terrified inside 90% of the time, I winging it like 99.9999% of the day, and I still feel like I’m the kid and wonder when the adult will come in and take over for me!  But they don’t.  People don’t know what’s going on inside your head and chances are your life looks a lot more put together on the outside than it feels on the inside.

So let’s get real, this shit is hard.  There really is no having it all.  Those celebrities that do everything must have nannies raising their children and that mom who gets to stay at home with her kids never gets a minute off.  And these days even moms like me who have their dreams come true and get to be stay at home moms have to have some sort of side hustle to feel complete, adequate, whole.  We feel like we are doing it all and at the same time never quite enough.  It’s not enough to be a mom.  You have to be super mom- make your own baby food, your own baby clothes, your own salves, toothpaste and butt creams, have the perfect house and cars that are always tidy, dress your children and yourself in the latest styles, lose that baby weight three weeks after baby is born all while nursing your baby so glowingly, attend all the mommy groups with a smile, run errands with grown children strapped to all parts of your body, go on dates with your partner, go outside your house with real clothes on, exercise, have close friendships and do social things with those friends, not to mention being interesting, having hobbies and most likely bringing home some bacon to fry up for your family at night with homegrown organic green healthy shit too.

For real tho

In real life, I’m typing this while my baby is clawing at me for a boob, I’ve got my 4 year old stuck in front of the TV- again, so I can get a minute of quiet, I smell and I’m wearing a Disney Princess hat and the same shirt I’ve had on for 3 days and nights.  I only shower when my head starts itching- gross!  My house is only clean when I know you’re coming over and I can’t remember the last time I vacuumed my bedroom because you won’t be going in there.  My clean laundry stays in a heap on the couch way too long and I use my dryer as my iron because I’m lazy.  My kids eat lots of Mac N Cheese and I do, too.  I never lost the baby weight and I gave up on Weight Watchers because eating makes me happy.  I have no idea what all is lost in my car- if I can’t find it, it’s probably there somewhere.  I lose my keys, my phone and my remote about three times a day.  The only thing my husband and I have to talk about is our kids, our business, our “president” and the weather.  We almost never have sex.  The only friends I can keep are the ones who don’t expect to hear from me often.  I do make a lot of my stuff, but only because we’re poor and it’s cheaper that way.  Breastfeeding is my exercise.  My hobbies include sleeping, eating, watching reality TV and repeating those actions.  I have no idea what I’m doing in business and I make way more mistakes than I’d like to acknowledge.  I didn’t even know what hastags were for until this year and I still feel dumb when I use one.  And I’m kind of ashamed that I’m letting the whole world know all of this.  I’m afraid you’ll judge me or report me to CPS (please don’t!).  But I’m hoping that just maybe you’ll relate.  That by being real with you, I can get closer to you and I can accept myself for all my flaws.  That maybe you’ll open up and show me what your life is really like.  Because I can’t relate to perfect people and messy houses make me feel more at home.  So tell me, what’s lurking under your beautiful facade?


Holy Shit, We’re Famous!

So, I know I’ve pasted it all over this website, but we went viral last week and this is huge for us. I think our story is pretty remarkable and I’d like to share the excitement we have.  For those of you that don’t know much about our story, let me tell you a bit more. In January of this year (yes, that’s 2017), I saw a news story about a new American Chemical Society study that showed all major plastic teethers were tested and had things like BPA, parabens & antimicrobials even when they were labeled free of these things. I freaked out and next thing I knew, my husband, Jon, had made a wooden teether shaped like brass knuckles.  His brother in law had just handed him down an ancient bandsaw (like so old he couldn’t even find blades for it at first!) and Jon was experimenting with woodworking.   It was amazing- he had this talent I never even knew about.  He casually asked if I thought any friends on Facebook would want to buy one. I thought they would, so I posted it on some local B/S/T groups. Right away 10 people wanted one, then 50 people wanted them and we started realizing we had something.  Jon made a rattle shaped like a baseball diamond and a friend suggested we make a heart which turned out to be equally popular.  I was dropping them off all over the county.  One day, I went to mail one out and the guy at the UPS store saw the return address and asked if this was one of those teethers shaped like brass knuckles everyone was talking about on the internet.  What?  Us?!  I was in shock.  I literally felt famous!

