This month's featured #bloomgirl is Jessica Seib. Jessica is a full time working momma, surrogate mother, and Etsy Shop Owner! We are so inspired by Jessica and we know you will be as well! Read more about her story below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a mommy of one rambunctious 4-year-old and four furry children (3 dogs and one rabbit). I am married to the love of my life! He is a police officer within our community and I am so proud of him. Being a wife comes with its own set of challenges. I am a police dispatcher and I’ve been doing it for 10.5 years. At times, I am a dispatcher for my husband, and I’ve worked the calls where he’s been in a fight or gotten the call he’s been hurt on duty. This has been tough but I couldn’t imagine being in any other career or life and neither can he. My husband has been with me through thick and thin and we've been through some of our toughest moments together and we’ve grown stronger each and every minute of every challenge we face!
In addition to being a full-time police dispatcher, I run an Etsy shop, ThisVeryCraftyMama
. I started it shortly after the birth of our son. I’ve always loved crafts and making things so when it came time to come up with a name, ThisVeryCraftyMama was pretty logical.
I’m also a surrogate mother- and I am currently pregnant with my second surro-babe. Being pregnant was something I really enjoyed with our son and when I saw how many people and couples struggled to conceive or complete their families, it was an easy decision to say yes. It is truly one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been a part of. When my first surro-babe was born, I just remember seeing his mother’s face and the look of joy and shock and every other possible emotion happening all at once. It’s such a gratifying thing I can provide someone with and it makes all of the medicine and morning sickness worth it.
I’m also huge into being active and healthy. A year ago I looked at some photos of myself after barely being able to run a quarter-mile without stopping and wheezing for dear life and I knew some challenges had to be made in my lifestyle. The next day, I started working out at the gym and I cut out all fast food and sugary food. I started meal planning and meal prepping regularly. Since then, every week for the last year, I’ve stuck to my routine of working out 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes. I meal planning every Saturday and order groceries to pick up Sunday. On Mondays, I meal prep for four to six hours in the evening. By doing all of this, I’ve lost almost 40 pounds. I've made myself healthier and I am more active. I've also saved money by not ordering out for delivery several times a week or stopping in the drive-thru lane. I have lunch, dinners, and snack items ready to go so each day before work, it takes me five minutes to choose the meals I want, grab my snack box and an ice pack, load up my lunch box and I’m out the door. Pinterest is my biggest source of recipes and meal ideas but I also love seeing the different cooking videos online or going to the library and checking out several cookbooks for a variety of meals. My current obsession is Italian food so I’m working through those recipes currently!
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
This isn’t meant to come off as conceited in any way, but I would say me. The me I am today- right now. I have been through some dark and difficult times but I’ve always stood strong and stayed true to myself. Sure, there are people who I look up to as role models and would love to achieve their success but this is my life and I want to write my own story, not incorporate theirs into mine. I’ve been on the verge of losing my job at times. I’ve been drowning in debt and felt like there was no end in sight. I’ve felt betrayed and wondered if I’d ever trust people again. I’ve been hurt by life experiences and scared to try again. But I’ve also loved without regret or fear, I’ve said yes to some of the greatest experiences of my life and have memories and photos to remember them by, and more.
Ten years ago, I’d have laughed at you and said there’s no way I’m still going to be dispatching and a mom to one little boy only while going through several different pregnancies for others. But here I am. When I have a bad day or I have a moment I don’t know how I’ll get past, I remember what I’ve already done or what I’ve endured. That pushes me through to keep going. When I think of what I want in the future I take YOLO (You Only Live Once) to heart and seize the opportunity if I can. I’m still writing my story so ten years from now, I want to inspire myself even more than what I have so far and continue to grow stronger and wiser in everything I do.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, personally or professionally? How have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have faced was when I got divorced after moving to Colorado. I moved out here with an inkling that my marriage was ending and the tension and fights just grew. I had left family & friends behind when I’d moved from Michigan State to Missouri and then left newly made friends and in-laws behind moving here. I truly felt alone. I had one family friend but she was also my boss at the time so I couldn’t really rely too much on her without crossing any boundaries. I remember when my ex-husband told me he was leaving me how devastated I was initially. I was scared and worried and most of all, embarrassed and immediately cycled through the stages of grief and begging him to stay. We’d just gotten married 6 months prior and I had no idea how I was going to get through it. The first several weeks, I just powered through the best I could and it’s still a blur. I do remember having to write a schedule out though just to make sure I was taking care of myself- brush your teeth, take a shower, get coffee before work, etc. Then one day I woke up thinking the divorce was a blessing in disguise. The marriage never felt right, to begin with, and looking back, I saw a ton of signs of things not being normal or not feeling natural or right. He was still playing games with me at the time saying he’d take me back and he wanted to see me, but I’d already been talking to a divorce lawyer. The day I told him he just changed and I knew I was going the right thing. It was only 90 days but when I got the official paperwork back from the court saying it was final, I cried tears of joy. I knew then my life would be mine again and I could live for me and truly enjoy being myself. It was one of the most trying times of my life but I discovered myself again and learned so much that I’d buried and pushed aside to make someone else happy. I vowed that would never happen again.
If you could talk to yourself 5 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
If I could talk to myself 5 years ago, oh wow… it would be when I was pregnant with our son- about 4 months at that time. I would tell myself it’s going to be ok. Our son developed speech and behavioral issues (which we didn’t know until he was around 18 months or so). I would tell myself it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to take a minute to breathe and it will all be ok. I’d tell myself our son is going to try our patience but he’s also going to show us how to be amazing parents and people. I would tell myself to spend less money (because I still have a lot of the items from then that I’m slowly working through to donate or sell!), travel more and that it’s worth it to work hard to achieve your ultimate goal but without missing out on the important things that happen.
I would tell myself to put my computer or my phone down. Social media is an amazing tool but it can also be a negative resource if you don’t control your time on it. I’m very guilty of that so I have been working to limit my time online at home and set boundaries for myself- but that would be the biggest piece of advice I could offer to myself back then.
What are some key books/learning experiences that helped shape you/your company?
I believe I shape myself daily and use those shapable moments as learning tools as well. However the biggest learning experiences have been getting divorced, becoming a mother, marrying my husband- who I also work with- and figuring out how to separate work & home without it mudding the waters on either side of my life, being a full-time employee, and small business owner while managing a tiny human being, and being a surrogate. Each experience has helped me grow in different ways and learn more about myself than I ever thought possible. And I know I’m not done learning and I look forward to the next lesson that I’ll encounter and how I’ll use it to my advantage to better myself as a person, a mother, a wife, and an employee.
What are your favorite bloom products, and why?
I love the freedom that the Blank Printables
gives me. I’ve also used the Blank To-Do List to section out areas of my home I need to tidy up or organize and then gone into detail in each listed section. I keep copies on hand in my binder at all times along with some post-it notes in case I need to make a list for any reason at all!
I’ve also printed off the free digital backgrounds
and laminated them to make dividers for my items in my bloom binder
! I am constantly rotating through the countless planners I have on hand but these printables have been constant in my life since I first started utilizing them.
I use the Make Things Happen Undated Planner
to track my daily surrogacy needs- daily medication dosages, doctors appointments, blood draw appointments, and other important dates. I use the blank to do sheet to meal plan- I use five sections for our meals during the workweek and then the groceries needed for each meal and I use the last section for snack boxes I make for my husband and myself for each day (think adult Lunchables!).
I am a member of Planners Gone Wild
and attend the Go Wild Planner Conference
every year. This is where I first met the bloom ladies! When packing for Go Wild Las Vegas, I used the printable packing list. Here is a picture of us after planjama!
We hope Jessica's story inspires you as much as it has inspired us. We love that she never gave up despite some really hard times and continues to better herself every single day!
Know someone doing something amazing in your community? Nominate them to be a featured #bloomgirl by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
the bloom team