One night about a week into it, I told Jon of tow local children’s stores, The Luxe Baby, and Little Birdy Lane where I would try to get us into if we ever really got going. To my amazement, that very same night, the owner of The Luxe Baby messaged me on Facebook asking to carry our teethers. The next day, a woman came to pick up a teether and said she worked at Little Birdy Lane and could help us get in there if we wanted.  I was blown away. I met the owner of The Luxe Baby and she said we had something really unique and high quality.  It was a good fit, so we started consigning there and she became my mentor. I quickly taught myself how to design a website, an Etsy store, a Facebook business page, and started marketing our teethers left and right.

I posted on Facebook again asking if anyone I knew could design us a logo and my brother, Matthew Burke, came to the rescue right away.  He worked with one of his friends at Marnetta Cards to design us a logo and took some kick ass professional shots of our teethers to make us look legit.  Knowing nothing about business (I majored in psychology and have worked mainly in behavior modification with kids with developmental disabilities), I signed up for a 14 week entrepreneurial crash course at WEV (Women’s Economic Ventures and if you’ve never heard of this, you’ve got to check it out).  The class conveniently started right away, so I was off.  Someone posted in one of the Facebook groups looking for vendors for a roller derby event and a woman in my WEV class was a member of the roller derby league (coincidence?  I think not!).  This opened up the so far successful avenue of vendor fairs for us.  We got lots of good feedback about our beautifully made toys and started selling steadily.  A local La Leche League leader contacted me and offered to feature us at their Live, Love, Latch over the summer with over 300 people expected to attend.  We gobbled it all up.

My WEV graduating class- what a great group of supportive, creative, driven entrepreneurs!!

My plan was to finish my 14 week business course and then really work on marketing Tough Love Teethers.  Well, as soon as I finished the class, I emailed the editors of the super cool site for all things dad, Fatherly, requesting info on how to get on their site.  Right away, they took me up on it and wrote a little piece about us in their gear section.  They then offered to make a video for us.  Of course we jumped at the opportunity- this site has over 2 million followers on Facebook, including many of my coolest guy friends.  They didn’t ask for money, just some more footage.  They released the video on June 8 (super inconveniently while we were in Northern California for my brother’s wedding- aye!) and it literally went viral.  I was sneaking to the bathroom during my brother’s rehearsal dinner to answer chats from our website!  I was wondering how we were going to get all this done.  I awoke early the next morning to almost 100 orders.  Before the article and video, we had steadily been selling about one teether a day, which we were happy with.  I had just told my mom long term goal was to be able to pay our monthly mortgage with Tough Love Teethers’ income, but that that was a long, long way off.  Now, we’ve had over 600K views and hundreds of orders in just over a week.  We earned enough to pay our mortgage payment in under 24 hours.  It’s been nuts.

Our big video debut!

We are pinching ourselves and thanking our lucky stars.  We are currently working our butts off, recruiting our 18 & 19 year old nieces, our parents, sisters and brothers to help us make teethers in their free time.  We hand sand all of our teethers, hand cut our tags and handle all the packaging and distribution while parenting our 4 year old who never stops and our almost one year old who started it all.  Needless to say, it’s a lot, but it’s a blessing for sure.All along this adventure, things have just come to us so coincidentally that we feel like this was meant to be.  Jon and I have had a hard road the last few years not just financially, but personally- in our marriage and with our children so to have this opportunity come knocking at our door and be so successful without really meaning to feels like a true gift from the universe.  We never even intended to make a business out of this.  What started out as a fun toy for our son has turned into a real fledgling business and has opened up doors we never dreamt of.  I feel like we’re the little family that could.  We cannot believe that only six months ago, we made our first teether, finished it in our kitchen with our kids and now over half a million people know about us.  So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone of you for making this possible.  We are riding this wave of success and we hope you’ll ride the tide right along with us!

Jumping for joy at our first boutique sale in The Luxe Baby